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Strange New World

July 17, 2010

The latest issue of Brightest Day, Brightest Day #5, puts aside the Firestorm and Martian Manhunter storylines to focus on the Aquaman, Deadman, and Hawkman/Hawkgirl plots.  It starts with Aquaman and Mera trying to fix an oil leak near the Bermuda Triangle (how topical!).  Suddenly, they’re attacked by the woman and her army from the previous issue.  And they can all use water constructs, just like Mera.  Hawk and Dove watch as Deadman tries to revive the original Dove, and the White Lantern asks Deadman what he’s doing.  Mera helps Aquaman escape from the small army, and it’s clear that this other woman knows her.  Then, in Hawkworld, Hawkman and Hawkgirl discover that they still have some bit of the Black Lanterns left in them as they kiss.  They’re suddenly attacked by human/giant cat hybrids, and as they’re in the midst of fending them off, the cat people get attacked by human/bird hybrids.  One of the bird people takes Hawkgirl away, and Hawkman crashes into a waterfall while fighting more of them.  The White Lantern prevents Deadman from reviving Dove, and Deadman says that Dove was at peace.  But the current Dove tries to get him to revive her sister, Holly Granger, the second Hawk.  Hawkman awakens next to some white cat person who can talk, who welcomes him to Hawkworld as he eats bird person flesh.  Then, as Aquaman and Mera escapes, Mera breaks the terrible truth to him: she was sent to this world to kill him.

Leave it to Geoff Johns to get me really interested in this issue, even though it doesn’t feature either of the two characters who I actually liked before I started reading this series.  He’s already doing a superb job of making Aquaman seem like a capable and exciting hero, and the idea that Mera was actually sent to this dimension to kill Aquaman is really interesting.  It spices up that relationship and brings up, as you can see, the possibility for future conflict.  The Deadman story is also interesting, as it shows Deadman going astray and the limits of the White Lantern.  The Hawkman/Hawkgirl story is definitely the weakest of the three, since it’s including ridiculous looking human/animal hybrids.  I like cat people, since I like cats, but I acknowledge that the concept is silly.  And the bird people are even more ridiculous, partially because of their butt ugly character designs with the beak and the nose.  Ardian Syaf is doing his best, but it’s hard to make those things look anything but freaky.  Joe Prado isn’t the artist for this segment, despite what people seem to think.  He’s doing cleanup work on the Aquaman segment.  Of course, Ivan Reis’ work is absolutely gorgeous all around.  It’s hard to ever actually complain about his work since it’s just so consistent.  And it’s actually even better in the Aquaman segment, with his cleanup crew Joe Prado.  They definitely make a good team.  So even though that one story was a bit silly, this was definitely an exciting issue with more forward motion than the last two.  Still loving Brightest Day.

Plot: 8.8      Art: 9.3      Dialogue: 9.0      Overall: 8.8

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