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Why They’re Back

August 26, 2010

Brightest Day #7 and Brightest Day #8 continue the crazy bimonthly flagship title of Brightest Day, starting off with Deadman following the White Lantern’s advice and eating a cheeseburger.  After he’s done, the White Lantern whisks him, Hawk, and Dove away to its current location in Silver City.  When Deadman picks it up, he and all of the other revived characters start glowing white, transforming into their White Lantern forms.  The White Lantern is dying, and someone needs to replace it.  And each of these twelve were resurrected for very specific reasons relating to this central mission.  Martian Manhunter was brought back to burn down the forest in Star City.  When he transforms into a White Lantern, he heals Miss Martian.  Professor Stein tries to explain to Firestorm that there is actually a third stage of the matrix, but as he does, they transform as well, and get their mission: to prevent Black Lantern Firestorm, who is still within the matrix, from destroying the White Lantern.  As Hawkman is confronted by the cat people, he too transforms, finding out his mission is to prevent someone, a queen, from leaving Hawkworld.  And he heals the cat people around him.  Hawkgirl, who is captured, also transforms, and her mission is to prevent Hath-Set from killing Hawkman.  Aquaman accepts Mera, despite her true mission, and he transforms, finding out his mission is to find the new Aqualad before someone else does.  And when he transforms, he cleans the nearby water and heals all the fish.  Captain Boomerang must throw a boomerang at Dove.  Jade must balance the darkness with her brother somehow.  Osiris must free Isis.  Maxwell Lord must kill Magog to prevent Kingdom Come.  Professor Zoom already accomplished his mission, freeing the Flash from the Speed Force.  And Hawk must catch the boomerang that Captain Boomerang throws.  Lastly, Deadman’s mission is to find the White Lantern’s replacement.

Deadman wants to get some help from Green Lantern, and when he uses the ring to teleport, Dove hitches along for the ride.  Miss Martian explains that she was attacked by a Green Martian, and she melds her mind with Martian Manhunter’s.  He sees the attack, and he realizes that Miss Martian is telling the truth.  On Hawkworld, the white cat person, Tonrarr, the leader of the Lionmane Pride, takes Hawkman through the forest.  After they get the body of a dead cat person dropped on them, they see two statues, one of one of the hawk things, and one of a person.  He takes Hawkman into a cave in the leg of one of them.  Inside, there is a written history of Hawkworld.  Hawkworld is a bridge between Earth and Thanagar, and humans dominated it once they discovered Nth Metal, allowing them to fly.  They took control of Hawkworld, and they mated with some of the hawk people, creating freaky manhawks.  Once the portal was found to Thanagar, they left and conquered Thanagar.  Then, the current queen, Queen Shrike, showed up two thousand years ago and took over.  Oh yes, and all of these people now want to be healed by Hawkman.  Hawkgirl is forced into some kind of arena by Hath-Set and Queen Shrike, but she manages to escape.  She attacks Hath-Set, but Queen Shrike stops her.  Queen Shrike takes off her helmet, revealing herself as a manhawk and apparently, Hawkgirl’s mother.  Back on Earth, Martian Manhunter and Miss Martian scan for a telepathic anomaly to find the other Green Martian.  And they find it, smack dab in the middle of that forest in Star City.

I understand what Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi are trying to do with parts of this series.  They’re trying to revitalize older characters like Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Aquaman.  Unfortunately, those three characters in particular are either lame or just confusing.  Aquaman is getting more interesting, even though I do have some difficulty believing that Mera could be an assassin.  Maybe if she acted more like her Red Lantern self all the time.  Hawkman and Hawkgirl, unfortunately, are being trapped in a spectacularly convoluted and uninteresting attempt to explain their history.  I actually couldn’t care less about a bridge between worlds or cat and hawk people.  The whole thing just looks really silly.  The best story is, of course, the Martian Manhunter story.  It’s exciting to see another Green Martian, and I’m intrigued to see why his mission is to burn down that forest.  Does he have to do so in order to expose the Martian?  Anyway, the missions are all a tad odd, to say the least.  There’s no real overarching theme among them aside from that the White Lantern says they’re related.  You wouldn’t think it.  Some are interesting individually, but as a whole, they seem more like excuses for why Johns resurrected a bunch of totally unrelated characters.  Maybe if there was something they had to do together.  Don’t get me wrong.  I still enjoy this series, since it is Geoff Johns.  And I like the whole searching for a replacement thing, even if, in abstract, it sounds kind of silly (the origin of life is dying, and some random human will replace it!).  But this series should be a lot more tightly constructed, like most of Johns’ work.  It shouldn’t feel like such a bunch of disparate storylines being forced awkwardly together.  At the very least, Ivan Reis, Scott Clark, Patrick Gleason, and Ardian Syaf are still drawing some great stuff.  But seriously.  Hawkworld?  The whole thing just sounds like some ridiculous attempt to explain Thanagar and its different races as well as the Hawk family’s history.  That story is definitely my least favorite at this point.

Plot: 7.5      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 9.0      Overall: 7.8

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