Thereís two reasons for my having such extreme expectations in this bi-monthly series: 1) 52 is my favorite thing to come out of DC ever, and 2) I was a lot more impressed with the final chapter to Blackest Night than most critics and fans. 52 was exactly that--52 weeks of comics that introduced new or reinvigorated players to DC continuity while Bruce, Clark, and Diana were well out of the picture following Infinite Crisis. 52 was a series so good it had me invest in characters I never imagined I would: Batwoman, Booster Gold, and a female Question, among a surplus of others. And while Blackest Night #8, and the crisis itself, wasnít quite the classic Johns had intended, the zombie infested crossover opened the gates to a yearís worth of story that should keep Brightest Day at the top of most punchlists for the duration.
Issue #0 is narrated in anthology format by Boston Brand, formerly Deadman (considering heís alive, albeit invisible, that name is likely inappropriate from here on out), who witnesses the twelve revived heroes and villains at their very best, or absolute worst. Even, in some cases, at their most zestfully passionate.
The goal from co-writers Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi is a fairly simple one--introduce or renew the interests of DCís b-listers to the forefront. This concept of Brightest Day could have come off fairly tedious if not for the interesting mix of situations and characterizations presented throughout. At 48 pages with no ads to boot, Brightest Day #0 is quite the extensive read. Just about every vignette is enjoyable to some degree or another. While the reacquainted Aquaman and Heraís opener comes off as a mere tease, this only makes their area of concern that more intriguing. As you could see by the humorous disgust on Bostonís face, alone time for the couple is all that was needed. Fanboys also wondering why Martian Manhunter appeared so inharmoniously content upon his arrival in Blackest Nightís conclusion now get their answer: the poignant notion of JíOnnís wife and child never making it back with the white light.
That white light of resurrection is both a reoccurring symbol and allegory throughout the issue. Boston Brandís new twist on his powers takes this little known character to the top. Doveís white mysticism refuses to coincide with Hawkís old school tactics when he goes on the offensive (which is sure to make the foolhardy Hawk one of the new cult favorites). And the epilogue exposes oneís avarice in obtaining this ubiquitous power once tasted.
Above all, artist Fernando Pasarin is the star of this show. This relatively unknown penciler is a welcome addition to the likes of Green Lantern superstars Ivan Reis and Patrick Gleason, outperforming any expectations set from the get-go. Pasarinís linework and character detail should remind those of the aforementioned Reis or a Doug Mahnke, and his dynamics arenít far off from that of this issueís cover artist David Finch. Surprisingly, the large number of inkers contributing to the issue never gets in the way of Pasarinís performance, and Peter Steigerwaldís colors allow viewers to understand that while the titleís Brightest Day, not all forthcoming is going to be. The slightly faded hues are an ironic contract from those neon colors of Blackest Night, which keeps this bi-monthly series grounded and allows for a little more realism than that of sci-fi zombies.
Pending your personal preference, some of these stories and characters will impress you more than others. My only wish for future issues of Brightest Day is for the series to allow enough character exposure equally as possible among the 12. I know itís an unlikely task, but if Johns and Tomasi can make Osiris, Boomerang, and Jade as interesting as say, Hawkman, Firestorm, and Maxwell Lord, then thereís no doubt weíll have another triumphant 52 on our hands.
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