Brightest Day #23
I’m going to start off by saying that even beginning this review was near impossible for me. Usually I am able to write a paragraph or 2 that connects to the material that’s going to be analyzed on a reasonably objective scale. Sure I’ll admit to having biases, but I try to approach everything with as open of a mind as possible. However, Brightest Day #23 is getting none of that, and it has nothing to do with my general disgust with DC’s current direction and creative practices. No, the reason why we’re pretty much jumping into this sucker has to do with the fact that this issue brings up far too many negative thoughts that I rather not dwell on them more than I have to. Where does Brightest Day #23 go wrong exactly? The easier question may be what didn’t go wrong this Issue.
When it comes to overall story/writing of Brightest Day #23, the first thing that stood out to me was the overall story structure. This issue has a breakneck pace, and can be read in a matter of 2 minutes if that’s all you’re focusing on. Now this isn’t to say that brief read is a bad thing in and of itself, but it becomes a bad thing when the glue that holds this thing together is extremely weak. In what seems like a breakneck sprint to the big reveals, this issue jumps from place to place in a failed attempt to show the severity of what’s going, and unless you’ve been keeping up with everything (and I mean EVERYTHING), the characters, places and reveals all amount to very little, and it’s those very same reveals that lead to an even bigger mess, and that’s where the discussion of this issue gets real interesting.
Brightest Day #23 begins with a shot of the Earth being covered in a cloud of absolute darkness and ends with the Life Entity Champion (which everyone knows by now) being revealed for all to see. During the story, characters that are deemed important to the climatic sequence of events are summoned to the “Star City Forest of Extreme Importance”, and the source behind the decay of earth is revealed as Swamp Thing (which is the 2nd big reveal of this comic). What is the problem with all of this you might ask? Let’s go into it on a point by point basis.
1) At no point in this series (or its’ many now useless “tie-ins”), has there been any implication that the world would face such a potential calamity if said Champion was never found. After reading all 23 Issues of this series before this one, I can safely say that there was no build up to the consequences being so damn grave.
2) What is Dove’s purpose in all of this? After nearly 18 months since it has been revealed that she had the power to create a similar light to the white light, we still don’t have any clue as to why this is? It would’ve been one thing if we found out why she’s so special at the end of Blackest Night, but we’re coming close to the end of a second straight storyline involving this aspect of her powers and the lack of an explanation makes her look like a shallow Deus Ex Machina.
3) What was the purpose of all of the “tests” that the White Lantern gave to the 12 lives it re –started at the end of Blackest Night? As I was reading this book, which was the question that inserted itself into my mind as all of this was going on. With all of the hype that went into their resurrections, and their missions, to have those possibly brushed aside for what most readers will not be able to understand is not good storytelling.
4) The Parliament of Trees? Wait What? Where was there any indication that the Star City’s Forest would be that important? How is a reader who doesn’t have years of comic knowledge (much less a reader who started with Blackest Night) can even begin to make sense why that’s so important. Also, what indication did we even have those were the Parliament of Trees. Certainly not from Brightest Day, nor its Green Arrow tie in.
There are other questions that this book raised beyond those 4, but even by themselves, these 4 questions are far too much of a grievance to look past story or writing wise. I stopped short of calling them plot holes due to the fact that one could say that the answers (especially the big reveals) could’ve been pulled from everything we’ve seen during this story and DC lore itself. However, it’s done in such a way that the whole entire situation needs to be explained in further detail in its own paragraph.
For most people, Ivan Reis may truly be one of the Top 5 Artists in Comic Books, and I would most definitely agree with this. Long After he’s retired and never drawing again, his visuals are going to be the stuff of legend, and it’ll be legacy that’s well deserved. It’s just too bad that Brightest Day #23 is not the art package that one expects. Of course, very little to none of this is on Ivan Reis gives us his usual excellently detailed work in many of the panels presented, and there are some drawings that truly come off the page, and give the dramatic effect that he was obviously going for. It’s his backup artists that drop the ball in this case. There are far too many pages of bad finishes, inconsistent and jarring art changes, and just bad overall character drawings, and it’s especially obvious during the opening pages where the artist tries to jam as many heroes as possible onto the pages. It’s the signs of an obvious rush job, and can even be taken as signs that whole plotlines were rushed and changed to make do with the space left before the conclusion.
While there is plenty to be unhappy about when it comes to this book, it’s quite easy to pinpoint the ultimate source of my unhappiness, and that due to nearly absolute inaccessibility of this book. After reading this book, and coming away completely confused (even after reading the other 24 Issues in the store), I decided to do some research on what just happened to see if there was something I missed. After digging deeper and deeper to find my answers, there’s one thing that came apparent , which I touched on in a previous paragraph, and that’s unless you were steeped in decades of DC Universe Lore, there was almost no way for you to connect any of this stuff. Not only does this continue a trend of DC embracing the past in its overall creative structure, but now it has connected the beginning of the payoff to the previous year’s storyline to continuity that many newer fans will not know where to begin. It’s this kind of stuff that limits the potential of Big 2 Comics, and the writers should’ve structured this better from day 1.
Overall, Brightest Day 23 was a slipshod effort all around. There is simply no excuse for what happened in this Continuity Porn laden mess, and with a Brightest Day Aftermath already announced, I’m not sure Issue 24 is going to come anywhere near to fix the messes that comic made.The Verdict:
Accessibility: 0Final Judgment: 2