Brightest Day #0
Written by Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Fernando Pasarin
Published by DC Comics
Review by George Marston
Pound for pound, Brightest Day #0 is a far more gripping lead-in than any "Blackest Night" received. Whereas the down-to-earth nature of the latter didn't quite foretell the extra-proportioned nature of the event, the former hints at not only the central narrative for the forthcoming bi-weekly series, but also accurately shows the grand scale of the story at hand.
Following a newly resurrected Boston Brand on a tour of the lives of the other heroes recently returned at the end of "Blackest Night," we are treated to hooks for the storylines of each of the aforementioned characters. In terms of DC's past weekly offerings, Brightest Day seems to have the most in common with "52," which is a blessing. There are already hints at a central narrative that promises to tie up the loose ends left by "Blackest Night," and enough of a shove in the right direction for each individual arc that I am already hopeful at the possibilities for these characters after Brightest Day
Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi turn in a fine script, even if the seams show in a few places. There are scenes in which it is readily obvious which writer wrote what bits, but that's not so bad when you're dealing with two great writers like Johns and Tomasi. Even with those moments, the book rarely feels disjointed. If any complaint can be made, it is that Boston Brand's narrative device often feels a little jumpy, and more like an afterthought, but most often it works to much aplomb.
Fernando Pasarin and his army of inkers do a fine job on the art; if the rest of the series is going to look at least this good, there's nothing to worry about on that front. He manages to bring back some elements for characters such as Firestorm or Martian Manhunter that often feel lost in the hands of other artists, such as Ronnie Raymond's youthfulness, or J'onn J'onzz's always distant look. In fact, the scene centered on J'onn is probably my favorite of the book, doing a great job of reminding me why he's always been a personal favorite, and hopefully showing why he stands out as the always measured voice of reason in the DCU.
Perhaps the best part of the book in its entirety is that it rarely falls into the lowest common denominator, shock-follows-shock-follows-shock pacing of the "Blackest Night" opener. We are rarely invited to "forget everything we thought we knew" about the characters and their surroundings, and are more often urged to remember why we cared about them in the first place. There is much charm in seeing old familiar faces and not suddenly finding out that they were secretly the unwitting pawns of an unspeakable destiny. Even the surprise on the last page feels just right, at least with what we've come to understand in the recent past.
Some people who relish the ever-changing nature of mainstream superhero books may not get what they want out of this title, but I suspect that many will be pleasantly surprised to find that by and large, what you once loved about Hawkman & Hawkgirl, the Martian Manhunter, or Aquaman are the same things you'll be falling in love with throughout Brightest Day.