Best Shots Advance Reviews: BRIGHTEST DAY #1, More


Brightest Day #1

Written by Geoff Johns & Peter J Tomasi

Art by Ivan Reis, Pat Gleason, Adrian Syaf, Scott Clark, Joe Prado

Inks by Veicente Cifuentes, Mark Irwin, Oclair Albert, David Beaty

Color Aspen MLT's Peter Steigerwald

From DC Comics

Review By Troy Brownfield

For the last several months since its announcement, writers and editors at DC have continuously said that there is much more to Brightest Day than just shiny happy people holding hands. For the first issue, that's apparent all the way.

The issue tells snippets of stories from several major players. The mystery of the white lantern is explored by Hal Jordan and two of his fellow "New Guardians," while new mysteries are revealed in the lives of Deadman, Aquaman, Firestorm, Martian Manhunter, and the Hawks. There is in fact much more to their returns than it seemed.

The large rotating art team here works out nicely. No one has too different of an overall style to be very jarring, and each art team was put on the characters they'd most fit. Steigerwald's unifying colors bring it all together, giving a sense of foreboding to what is a decidedly brighter overall look to things than we've had in the last several months of stories.

As for the stories themselves, all of the mysteries are presented in a very limited way, which does make them intriguing. Fans of one character or another will likely be frustrated not getting their whole story in favor of bits from others', but it should also serve to bring, say, Martian Manhunter fans more on board with Aquaman. The issue overall read like the early issues of 52, where the stories were very distinct from one another. They wound up tying together quite nicely, and that will likely happen again here. In fact, its overall similarity to early 52 issues is a great sign.

This is a #1 in a lot of clear ways, with pretty solid character introductions and small status updates given via TV reports, captions, and dialogue. That also means there is a lot of set up here, but with new questions being asked every couple of pages, the set up doesn't seem cumbersome at all. While Brightest Day #0 was a decent tease for the DCU as a whole, Brightest Day #1 shows that this new era certainly won't be a simple pleasure cruise.

G.I. Joe Origins #15

Written by Merrill Hagan

Art by Klaus Scherwinski and Gunther Klippel

Lettering by Chris Mowry

Published by IDW Publishing

You could probably guess my first words just looking at the cover of this book: "Snow Job? Who the hell wants to read about Snow Job?"

I mean, think about it. This guy has been, both literally and metaphorically, the red-headed stepchild of the G.I. Joes. This is a guy whose main characteristic is he fights in snowy terrain. He's the Joes' version of Aquaman -- yet even more embarrassingly, he's been equipped with a name that is nearly limitless fodder for filthy jokes.

So it's the highest compliment I can give when I say that G.I. Joes Origins #15 changed my mind. This is a book that doesn't flinch away from the seemingly one-note characterization of that red-haired arctic avenger, but instead embraces all of the connotations with the character, and then smartly inverts them with some clever storytelling. And did I mention that it looks good, too?

Writer Merrill Hagan doesn't just deserve your praise for this book, but he deserves a medal for so successfully rehabbing the character of Snow Job. What do you do when you have a character who is only known for fighting in the arctic? Hagan's solution is both simple and elegant -- what you see is what you get when it comes to Snow Job, who seems to have inherited a self-deprecating sense of humor in spite of all the backstage jokes made at his expense.

The other big surprise in this book is artist Klaus Scherwinski. I don't know where IDW found this guy, but he needs to stick around -- he's got a great sense of speed with his lines, and from the very first image of Snow Job he manages to really nail the easy-going nature of the character. In certain ways, he reminds me a little bit of Sean Murphy or David Lafuente, albeit with some of the heavier musclature of someone like Ed Benes or Ivan Reis. There are times where his panel layout doesn't quite grab you, but I have the feeling that that will come in time. Meanwhile, Gunther Klippel's angular colorwork and darker palettes meshes really well with Scherwinski's lines, reminding me in a lot of ways of Sunny Gho.

Honestly, out of all the books this week, I think this one is going to be the one that consistently surprises everybody. With some smart storytelling and charismatic art, this is a book that earns its success again and again with each successive page. And perhaps the lesson you should take from this is that if IDW can do this with this character, who's to say that any Joe is beyond rehabilitation? Who the hell wants to read about Snow Job? If G.I. Joe Origins can keep up this level of quality, the answer is going to be: everybody.

Codebreakers #2

Written by Carey Malloy

Art by Scott Godlewski and Stephen Downer

Lettering by Johnny Lowe

Published by BOOM! Studios

Review by David Pepose

Now we're getting somewhere! While the first issue of Codebreakers didn't necessarily add up to me, this sophomore chapter has more than proven that this series has a lot of potential to succeed.

From the very first page, Carey Malloy and Scott Godlewski finally crack the code that eluded them in the first issue -- trying to convey mathematics in an engaging manner on both a visual and a story level. Seeing Lindsay's "power" at work is particularly illuminating, and while one could accuse it of being a little more "telling" than "showing," it's smart enough to make it work. Lindsay really does steal the show in this book, with her quirky characterization really lending some charm to the whole she-bang.

Meanwhile, artist Scott Godlewski is proving to have a lot more range than I think a lot of people ever realized. Not only is his use of "math powers" much more clear than before, but there's one particularly brutal scene that is so visceral that you have to turn away from the page, even as it is shadowed in inky dread. His linework reminds me a bit of Dark Wolverine's Giuseppe Camuncoli, especially when he draws shots for the dramatic effect.

It's looking like, with all the set-up of the first issue behind them, Carey Malloy and Scott Godlewski are really stepping on the gas with Codebreakers #2. There's a lot of potential for a team of polymaths, and if the ending of this book is any indication, it looks like there's a lot more brains than brawn to be uncovered as the series progresses.


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