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Brightest Day #14

Geoff Johns & Peter Tomasi
Ivan Reis & Joe Prado
Peter Steigerwald (colorist)

Review by Graysonite

When it’s all said and done, I believe that this series is going to be defined by one-word: inconsistent. For the past seven months, reviews everywhere you go, have all had inconsistency as their common theme. Whether the review didn’t like the current issue, in comparison with the previous, or vice versa, each issue seems to bring about a contradictory feeling in regard to the last issue. And Brightest Day #14 doesn’t seem to be break that pattern at all.Backtracking for just a moment, the last installment of this series had us following the Hawkman/Hawkgirl soap opera that was honestly forgettable enough that it’s troublesome to try and recap. However, BD #14 picks up on a completely different plot thread, by bringing the reader back to Gotham, where Deadman’s White Ring has come alive at the sight of the Bat-signal and seemingly found the replacement that it had sent Boston, and companion Dove, on a mission to find. Boston, who’s had enough of being led through time and space by the ring, is more than happy to finally be rid of his obligation, and pass along the ring to its apparent new owner. After interrupting an attempted robbery (is there ever not an robbery in progress in Gotham??), Boston finds Bruce and the two “meet” each other face to face for the first time in their history. This sets in motion a somewhat startling chain of events, in which the reader learns that the ring does not appreciate being thrust upon a new owner so carelessly by Boston. Boston, in a “Christmas Carol” moment, realizes the error of his impatient ways, and determines that life is a gift that he truly must learn to enjoy to the fullest. The final pages has Boston finallyseizing the “rush” of the moment, and the tension that had been brewing in this plot from the beginning, finally reaches the boiling point. Bruce, no longer possessed by the White Lantern ring/entity, immediately goes into action in preparing for the startling news that he discovered as the “White Knight”. Clearly, his return will now play a larger role in the Generation Lost companion series.

This issue is much less about conversation, and much more about letting the pictures do the talking. Depending on your preference, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. But here, it seems to really fit the plot. Gotham is a town of action, not words. Boston is a performer, not a speech giver. So, the dialogue here needed to be light, with the pictures serving as the real storyteller. The artwork certainly did not fail to fulfill that role. The title splash page of Boston somersaulting from the rooftop was tremendous, and did a terrific job of showing that Boston has finally had enough of inaction.But it also showed that he still hasn’t put a high enough value on his own life, a lesson he learns later in the book. Later, the expression on his face, just before he begins his “This Is Your Life” moment, speaks so much more than any words could say. In that one moment, he realizes what he has done, and the cherished thing that he had once again lost. As he sees his life laid out in front of him, the expressions on Deadman’s face continue to show that helplessness, with no way to change the mistakes that he’s already made.

In terms of plot advancement, the issue seems to end with Boston having finally awoke from his slumber, having seen “the light” about how he’s sleepwalked through life. Perhaps now, he can begin living again, and will find the ultimate replacement for the White Lantern entity. The reader continues to get the feeling that he won’t have to look very far. And Batman, having worn the ring for only a few moments, now has some major knowledge that he seems to be unique in possessing. The reader is left to wonder just how much else has he learned from the ring, and how will it effect who he is. Has Batman, like Boston, seen the value of “LIFE”, and what it means to truly live?

And so, this issue, once again is a 180 degree turn from the previous issue. Where #13 was heavy on words, with little plot advancement, issue #14 used much fewer words to take the reader on a much more fulfilling journey. It will be a shame if many people didn’t buy this issue, after being turned off by the last issue. But ultimately, for those waiting to read in trade, I think that when collected, the stories will flow much better, and the reader will be able to overcome the inconsistency from issue to issue. Still, there was a lot to like about this issue, if you haven’t already jumped ship.

November 19, 2010
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