By Alex Zalben
It’s a little difficult to put my finger on what, exactly, is not working about Brightest Day. Ostensibly, it’s the same structure as DC’s previous series, 52, which by all accounts was an exciting, roaring success. Both follow disparate characters in the DC Universe trying to find their paths. Both have an anthology structure that criss-crosses the stories, only rarely allowing them to intersect. And both have Geoff Johns on the writing team.
There are differences, though, and the biggest is Brightest Day’s focus on plot over character. The reason 52 felt like a bold experiment is that, for the most part, it was a bunch of character studies that only at the very end led to a massive crossover thingy. Here, the very focus is the event (or events) that this series is leading up to. You still get character development, mind you, but in Brightest Day, all our heroes are meant to do something.
It’s possible that another part of the reason this series isn’t grabbing me is that I instantly recoil from stories based on prophecies or destiny. They’re usually replete with phrases like, “You don’t know what’s coming,” and, “No! No! This isn’t what’s meant to happen!” Or god forbid, the awful, “A storm is coming.” Swear to god, next person to use that phrase gets punched straight in the foreshadowing.
Anyway, it takes a little bit of the urgency away from the story for me. If something is fated to happen well, then, it’s gonna happen, right? So I can probably skip all the stuff in the middle, and just cut straight to the chase. Or, from the writing perspective, you could have your characters sit around eating pizza for fifty issues, and then whatever big event was “fated” to occur, will still occur. Something like, “Don’t you see, you guys? The pizza was the white lantern ALL ALONG!!! And we ate him!!!”
…And now I’m secretly hoping the White Lantern turns out to be a pizza.
Okay, but plot, for those of you who haven’t been picking this up: a bunch of DCU characters were brought back from the dead – heroes and villains alike – to do something, that will allow the Avatar of Life to be protected. What’s unclear right now is whether the Avatar of Life is a good guy or not, but our heroes and villains are following their paths anyway.
This issue, we focus (briefly) on Firestorm, who is in the anti-matter universe looking for his kidnapped friends; Boston Brand, the formerly dead Deadman, as he reconnects with his grandfather; and Hawkgirl and Hawkman, who are battling an evil Hawkwoman who just wants to be loved. Read More...