Tuesday, June 21, 2011

COMIC: Top of the Stack - Brightest Day #23 (Review)

Written by Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark & Joe Prado
Cover by Gary Frank

Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

Heading straight ahead toward its story climax, BRIGHTEST DAY #23 ran away from the competition to open up the first week of comic book releases for April. Even the first issue of Marvel's big company event, FEAR ITSELF, was no match for the penultimate issue of DC's post-event series.

The cover teased appearances of recently fallen heroes from the pages of BRIGHTEST DAY to reappear in new forms, and the story by series writers Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi did not disappoint. The issue picks up with Boston Brand aka Deadman continuing to try and hold back the power of the white lantern and ring from doing to Firestorm and Hawk and Dove what it did to the likes of Hawkman and Hawkgirl.

But as has been the story with Deadman, he is only a pawn for the white energy and with the dark avatar arising, the need for Earth's defenders becoming necessary. With Air, Water, Fire and Earth, BRIGHTEST DAY was only one heart away from bringing forth Captain Planet.

Instead however came representations of the 4 elements to try and hold off the approaching darkness: Hawkman and Hawkgirl representing Air; Firestorm for Fire; Martian Manhunter for Earth; and Aquaman for Water. While they battled the darkness at the edge of Star City Forest, it was left to Deadman, Hawk and Dove to defend the tree with a last page reveal that had to surprise everyone reading.

There laid Earth's ultimate savior, Alec Holland aka the Swamp Thing.

The art continues to be a collaboration between several artists yet the book flows smoothly without any of the jarring transitions seen sometimes in books with multiple artists. The high level of quality talent on the book is a sure contributor, with even the cover being drawn by Gary Frank who created a stunning piece with the 4 elementals that debut in the issue.

With only one issue left before the end, BRIGHTEST DAY has been a surprisingly consistent title over the last year - something I did not entirely expect from such a long story. Like the art side of the book, having top writing talent was definitely a factor of the quality and while BRIGHTEST DAY is coming to an end I will definitely be reading the next big books Johns and Tomasi put their focus on.

If you have not been able to keep up with the series, a BRIGHTEST DAY collection is certainly something to keep an eye out for when trade paperbacks for the series are released. An entertaining must read for comic book fans.

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