Saturday, August 20, 2011

COMIC: Top of the Stack - Brightest Day #24 (Review)

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

Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99

For the last week of April once again my stack of comic books waiting to be read was well over 15 titles. And it was a very good week with several titles contending for Top of the Stack recognition. Those just falling short were Marvel's MIGHTY THOR #1 and SPIDER-GIRL #6, both worthy of being at the top on any other week but there was an emotional beat in another comic that made it impossible not to be the one at the top of my stack.

I'm talking about BRIGHTEST DAY #24, the final issue of the series and for the second straight week a title makes it to the top for consecutive issues. The writing team of Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi have masterfully maneuvered readers for a whole year with this story about twelve heroes and villains being resurrected by a white light, leading to an ending no one could have expected when the series started.

In this extra-sized finale issue, the previously reborn heroes that had been turned into elements now combined with the skeletal remains of Alec Holland and one more dead hero to bring about the return of the true Swamp Thing to defend the planet against the corrupted version of Swamp Thing. But the emotional fallout from the events that needed to happen for the light to succeed is what truly puts this book on a whole other level.

Finally seeing the dreaded moment readers had been teased about for most of the length of the series - Captain Boomerang throwing at Dove - happened but not with the result feared yet one just as painful. Deadman stepped in the way and took the hit, dying for Dove and being the final piece for the white light's plan. The moments between a dying Deadman and Dove tug at your heartstrings and again after the battle when back into his Deadman ghost form, Dove is still able to hear him and they declare their love for each other.

That and the return of the elemental heroes: Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Firestorm and Hawkman, with the latter two not having the happiest of returns. I do not think you can read this book and not be affected by the story.

And the army of artists that have worked diligently on the series the entire time, again knocked it out of the park with quality that matched the high level of writing. Some might feel it is a bit awkward now that all of these artists are working on the same parts now that the character they had been doing separately for the whole series but they are all so talented that for such a huge concept story it worked perfectly.

BRIGHTEST DAY ranks right up there with 52 and SUNDAY COMICS as brilliant concepts that also turned into great executed series that readers miss once they are done. Anyone that was hesitant to commit to such a paced out story or were discouraged by the slow start of the story in the early issues should definitely look to pick up this series when it gets collected because it continued to get better with every subsequent issue and makes you care about some of the less promoted characters of the DCU. It made me care about Deadman and Dove, two characters I only had faint interest in prior to BRIGHTEST DAY. Read it, you will not regret it!

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