Overview

Brightest Day #6

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Brightest Day #6

Credits

  • Words: Geoff Johns & Peter Tomasi
  • Art: Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Scott Clark, and Joe Prado
  • Inks: Vicente Cifuentes, David Beaty, Mark Irwin, Christian Alamy
  • Colors: Aspen MLT's Peter Steigerwald & John Starr
  • Story Title: "Dead Zone"
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jul 21, 2010

With Brightest Day  #6, Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi bridge the last two issues which explored the lives of Aquaman and Mera, the Hawks, Deadman, Hawk, and Dove with the latest which returns, albeit briefly, to the worlds of Martian Manhunter and Firestorm.  Although a strong installment, the issue does reveal some of the weaknesses in the bi-weekly approach and format embraced by DC Comics and the writers.

One of the most obvious problems Johns and Tomasi illustrate in Brightest Day #6 has also been one of their greatest strengths within the most recent issues, and that is the focus only one or two central storylines in development.  While barely any time has passed in terms of "feel" between the stories of Aquaman and Mera or the shorter episodes of Hawk, Dove, and Deadman, the same cannot be said for the new additions of the Martian Manhunter and Firestorm pieces.  Even though the sequences with the Martian Manhunter are by far much stronger than the shorter investigation of Firestorm, both tend to suffer due to the disconnect between their last appearances.  Despite Johns and Tomasi's attempts here with Martian Manhunter's tale, some readers may have forgotten the smaller details and some of the facts that were introduced in earlier issues.  Thus, by neglecting Manhunter and Firestorm, Johns and Tomasi have improved the narrative flow of tales surrounding the other characters, but at what expense with their return here in issue #6? 

Like any good, evolving mystery, Brightest Day #6 hints at more than it reveals in terms of plot development and character growth.  And, while this might be frustrating for some audiences, others should applaud Johns and Tomasi for their continual efforts at constructing a larger, more encompassing series.  If there is a saving grace for issue #6 then, it is here.  Readers gain an insight into the Martian's primary villain as well as the Manhunter's deductive process to solve these crimes.  Of all the stories covered, however, the Firestorm sequence is the weakest, particularly in the depiction and characterization of Ronnie Raymond's inabilities to know his own powers.

Once again, balance is the key problem for Brightest Day.  Crafting specific storylines that do not succumb to a sensation of "dragging on" or feeling too drawn out has been a critical obstacle for many event books and unfortunately, Brightest Day is showing signs of this already.  Again, this is mostly for the addition of the Firestorm sequence and some parts of the Manhunter story; however, even the attempt to inject humor or brevity into the Deadman portions, while welcome, seems like an opportunity missed to advance the story further.  The most puzzling aspect of Brightest Day #6 is continuity and its relationship with the other Brightest Day banner books.  Here, Johns and Tomasi not only deal with Hawk and Dove, both of whom have appeared in the related Brightest Day book Birds of Prey series, but also with Barbara Gordon.  Do the events in issue #6 precede those in Birds of Prey or follow shortly thereafter?  It might seem like a trivial criticism, but for books that are supposed to share a significant plot thread of resurrection with the White Lanterns, it needs to be addressed.

This bi-weekly and co-written format is experimental and not every issue is going to be what some audiences may expect from the solo endeavors produced separately by both Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi.  Honestly, that's how it should be.  Brightest Day is a process and unlike most rather linear or straightforward event books, Johns and Tomasi have opted instead for a different path.  As a result, some of the issues pay off quite well while others simply do not.  In some ways, like Final Crisis on a much larger scale in terms of quantity, Brightest Day may require a hardcover or trade format before it is fully appreciated for its innovation and creativity that is reflected in certain single issues but only grasped completely once the series had ended. 

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