Brightest Day

After the Blackest Night was prevented, twelve superheroes and villains were revived by the power of the white rings. These chosen people have been brought back and given a task by the life entity so they can have their life returned fully. Brightest Day follows seven of the heroes: Deadman, Aquaman, Hawk, Firestorm, Hawkgirl, Hawkman,and Martian Manhunter. This story is told by jumping between five different adventures that the characters are on and they merge together near the end.

Deadman’s plot could be considered the main story because it gets the main focus. After the revivals, all the white rings dissipated except for Deadman’s. This gives him a connection to the life entity, who tells him to find a new champion of the light. During his journey he works with Hawk and Dove and experiences life again after being dead for so long. This is an enjoyable story and it’s really unpredictable so I was always hooked on it. The character dynamic between Hawk, Deadman, and Dove is good too because of their opposing personalities.

The Aquaman story involves Aquaman’s powers starting to revive dead sea animals. Before he can deal with that he is attacked by underwater soldiers from his wife Mera’s homeland. Secrets come out about Mera’s origin and an unknown teenager begins to develop water related powers. All of this ties into the return of Aquaman’s nemesis, Black Manta. This story is quite like a soap opera where ridiculous twists about family and killing pop up. I still enjoy it for what it is and Aquaman is still such a cool character and the fight scenes in his story are really good.

Firestorm’s story involves Jason and Ronnie trying to get along after Ronnie kinda murdered Jason’s girlfriend while he was a Black Lantern. They find out their Firestorm Matrix is corrupted by something dark and that by fighting each other they might explode. This is an alright story, but the two leads aren’t that interesting and it’s mainly their villain who carries the plot.

The Hawk’s story is about them fighting Hath-Set, a priest who is hunting down their previous lives’s bones to create a gate to Hawkworld. This story starts out on the slow side but really picks up towards the end when the true villain is revealed and an unexpected team up happens. The love related dialogue in the beginning hurts it kinda but it all leads to something.

The final story is about the Martian Manhunter and how he is trying to restore life to Mars. He also must face another martian, who is a woman martian who wants to restore their race. There’s also the sudden appearance of a giant star shaped forest in the middle of Star City that somehow connects J’onn to the Earth. This story is very interesting and puts J’onn into situations that make him look like a vulnerable, relatable character who isn’t too strong. He doesn’t just fight his way out of all issues, he uses his mind and this makes the story a smart one.

All across the board the art is fantastic in each issue of the book and the way the stories come together is cool to see, even if after the first one concludes you start to expect the next three stories’ endings. All in all it’s another really good event, where strong plots and characters make a little bit of a scattered format actually work.

Writer: Geoff Johns & Peter Tomasi

Artist: Patrick Gleason & Ivan Reis

Rating: Full Price

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Justice League Task Force #1

The reviews keep rolling with today’s comic, Justice League Task Force #1.

Justice League Task Force follows the same idea as Marvel’s Secret Defenders, where a group of heroes are put together to solve certain missions. The book also follows the ideas of Justice League International and Justice League Europe by having the team be government sponsored. The way it finally differs from those three books is by being garbage, in at least the first issue.

The book begins with Martian Manhunter fighting crime in a scene that’s just here to show off his powers. We cut to some Caribbean island where some British guy (You can tell he’s British because he says “Mate” and “Blimey” all the time) and a blond guy in a power suit named Blitz are bartering with some rebels who want to use Blitz as a threat to free themselves from a dictator. We cut to the Pentagon, where the government wants to protect that dictator and assign some guy called Martin to create the Task Force. Martin finds Martian Manhunter and tells him to pick the best members of the JLE for this mission.

Martian Manhunter picks Flash, Aquaman, and Gypsy. After the team is together, Nightwing arrives but no one on the team except for Flash wants him around. The book falls apart at this moment. I can understand picking someone no one wants around to create drama within the team. However, the character they chose doesn’t work. Aquaman doesn’t trust him because he’s a Titan and not a Justice League member and Martian Manhunter says he has a reputation for grandstanding. Both are dumb reasons and someone like Booster Gold or Blue Beetle would have filled this role much better.

The art’s nothing special and characterization isn’t there. I don’t know Martian Manhunter’s reasons but many people better than Aquaman and Gypsy could have been on the team. Green Lantern is seen at the JLE HQ and he’s much stronger than any of them. But that’s nitpicking, and at the end of the day this is still dumb in many other ways.

Writer: David Michelinie

Artist: Sal Velluto

Rating: Rubbish

Cover for Justice League Task Force #1 (1993)

Justice League Vol. 1 – Origin

And we’re back with the first review of 2016. So I’m gonna start off with the book that kicked off DC’s New 52 reboot, the Justice League.

“In a world where inexperienced superheroes operate under a cloud of suspicion from the public, loner vigilante Batman has stumbled upon a dark evil that threatens to destroy the earth as we know it. Now, faced with a threat far beyond anything he can handle on his own, the Dark Knight must trust an alien, a scarlet speedster, an accidental teenage hero, a space cop, an Amazon Princess and an undersea monarch. Will this combination of Superman, The Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Aquaman be able to put aside their differences and come together to save the world? Or will they destroy each other first?”

For the beginning of a new universe and as the flagship title of DC I’m glad to say that this book is really good. The banter between heroes establishes some motivations and characterizes them well. The personality choices are a little odd, especially for Superman and Green Lantern, but in story they just started being public superheroes. The story is told well with a good mystery aspect as we follow Batman trying to solve the mystery of who’s invading Earth and how to stop them. In the tradition of heroes fighting, Green Lantern and Batman fight against Superman in issue 2 and it’s the highlight of the book.

There’s also the top notch art of Jim Lee that keeps this book enjoyable. His designs for the Justice League have this uniform “collared” look while still standing out from each other. There are multiple splash pages that emphasize the epic moments of the heroes while keeping the story moving quickly. My only two complaints would be how Hal is kind of a tool who admits he’s only here to look cool and doesn’t really care about saving people. The villain of the story, while a good choice, is defeated a bit too easily with not much effort on the heroes’ side.

Writer: Geoff Johns

Artist: Jim Lee

Rating: Full Price

Convergence: Aquaman #2

Now that Convergence is winding down, let’s finish these tie-ins. I thought the last month’s issues were pretty good and I hope that these continue the trend.

Last time we learned about why Aquaman is stuck in Metropolis and who his opponent is, Deathblow. Deathblow had acquired some classified info on Aquaman and they’re fighting in S.T.A.R Labs. This entire issue is spent on their fight, and it is better for it. Aquaman shows his tactical genius, while Deathblow just shoots at him and everyone in the area. There’s not much in the way of twists or surprises, but the way the battle plays out is fun to read. The art has improved from last time so everything isn’t stiff or unnatural looking. It’s a marked improvement over last time, which was a good issue but mostly just set up this battle. The best part of last issue was Deathblow’s short appearance and he carries this on throughout this comic, making quips and being a genuine threat to Aquaman. I recommend these two issues as they show what match ups we can see in Convergence.

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April Comics Ranking

Time for part two of April’s comic rankings.

#10-9

#10- “Convergence: Justice League of America #1”

Pros:  Nice to see Ralph and Sue together again, best villain introduction of the event

Cons: Spends too long introducing characters, basically nothing happens until the end, muddy art

#9. “Green Lantern 23.4”

Pros: Great origin story, Sinestro is still a great villain

Cons: Hard to read with the layout, doesn’t explain why Sinestro has so much will

#8-7

#8. “Convergence: Aquaman #1”

Pros: When he arrives Deathblow is cool, Aquaman has the respect he deserves

Cons: Stilted art, spends too long introducing the villain

#7. “Convergence: Justice League International #1”

Pros: Good fight scene, Ted is a funny guy, nice setup for the next issue

Cons: Doesn’t focus on the other members much

#6-5.1

#6. “Convergence: Shazam #1”

Pros: Replicates Golden Age art, the battle against the Monster Society is really good

Cons: The dome doesn’t come down

#5. “Convergence: Batman and the Outsiders #1”

Pros: Gives equal focus to the team, colorful and bright art, very emotional scenes

Cons: I have a hard time buying that Batman can’t bring down the dome in a year

#4-3.1

#4. “Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax #1”

Pros: Bright art, delivers exposition very well, the fight kicks off quickly

Cons: Princess Fern is such a ridiculous villain even Parallax makes fun of the idea

#3. “Convergence: Green Lantern Corps #1”

Pros: Goes deep into Guy’s psyche, unique art style, great to see John and Guy interact

Cons: Ending scene doesn’t make much sense

2.2

#2. “Convergence: Booster Gold #1”

Pros: Very quick moving story, explains a lot about the event, they recognize all the things Booster has done for the DCU

Cons: There’s a lot of dialogue, but it is well written

And the winner is…

Winner

#1. “Convergence: Blue Beetle #1”

Pros: Focuses equally on the three heroes, funny jokes throughout, first glimpse of Telos, explores more about the dome

Cons: The other city isn’t shown

And that’s the end for April. Hopefully the second issue of these are better or just as great in some cases.

Convergence: Justice League of America #1

A week late, but we’re back. This week’s theme is heroes from Crisis on Infinite Earths.For week three of Convergence I picked up three books like last time. We’ll start with Justice League America by Fabien Nicieza and ChrisCross. From here on out, I will no longer be making reviews with spoilers, especially for these newer books.

This book stars the Detroit Justice League, and follows the same formula as the other Convergence tie-ins. We see what’s going on in the dome, the dome comes down, and the enemy appears. This issue however, is narrated by Sue Dibney who provides colorful commentary. This sadly leaves a lot of character development absent, and we are just told about who the League members are instead of seeing them in action. It is nice to see Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Zatanna as the Big 3 in this world. The enemy this time is the Tangent Universe’s Secret Six, who showcase themselves better in a few pages than the heroes do through the whole issue.

Final Thoughts: I’d skip out on this one. There is some tongue-in-check comedy that is characteristic of the period this takes place, but it falls flat to me. Most jokes are about Vibe, but that’s low hanging fruit. The formula has gotten old at this point, and the next 2 comics could benefit from not using it. It is good to see Ralph and Sue together again after all the horrible things that happened to them, but it reminds me that they aren’t in the New 52.

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#4. Aquaman

I think I’m putting him on here as an apology to his creators (God rest their souls) for all the jokes about Aquaman. The following is his New 52 origin, as it is much clearer to me.

Origin: Arthur Curry is the half-human, half-Atlantean son of Tom Curry and Atlanna, queen of Atlantis. His Atlantean origins give him super powers like enhanced senses and strength, and telepathy with marine life. He ruled Alantis for some time, but the Atlanteans never treated him with respect. Him and his love Mera go to the surface to live free from Atlantis. There they struggle with the Earth’s customs and ways. And both of their shady pasts come to life to try and tear them apart.

Life: Early in his life Aquaman led a team called “The Others” who all used Atlantean artifacts. Aquaman’s dad is killed soon after Aquaman is discovered by scientists looking to get his DNA. The killer turned out to be Black Manta, who Aquaman goes to kill in revenge. He goes out to a boat and strangles the first black man he sees, but it turns out it was Manta’s dad. From then on, they were seeking each other out. When a member of the Others is killed, Aquaman gets the team back together to fight back against Manta.

Why he’s on the list: I hope by now everyone has realized Aquaman is no joke. He was a founding member of the Justice League, who displayed his strength by commanding sharks to eat Parademons. He has enough strength to break a tree with his bare hands. He carries an Atlantean trident which further enhances his strength. He wears scale armor, and has enough durability to bounce bullets off of his body. He is also a key element to the Brightest Day, becoming a water elemental.

Recommended Reading: Aquaman (Vol, 1), Aquaman (Vol. 2), Justice League (Vol. 3)

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