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)

July Comics Ranking

Didn’t do this last month as I didn’t review enough comics to warrant it. With the history lesson out of the way, let’s get to the rankings.

7-6

#7: Martian Manhunter, 2006

Pros: Picks up near the end, unintentional comedy

Cons: Constant typos, multiple illogical moments, J’onn is out of character and overpowered

#6: Dark Avengers Vol 1 – Assemble

Pros: Some good jokes, great art

Cons: Sentry ruins fight scenes, Sentry takes up too much time, other characters have no personality or purpose

5-4

#5: Rann-Thanagar: Holy War

Pros: Varied and interesting cast, some good world building and space locales

Cons: Too preachy, The Weird settles most problems, Animal Man is treated like a joke

#4: Showcase Presents: Blue Beetle

Pros: Good art even in black and white, handles multiple subplots well, great mix of comedy, action, and drama

Cons: Stilted 80’s dialogue

3-2

#3: Carnage: Family Feud

Pros: Beautiful art, many good villains, horror elements integrate well with the humor and action

Cons: Requires a little backstory to get into

#2: Ant-Man and Wasp: Small World

Pros: Bright and colorful art, the characters bounce off of each other well, good jokes

Cons: An interesting character is dropped for the sake of a joke

And now the winner…………..

1

#1: Carnage, USA

Pros: Comic book cheesiness done right, a well done and poignant ending, The Thing beats up a giraffe

Cons: Hawkeye is in it and he complains for a bit

This was a pretty good month for comics and I hope next month is even better. Thanks to everyone that reads these reviews.

Martian Manhunter, 2006

[Spoilers ahead]

Martian Manhunter may be one of my favorites, but this comic does not show any aspect that I like about the character. Him being the only Martian is one of the cores of the character, and this 8 issue series brings in some other Martians who have been on Earth the whole time. We all know that the status quo is God so these Martians won’t make it through the series, but it can at least be an enjoyable series. Sadly, this book is held down by a boring spy, espionage story tied into J’onn and the rest of the heroes acting like idiots.

Don't know if there was an editor, but he should be fired
Don’t know if there was an editor, but he should be fired

The best way to review this is to point out some of the finer bits of stupidity. The amount of typos is ridiculous, making unintentional comedy when a Martian refers to Superman as “The guy who files.” At a point the Department of Homeland Security build a team to try and capture J’onn. They bring in Zatanna, Green Arrow, Hal Jordan, Vixen, and Black Canary. When this team finally confronts J’onn (two issues after they introduced,) all they do is have Vixen charge at J’onn and then she gets beaten up. At one point the Green Martians hide out in a village where no one else knows where they are. Then out of the blue Alfred shows up to deliver information to J’onn.

The only remotely good thing is the other Martians, who have interesting costume designs, but no personalities. The twist is that they are all White Martians, brainwashed by an evil Green Martian. I also did like the final battles against the White Martians, where J’onn fights an actually equal opponent. This culminates with J’onn fighting the Green Martian, Cay’an. The “fight” is just them shooting energy at each other like this is Dragon Ball Z, and then we see J’onn just hanging around somewhere else. So, final notes, it’s a nonsensical story even by comics standard with a boring lead.

Rating: Rubbish

I don't even know what they were trying to say here
I don’t even know what they were trying to say here

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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#6. Martian Manhunter

Moving on to everyone’s favorite green skinned alien, the Martian Manhunter.

Origin: J’ohn J’onzz being a Martian, lived on Mars with two factions of Martians, the Green and the White. J’ohn is teleported to Earth by a scientist, who dies at the shock of seeing him. J’ohn shifts into a human form to disguise himself and to fight crime while he waits to go back to Mars.

Life: J’ohn later becomes a founding member of the Justice League of America. He also joins the Justice League International. He lives a long life as a hero, until he is killed during the Final Crisis. He is prominently shown as a Black Lantern during Blackest Night, fighting Barry and Hal. At the end of the Blackest Night J’ohn is one of the few to be revived. He plays a key role during Brightest Day, becoming the earth elemental.

Why he’s on the list: While Dick is the heart of the DCU, J’ohn is the heart of the Justice League. His death kicked off the horrible Cry for Justice sadly, but it was believable how hard his death affected Hal and Ollie. J’ohn is one of the strongest characters in DC, with powers on the level of Superman. Brightest Day shows him at his best, using his skills to find the other Martian while still showing his softer side. Also he has an addiction to Oreos, that once deprived of them he went on a rampage.

Recommended Reading: Blackest Night, Brightest Day, Final Crisis

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