Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 02.02.2011 – Brightest Day #19

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767
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Avg Rating: 4.3
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 9.2%
 
Users who pulled this comic:
Written by GEOFF JOHNS & PETER J. TOMASI
Art by IVAN REIS, PATRICK GLEASON, ARDIAN SYAF, SCOTT CLARK & JOE PRADO
Covers by DAVID FINCH & SCOTT WILLIAMS
Variant Covers by IVAN REIS

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

OH, YOU HAVE GOT TO BE– DAMMIT, THEY DID IT TO ME AGAIN!

I’ll be honest with you people because I feel like we’re all friends here and that’s the way it should be amongst friends. 

It was a light week and within that light week there wasn’t a whole lot going on. Sure there were a bunch of solid comics. After finishing most of the comics that I read this week I thought, “that was pretty good” or “that was… okay.” As I passed the midpoint of my stack I was dismayed to find that nothing that I had read had really blown my socks off. Normally that’s not a big deal but when my entire week consisted of only 13 books, I was starting to get nervous. I was starting to sweat.

And then just as I was about to compose an e-mail to Josh and Ron whose subject line would have been “Hey, maybe one of you guys can do the Pick this week… I’ve got… an emergency?” I read Brightest Day #19 and I was saved.

Brightest Day #19 ended up as the Pick of the Week for one very important reason: it illicited a powerful emotional response. How did Brightest Day do it? I’ll get to that in a bit.

I’ve really been enjoying Brightest Day. It has done what both Countdown and Trinity failed to do: it has captured the feel and the spirit of 52, and as a huge fan of 52 I couldn’t be happier. What you have in Brightest Day is a comic book story told in a way unlike the rest of the books coming out of Marvel and DC. It is a year-long bi-weekly story with a beginning a middle and, presumably, an end, and as a result the pacing of Brightest Day is slow and mysteries and their answers are revealed over the course of a year rather than months. Now that we are at issue nineteen we are nearing the end of the road which means that it’s time for some answers and, of course, more questions.

In the last issue, Hawkman and Hawkgirl freed themselves from their eternal curse only to find themselves reduced to dust by the White Lantern ring when they refused to follow the ring’s orders and live life apart. As the bearer, but not controller, of the White Lantern ring, Deadman was seriously pissed off and as this issue opened he demanded answers and the ring gave them. It would seem that, ‘lo these many centuries, Earth has been poisoned by mankind. (It is not explicitly stated how the poisoning has occurred but I took the implication to mean that all of our hate and anger and bad feelings and other such evil business has been causing the poisoning. We’ll see.) All of this poison in the Earth will soon manifest itself in the Dark Avatar who is set to rise up out of the Earth and then, you know, bad shit will go down. The twelve people that were resurrected in Blackest Night were done so specifically to combat the Dark Avatar and when Hawkman and Hawkgirl refused their roles in all of this they were kablooeyed. (One would imagine that this would put a crimp in the White Lantern ring’s plans to fight the Dark Avatar but I think they’ll probably be brought back just in time to help save the day.)

Meanwhile, over in the ocean, Aquaman and the new Aqualad race to confront the army of the exiled people of Xebel who are poised to invade the surface world and are being lead by Mera’s sister Siren. Aquas man and lad get there just in time to face the Xebel army on a beach full of tourists and a bloody battle ensues. As inevitably happens in these kinds of battles, Aquaman ends up facing off against Siren who reveals that she has killed Mera for her betrayal. (Mera was originally sent to Atlantis to cozy up to Aquaman in order to kill him.) Suitably enraged, Aquaman lifts his trident and just as he is about to impale Siren, Black Manta appears and chops off Aquaman’s hand!

CUT TO:

INT. CONOR’S APARTMENT – DAY

CONOR sits on his couch surrounded by comic books. His feet are up on the wooden coffee table. He drops his copy of BLACKEST NIGHT #19 on the ground. He balls his fists and turns his face up to the heavens.
 

CONOR
(Yelling)
Nooooooooooooooooooooo!

(Beat)

Not again!

Fade to black.

They goddamn did it to me again. In two different ways!

First, for the second issue in a row Brightest Day garnered a genuine emotional response. Last time it was heartbreak for Hawkman and Hawkgirl who were killed just as they finally found peace and the promise of a real life together. This time it was shock and anger.

Second, they chopped of Aquaman’s hand! Again! Look, I’m a long time Aquaman fan. When the Kenner Super Powers toys came out the first two I bought were Aquaman and Batman. When Aquaman lost his hand the first time around I was devastated. (It was the 90s, I was a teenager, these things devastated me.) I hated that stupid hook and then I hated the stupid magical hard water hand and just counted down the days until Aquaman got his hand back, which he did when he returned from the dead in Blackest Night.

I fully expect this situation to be rectified. I have a hunch that DC has big pans for Aquaman in 2011 (Geoff Johns keeps bringing him up in interviews) and my hope is that once all this mystical White Lantern mumbo jumbo is over, not only will Hawkman and Hawkgirl be back among the living, but after years of having to sit forlornly on the sidelines, Aquaman will be able to compete in the monthly Justice League of America alumni XBox tournaments again.

So there you have it. At a time when I sometimes feel that there’s nothing left in mainstream super hero comics that surprises me, this week I was surprised by Brightest Day #19. Surprised and angered… in a good, fun way.

Conor Kilpatrick
The guy… can't… catch… a break!
conor@ifanboy.com

Comments

  1. Im excited to read this but dam Conor that was fast. Light week?

  2. Jesus Christ, Conor. That was fast.

  3. You know what else Aquaman can’t catch? A basketball.

    Zing.

  4. Am I the only person that liked Aquamans Hook Hand? also: Damn that was fast!

  5. I’ve enjoyed Brightest Day.  Now I’m really excited about this issue.

  6. The piece de resistance is when Black Manta taunts him about it. That’s a wicked punchline. I love how this series is cranking up the badass dial on Black Manta, btw.

  7. I really hope that we get an Aquaman series out of this.

    Also DC, bring back Topo the Octopus as Aquaman’s sidekick and closest confidante – life just makes more sense when Topo gets to fight a Silverback Gorilla for several pages while Aquaman and a Kraven-like villain violently cheer their respective combatant on from the sidelines. Anyone who understands this reference is officially too old.

  8. Also, he could not only play several instruments at the same time and wield a sword and shield in to battle, but Topo the Octopus was trained in Archery by GREEN ARROW. Now that Speedy has grown up, can Topo have his costume and place as the Emerald Archer’s sidekick please?

  9. i knew i shouldn’t have read this review. DAMNIT, why is there so much snow!

  10. @Patman2 – I also prefer the hooked Aquaman. At least he looked like he could DO something to you if you weren’t covered in scales. Now, the weird metal sleeve… thing that he wore forever? Not so much.

  11. can’t wait to read this, but with the weather all kinds of delays. Maybe thursday…prob Friday. ARGH. 

  12. I feel like you guys have been falling into the ol’ POW stereotypes lately.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  13. YEAH!!!! PIRATE AQUAMAN IS BACK!!!! YEAH!!! : )

  14. Conor, I like how your “light week” consisted of 13 books. I also had a light week, consisting of 3.

    But I was also shocked. Shocked and appalled. Well, maybe not appalled so much at the book, but at myself for not seeing it coming. Somehow, over the last, oh, I don’t know, 5 years or so, Aquaman has slowly risen up the ranks to become one of my favorite superheroes ever. And he did so… without doing anything. He did so simply by not being around and making me wish he was. Maybe it’s just his stoic, regal awesomeness/badassitude in the face of the general public/pop culture’s mocking and lack of respect for him, or maybe it’s just that absence really does make the heart grow fonder, but if Aquaman doesn’t come out of Brightest Day being one of DC’s hottest properties/characters/titles, then I really will be shocked. And definitely appalled. 

  15. @caseyjustice: I always thought aquaman could start and finish some shit, I just thought the hook/beard thing worked for him. also yeah the metal sleeve thing was weird. I say go classic orange shirt or shirtless, never halfway.

  16. Question–did anyone else at first read “hand” as “head?” I was like, “Holy CRAP, they really are playing hardball!”

    But yeah, the hook isn’t all that hot to me, but I actually loved the magic water hand. 

  17. @cutty – People like what they like. What can you say? I’d rather them pick predictable books than go out of their way to appear diverse and pick books that aren’t truly their POW.

  18. i stopped reading brightest day a few months back, but i think i might go back and buy them again. thanks conor.

  19. I like the hard water hand myself.

  20. Conor, I like your review of the issue… Fun stuff!

  21. @j206  Yeah I know, I was in no way being serious

  22. That was fun.  I didn’t expect the white ring to have an agenda quite like that.

  23. My opinion of both this issue and the series overall is about as diametrically opposed from Connor as I think is humanly possible.

  24. I like the hook hand (though my opinion can not be trusted where Aquaman is concerned: I loved “Sword of Aquaman” until Busiek left).  I’m also trusting that Siren was lying about Mera, because the Aqua-family has just started to get really interesting, and the Arthur/Mera dynamic is a big part of that.  This series has been fun, much to my surprise, and a new Aquaman series (or even series of minis) would be great.

  25. I didn’t know there was a 19th issue of Blackest Night. What happened to issues 9-18? I’m just kidding. Excellent review. Glad to see I’m not the only one enjoying this story.

  26. I was going to read this in Trades but based on the details you just gave, NO!  Geoff Johns SUCKS!  He needs to leave the rest of DCU alone and just go back to JSA!

  27. its pretty obvious that Aquaman is indeed Luke Skywalker. The Black Manta taunt was straight up cold. That dude is going to get jacked up before this is all over. 

    Really fun issue and a crazy surprise. Lets hope the remaining issues build off this momentum. 

  28. This series has got me ….. HOOKED!

    ZINGER!!!!!

  29. @Patman2 @CaseyJustice  Count me in as a fan of the hook…but….just the hook, no harpoon line attached to it!

  30. Aquaman gets new series.  High five!…. Other arm please.

  31. @Patman2  I will take Aquaman any way as long as he has the Brett Keisel beard.

  32. They should just make Aquaman more like how he is on Batman: The Brave and The Bold.

  33. I hear ya Conor. I felt so bad for the poor aquatic bastard after I finished this one. As much as I hope Johns rectifies this and the hawks, it still made for a helluva cliffhanger.

  34. Very exciting issue.  The beachfront battle was great.  I loved the panel of aquaman&lad being blown out of the water.  Good to get some deadman answers as well. 

    @tomdpimp Is this based off the aquaman losing his hand or the white rings plans?  Either way, dont base an entire writers body of work based on a single review of a middle of the series issue.  Johns has done some really great stuff IMO, he didnt get to where he was by writing crap. 

  35. Again with the hand? Couldn’t they have switched things up and chopped off his foot and given him a peg leg this time?

  36. @AlanMooresBeard – Hmm… would it shoot a harpoon?

  37. Somewhere in the world of the DCU, there is an entire pile of discarded Aquaman hands that are being sold on Ebay.

  38. This was definitely a great issue, but my pick went to Hellboy this week.  That Scott Hampton draws a mean Hellboy book.  Man oh man, that was one beautiful book.

  39. I was surprised how much I liked this issue, Black Manta is like a movie montster, whenever he shows up all hell breaks loose. I just hope that the book stays this good.

  40. “The guy… can’t… catch… a break!”

    The guy can’t catch anything larger than a basketball either! Y’know, with the one hand and all.

  41. @charlesp1138  Just saw your post. Didn’t mean to copy!

  42. Brightest Day #19, The Return of Lefty!

  43. I just noticed that it was the opposite hand that was cut off this time. I expect that with the healing powers of the WHite Lantern that the Hawks, Aquaman, and Firestorm will all be fine.

  44. @CaseyJustice  Either a harpoon or delicious tartar sauce.

  45. That was awesome.

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