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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Brightest Day #0 - June 2010

Comics Weekend "Carpe Diem" by Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin, and many more.

Well, "Blackest Night" has come and gone. Its a new morning, and a bunch of heroes everyone thought were dead--including Aquaman, Hawkman, Firestorm, and more--are now back.

This "preview" issue of the new Brightest Day mini-series opens with a newly alive Deadman--aka Boston Brand--visiting his own grave:
Boston is initially angry and confused about his new existence. But when he finds he has the ability to bring a small dead bird back to life, he is shocked. At that moment, a blinding white light appears, and transports him away.

Meanwhile, we catch up with all the other heroes recently revived, and we see how Aquaman and Mera have spent their time:
We then follow-up on all the other recently-revived heroes and villains, like Prof. Zoom, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Maxwell Lord, Martian Manhunter, Kyle Rainer, Firestorm, Osiris, and Hawk and Dove.

There's a voice in Boston Brand's head asking for help. The sheer power of it causes Boston tremendous anguish:
Boston finds himself wearing the White Lantern ring. He asks why he and the rest were brought back to life, and it answers, "Help me live." With that, Boston disappears.

Of course, to be continued!

Hmm...I'm of two mind regarding that one panel, of Aquaman being haunted by his zombie form.

It is completely believable that Aquaman would be still be traumatized by all that he went through--I mean, you don't become a flesh-munching zombie, ready to kill and eat your family and friends, and then just shake it off the next day. So, it only makes sense that Arthur is feeling a bit unsure of himself.

On the other hand, this is the perfect moment to scrape off all the sturm und drang that's been dogging Aquaman like so many barnacles over the decades(!), and return the character to the courageous, confident, and almost happy-go-lucky adventurer and protector of the seas that he used to be. I'd hate to see Aquaman be put through all this, brought back to life, only to go right back to being Mr. Mopey again.

But, hey, we're at the very beginning of Brightest Day, so let's just see where this all goes...


Joe Thoms said...

Agree totally that Aquaman needs to return to the adventurer days almost like he is on Batman the Brave and the Bold. It is great to see Arthur and Mera together.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see Aquaman grow out of his angst filled former self, and into the brave and bold hero he once was!

also, I notices you didn't mention in your review that Aquaman's origin has been (apparently) reverted back to what it was in the silver age, which is him being the son of a surface man (Tom Curry) and an atlantean (Atlanna).

Does this mean the "Orin Era" has finally been put to rest, making way for a real new beginning for the King?

Josh Hill said...

I loved this comic so much. I haven't been this excited and happy to be a DC reader since the Death and Return Of Superman in the early 90's.

I'm really looking forward to seeing where Arthur's story goes from here. I understand your trepidation, Rob, but I think everything is going to turn out ok. From what I understand, Geoff Johns had Aquaman at the very top of his list of characters he wanted to resurrect for BRIGHTEST DAY and I think he fully intends to restore Arthur back to his classic glory.

I also have to mention how great Martian Manhunter's scene was in this issue. J'Onn is my other favorite DCU character, so you can imagine how much fanservice this comic paid me :)

Wings1295 said...

How great seeing them together. Of course there has to be more to the story, cause it IS a story. But it is great, too.

Would love for Aquaman and Mera to be happy finally, but I guess DC doesn't put much stock in two characters just being at peace and enjoying being heroes.


David J. Cutler said...

I sort of didn't like this comic much, it felt scattered and maudlin, and the lingering threat that this was going to be an even darker comic than Blackest Night, I dunno... I never seem to like 0 issues though, so maybe it'll pick up.

I did notice the half human/half Atlantean thing in his character bio. I assumed it was a mistake? There are quite a few continuity errors with Firestorm, so I chalked it up to oversight. Why would a resurrection alter your origins?

David J. Cutler said...

Oh, also--Aquaman's scared to go back into the water. He hasn't been in the water since he returned from the dead. Does that mean his "weakness" is gone, too, or another oversight?

Count Drunkula said...

David - No, I assume they're considering Peter David's retcon of Aquaman's origin a mistake.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ryan... as well planned out as Peter David's "Aquaman" was, he just went too far with a lot of things. Atlantis Chronicles was brilliant, but he just got stuck in that and didn't really moved forward... also the hook and the beard were an easy way out to make Aquaman look tough.

I really hope we get a new more respectable origin for Aquaman, and that his (stupid) 1 hour out of water weakness is completely forgotten!!!

Shellhead said...

A couple things:

A) Very glad to see the "got to have water or he dies" weakness retconned away. I mean, they have to have been out of the water for several days by now, right?

B) Rob, I don't question your love of Aquaman, but I do have an issue with your desire to undo 30 years of character development. Happy go lucky, adventurer Aquaman was fine . . . back in the 60's and early 70's, just like Adam West Batman was fine for that era. Now, I do agree it's time to lighten the mood a bit with Arthur, but as one who really enjoyed PAD's take on Orin (and obviously not alone considered that volume was Aquaman's longest run)I'd consider it a let down if he goes back to beating up the Fisherman whilst riding Storm and trading quips with Garth and Tusky the walrus. I'm kinda bummed he lost the water hand. I thought it added some versatility to his power set. Brightening up his worldview a bit, yes. Bringing back the silver age cheese, not so much. Arthur does best as a character with gravitas. Heavy is the crown and all that. Ah well, I guess time with tell.

rob! said...


Maybe I overdid it a bit, but I would love for Aquaman to get away from the embittered, tortured hothead that's been been for so long.

That kind of tense, Type-A personality works for Batman, but for most other heroes I think you need a little more sense of fun.

Aquaman's been dealing with so much death and misery since, like, the 70s(!), that I'd just like to see him and Mera off having superhero adventures.

Oh, and I really do hope they got rid of the "can only be out of water an hour" business. That was so ridiculously limiting.

David J. Cutler said...

@Shellhead -- Haha I think Rob had it right. Character development is great and all, but not when it takes away what attracted people to the character in the first place. Can you imagine if Spider-Man behaved today the way the modern Aquaman does? No thank you. The personality change made him too similar to Namor, and I just think it was really the wrong way to go.

I see what they were going for--if he's a totally serious, grim 80s and 90s badass character, maybe people will take him more seriously. I think it just strikes people as silly though. "If Aquaman doesn't love being Aquaman, who's going to?"

@Ryan -- As much as I like the changes (if they are "changes" and not "mistakes"), I hate retcons without reboots. Looking back at the stories now, I have to ask myself... what counts? I mean, Orm was the son of Atlan, not Tom Curry... how can Aquaman's resurrection actually change who his father was? Are he and Ocean Master even related anymore? Did Atlan exist? Was Arthur cast out of Atlantis as a baby? Was he raised by dolphins? If not, did the hook hand thing even happen?

This totally changes the story, and I'm kind of more baffled than ever.

Count Drunkula said...


Here's the explanation/retcon I think they should take.

Basically, it boils down to Aquaman's Silver Age origin is the real origin: half human/half Atlantean, fun adventurer. But everything changed when Black Manta killed Arthur, Jr. You can say that Arthur suffered the world's worst case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after witnessing his infant son's murder. This emotional breakdown was where the "darkening" of Aquaman began, and it's where he began to "reject his humanity", first by rejecting his human name, and then his human heritage.

Peter David's tenure on Aquaman featured the title character chronicling the history of Atlantis. That was Arthur--now calling himself Orin--rewriting his own history to cut all ties to his human side which he considered weak and tainted. And of course, the emotional detachment from humanity leads to a very physical detachment. First he lost his hand, then his recognizable costume, then eventually got the magic water hand, and then became completely alien in appearance before his inglorious, forgettable death.

Now that he has a second chance at life, he's able to move beyond the death of Aquababy and reclaim his Tom Curry/Atlanna heritage. Pick it up from there and run with it. If there are any leftover conflicts or contradictions, like Ocean Master's paternity, just chock it up to Aquaman's "fictional chronicling" during his breakdown.

David J. Cutler said...

@Ryan -- I don't know if "Aquaman comics from 1989 to 2009 were a fever dream of a desperately depressed Arthur Curry" works for me at all. He invented Atlan, or just the paternity? If Orm was the son of Tom Curry and not Atlan, what was he doing living in Alaska?

If Aquaman wasn't raised by dolphins, what was the significance of the hook he replaced his hand with? If he was raised by dolphins, it's a big stretch for me to imagine Tom fathered him, his mother returned to Atlantis, he was exiled, raised by dolphins, and it was Tom who found him again. The Atlan origin works so much better for Orm in my mind. I'd much rather think Atlan's son was a crazy, power mad wizard, than Tom's son being the same.

I get where you're coming from--I prefer the human tied origin to the wizardly one as well, but I'd have much preferred a continuity reboot to this backpedaling and adjusting of what's there.

rob! said...

I'm of the belief that once you get past ten years of any given character or series, you're free to dismiss whatever happened before that--there's just too much that goes on in the average superhero's life to possibly be able to square all those events into a nice, neat timeline.

Back when Mike W. Barr wrote Batman and the Outsiders, a reader wrote in that some issue of BATO conflicted with an issue of Brave and the Bold that was printed around 1975.

Barr's completely reasonable answer was, that Batman in B&B is not the Batman in BATO. But, hoo boy, did people go nuts! Barr even got death threats. (Seriously)

I have no idea whether Johns or anyone else at DC is going to make an attempt to tie all the various forms of Aquaman together, and I really don't care one way or the other.

Peter David did his job--making Aquaman sell--but that was almost 20 years(!) ago, so I'm perfectly fine with current writers just using the basic elements from Aquaman's past and forgetting the rest.

Unknown said...


I think you needn't worry about Aquaman reverting back to his morose personality. Regardless of any post-trauma effects from Blackest Night he is depicted as having a supportive, loving wife (who is apparently quite sane) whom he has obviously reconnected with (wink,wink) quite well. Mera's devotion will get him through Brightest Day just as it did through Darkest night. I think that's where this storyline is going.

Jason G. said...

For those who have issues with the possible revising without a reboot, I have one word: magic!

Perhaps Atlan used some spell to make Arthur believe that Atlan was his father for some mysterious purpose. Or maybe Aquaman made some sort of deal with the devil (hee). Or maybe Johns just made a mistake. Whatever the case, I do hope that we get some sort of official, plausible explanation as the series progresses.

Also, count me among those who want to see a return to the fun, non-angsty Aquaman similar to the one being seen in the Brave and the Bold cartoon. Despite my own initial reservations to the idea, it seems a lot of people are really enjoying that iteration of the character. And gosh darn it, he is fun!