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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Brightest Day #6 - Sept. 2010

Comics Weekend "Dead Zone" by Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi, Ivan Reis, Pat Gleason, and more.

This issue of Brightest Day opens with a horrific attack by what looks like a Martian--or is that Martians?--on an innocent family. Meanwhile, the Martian Mahunter is on the killer's trail:
After interludes with Hawk, Dove, and Boston Brand, and then Firestorm, we find our way back to the Sea King and Mera, who ended last issue by revealing a deep, dark secret to her husband--that she was sent to Earth to kill him:
After another visit with the Manhunter (who has turned to Barbara "Oracle" Gordon for help) ends with another grisly murder: in this case, of the young hero Miss Martian! To be continued!

Whew! A lot of Aquaman stories are getting consigned to the ash heap of history with this new realization that Mera has, essentially, been a "sleeper agent" all these years.

I don't mean to sound critical of that--I have no real problem with a writer not feeling bound to every single story previously published featuring a character. But, as a long time Aquaman fan, it casts every single Aquaman story since Mera's debut (in 1963!) in a new light.

Also, some AquaFans have suggested that Mera's reference to Black Manta having visited her homeworld means that this new Aqualad is the child of the two of them. I'm going to wait to see how this all plays out before I get too worked up, one way or the other.

This issue was printed with an alternate, Aquaman-centric cover, which F.O.A.M.er Joe Slab was nice enough to send me:


Bribaby said...

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I kind of like the idea of the Xebelites being exiled Atlanteans (which fits with Atlantis' history--they seemed to exile people at the drop of a hat) but there have been numerous encounters with Mera's people before now. More continuity warping. Oh vell. It's dramatic, it's exciting. I'll take it.

Josh Hill said...

I am loving BRIGHTEST DAY, and this was one of the best issues yet. I am not sold yet, though, on Aqualad being Black Manta and Mera's son. I think it is more like he is the son Manta and Siren. I think yet another big shocking revelation in the world of Aquaman might be too much all at once for this series (you would think she would have told Arthur about that, too, this week if it were so), but I guess anything is possible.

Vincent Paul Bartilucci said...

What is up w/ the pic of Manta paired w/ the "Until Black Manta killed our son." caption? Arthur Jr was suffocated in an air-filled globe death-trap so whhat's w/ the knife and the blood? Or am I just misinterpreting the image?

Joe Slab said...

Re: Mera's origin: I have always thought it was VERY Silver-Age simplistic (she just kinda showed up and every other issue had Leron or Oceanus trying to get her back or take over Atlantis) and I am glad Geoff is adding some layers to her backstory.

Black Manta is another one who just "showed up" and has never had his first encounter with Aquaman shown chronologically. Rest assured, Aqualad is NOT the son of Mera and Manta and I have that on good authority ;)

For more info on Geoff's thoughts about Aquaman's continuity, Mera's and Manta's origins, and future plans for the Aqua-characters, you can listen to DC's podcast of the Geoff Johns panel at SDCC at this link: Its some great stuff!


John said...

So...whatever happened to Hila then? Has she been retconned out?

HollyH said...

At least they're pulling a "re-evaluate everything you knew" retcon instead of a "try to forget everything you knew" one?

I'd guessed that Siren must have been Mera's sister when we saw her the last time, and saw her uncanny resemblance to Mera. (Unless they were going to pull out, I don't know, magical cloning or something.) And yes, I was also guessing that the big TWIST would be that they kind of want us to suspect that Jackson is the son of Manta and Mera, and that's why they're being coy about it... but now that we've got Siren, it will turn out that she's Jackson's mother.

Am I missing something, though? Mera says, "Our child's death was as much revenge on you as it was on me." I... thought Arthur Jr.'s death was always an attack by Manta on Aquaman. Shouldn't what Mera said be flipped? (...was as much revenge on me as it was on you?) Or am I just unusually dense pre-coffee?

David J. Cutler said...

I think it's more likely Aqualad's the son of Manta and Siren, but we'll see! Very disappointed in DC for killing Miss Martian, though (with the Young Justice cartoon starting in a few months? really?)--does not pay to be a teenage superhero in the DC Universe.

rob! said...

Bribaby--"they seemed to exile people at the drop of a hat". That made me laugh out loud, so true!

Josh--I think Aqualad being Manta and Siren's son has less emotional wallop, since we've never met Siren before, but I hope that's the case nonetheless.

Vince--Welcome back!

Yeah, that image is a tad misleading, but I'm chalking it up to how Mera sees that moment, rather than it being a literal flashback to the original scene.

Joe--Interesting hint you've dropped, I can only hope you're right!

John--You never know, but yeah it looks like Hila is now hanging out with the E-2 Batman and others members of the DC Exiles club.

Holly--You're right, that line of Mera's is a bit perplexing, and I haven't had any coffee at all!

David--Me too re: Miss Martian, I really liked that character, and I think it helped Manhunter's iconic status in the DCU. Seems weird to kill her off pre-YJ, doesn't it? Maybe the cliffhanger isn't exactly what it seems...

HollyH said...

Just shows how jaded I am about comics "deaths", I didn't assume that Ms. Martian was dead at all. (I mean, clearly, they want you to gasp and think so, but that's where my cynicism comes in.) In the past, J'onn has been BEHEADED and it turned out he still wasn't dead (he also completely regenerated himself from just his own severed arm, once). She's a White Martian, so I have to assume she enjoys the same deal. Clearly something Very Bad happened to her (since all her White Martian-ness is showing through), but... we'll see, I guess!

(Then again, the YJ preview made a big deal out of SOMEONE WILL DIE. And looking at their line-up, I can't figure out who they can afford to sacrifice. I would have said that they wouldn't sacrifice one of their two girl characters... but who knows, I guess.)

Rob, you're right that Jackson being the son of Manta/Siren wouldn't have as much whallop as his being the son of Mera. But it would still have *some* whallop, I guess -- Jackson, who's going to be a hero, would get to angst about being the son of TWO villains (since that's clearly where they're going with Siren, yes?). And since Mera would be his aunt, he'd still have a familial connection to her. Well, it's all still speculation -- but fun to wonder about!

(TBH, I wonder why they didn't just go all-out and make Mera and Siren twins. They look enough alike. I expected that to be the reveal, except that Mera describes Siren as "my younger sister". Of course, even with twins, one is slightly younger...)

rob! said...

Holly--all good points. I'm willing to sacrifice the big reveal being less big to avoid having it involve Manta and Mera having a child together.

And...a guy named Aqualad, full of angst? Never seen that before! :)

Bonehead XL said...

I'm pretty annoyed they axed Miss Martian. She was a good character. Hopefully her death will be short lived. (So to speak. Har.)

I suspect one of the big reveals of this series is finally getting a definite origin for Black Manta. That's probably long overdue.

Xebel being composed of exiled Atlantians does make sense, on one level. (It seems sort of unlikely there be another water dimension just hanging around.) But, yes, it does tinker with established continuity. I'm still not convinced Siren and Hila won't turn out to be the same character in some wacky way, or perhaps the Post-Crisis version of that character or something.

Even if she was sent as a sleeper agent, it's pretty clear Aquaman and Mera love each other. After Johns went through all this to bring them back together, it seems wrong that he would just split them up again. Having said that, I really hope the new Aqualad isn't Mera and Black Manta's son. Because the idea of a romance between the two disgust me (And seems like the kind of thing that probably should have come up by now.) Or, even worse, the idea that Mera was raped seems equally wrong. (And would make her yet another female hero forced to undergo such an awful thing.)

Wings1295 said...

Sorry I am late to the party!

I don't mind the retcon of Mera, it is all done for good, dramatic stuff and keeping the characters from being boring.

That said, I am NOT cool with the new Aqualad being Manta & Mera's son. Manta and anyone else, fine. Mera's? No, thank you.