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Saturday, October 09, 2010

Brightest Day #11 - Nov. 2010

Comics Weekend "Fathers' Day" by Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi, Ivan Reis, Pat Gleason, and more.

This issue of Brightest Day is 23 pages of Aquaman Action!

Okay, more like 8 pages, actually; the rest of the book being devoted to the Firestorm story thread (and of course we have Shag for that). But we do finally get a face-off between Aquaman and Black Manta, something that's been a long time coming:
(check out Aquaman's errant punch, which levels a tree!)

After another interlude with Firestorm, we rejoin Aquaman and Manta beating the karp out of each other, with Manta unable to keep himself from cruelly teasing his old foe:
After zapping Aquaman with a bolt of electricity, Manta's son Jackson (and his adopted father) make their way to a highway, where they try to flag down a passing truck.

Aquaman stabs Manta with his trident, defiantly stating that he has himself to live for--a definite change of tone from our usual tortured hero. He tosses Manta onto the road, where the oncoming semi almost turns him into Flat Manta:
Meanwhile, a sort of undead version of Firestorm--who calls himself Deathstorm (clever)--tries to destroy the white power battery, still sitting in that big ditch. He is stopped by a mysterious voice, who commands Deathstorm to bring him(?) the battery.

Bolts of dark, oogy energy shoot from Deathstorm, and the various undead heroes from Blackest Night come "alive":
Meanwhile, Aquaman, Jackson, his Dad, and their erstwhile chaffeur make it to the border of New Mexico. Aquaman stares at the totem-like item Jackson had with him, and gets an idea:
..."where we need to go next", Aquaman concludes. To be continued!

This issue features all sorts of interesting stuff to consider: first off, we finally get to see Aquaman slap Black Manta around; if briefly--that's always nice.

Second, we get another piece of evidence that the histories of Aquaman and the rest are not meant to line up perfectly with what we've seen before: Manta brags about "gutting" Arthur Jr., when he did no such thing. Manta knows that, Aquaman knows that, and Manta knows Aquaman knows that!

So in this new continuity, Manta is still responsible for the death of Aquaman's son, but the specifics of that original story are now hazy at best. And as much as I enjoy Aquaman comics from all different eras, I don't think any writer needs to slavishly follow every single detail that came before, so this is fine by me.

Finally, now that we have live Aquaman and dead Aquaman around at the same time, this seems to suggest the thing I guessed/hoped for back when Blackest Night started--that, on some level, the flesh-munching, undead versions we saw in that series are not the "actual" heroes, but some zombie simulacrum, which is also fine by me.

Mera makes no appearance in this issue; with her live-action debut on Smallville coming up very soon, let's hope she returns to Brightest Day next issue!


IADW said...

I really liked this issue. There's just a real sense of strength now in the character that would be hard for folks to mess with.

Johns mentioned he sees Aquaman saying to Clark and Diana inviting him to a new League, he'll jump in if they need a leader - and having that kind of Aqua fan at the wheel can only help keep him where we want him to be after BD finishes.

Anonymous said...

The Firestorm parts of this issue were pointless and rushed - period.

The Aquaman bits, however, were very interesting and exciting to read! Finally, Aquaman gets to kick some super-villain butt and save the day (and even though he barely says anything, I'm still loving the new Aqualad). Reis' rendition of the Sea King always puts a big smile on my face too. 4/5 for me.

My Only complaint: What is up with the friggin' trident?! I mean, don't get me wrong, I love how Aquaman looks sporting it, but if he's going to hold on to it like holding on to dear life, shouldn't it at least be useful in some big way? Why not have the trident be mystical or whatever, like Magog's Spear or Blue Devil's trident, or the Spear of Destiny that Image's Magdalena carries around?

That would solve the whole "Aquaman's powers aren't useful on the surface" problem pretty well, me thinks.

But the trident doesn't do squat and the way Arthur clings to it, you'd think it's a cane or a pair of crutches more than an actual weapon.

Other than that, it was pretty a cool issue. And I'm fine without Mera in it... it's time for Aquaman to shine on his own! We've had plenty Mera in BN and I'm sure we'll have more in the future too.

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Good issue! I enjoyed the Firestorm parts of the story and will be covering them over on FIRESTORM FAN (thanks for the shout-out!).

I'm glad you address the "gutting" comment from Black Manta. I was totally confused by that. I remember the death of Aquababy quite well and was beginning to think my memory was going with age. Thanks for the clarification, Rob!

Great review! Thrilling to hear Johns is so excited about Aquaman!

The Irredeemable Shag

Joe Slab said...

Brightest Day #11 was good issue and I especially loved the Aquaman v Black Manta variant cover!

The line about "gutting" Arthur Jr. actually made me wince with pain though...as much as I applaud Geoff Johns' championing of Aquaman's return to prominence at DC, I feel that Arthur Jr's death was sinister enough as it was and didn't need to be darkened any further.

And Arthur Jr was shown to be suffocating in Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3 which GJ wrote so I am not sure about why the change here...its my one sticking point in an otherwise great showcasing of Aquaman in Brightest Day, including nicely augmented power levels/upped imperviousness to harm displayed by the Sea King.

Russell said...

I guess I'm in the minority here, not really enjoying this. How many more friggin' issues do we have to buy before we come to some conclusion? Is BD an on-going, or is there a set "end" to it? The pacing of this book is TERRIBLE. (sigh)

Wings1295 said...

Looks like an awesome issue, indeed! Aquaman kicking some Manta-ass is sorely belated! And his new attitude is great as well, the hero we all fell in love with way back when.

images2icons said...

LOL! Rob gets to say I TOLD YOU SO now; with both Aquamen running around.

Brandan E said...

Geoff Johns didn't write Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3, Greg Rucka did...

As for the "gutting", its bothersome. Its an unnecessary change in continuity just for a small line of dialogue to become a bit more powerful. But this wouldn't be the first, second or 20th time Johns has changed history for his own story's benefit.