Comic Book Review: Brightest Day #19 – Aquawar, Part One

Cover Art for Brightest Day #19

Story: Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi
Art: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert and Rob Hunter

In a Nutshell

In the opening pages of this DC comicbook, Boston Brand (aka Deadman) cries out for an explanation as to why Hawkman and Hawkgirl were vaporized by the White Lantern. But this is not the most interesting part of this comicbook. What really stopped me from putting down this book is the fact that it follows one focal point, that of Aquaman and the rest of the undersea-dwelling heroes and villains in DC Universe. You see, many issues in the series have multiple plots that dragged down many a reader’s interest. Well, not this issue. Plus, who doesn’t like opening salvos? Being the first chapter of the Aquawar arc, this issue is a must have.

What's Cool

  • It’s a story arc about Aquaman whom I miss ever since his own ongoing series has been canceled back in the end of 2007.
  • Awesome cover art with equally eye-melting rendition of Black Manta.
  • Artwork on each page is clean and crisp. Character expressions are simply incredible.
  • Plus, how often do you see a very important comic book character losing an arm in a dastardly attack?

What's Crap

  • Honestly, I really have no complaints about this issue, except that I feel the fight scenes could have used a few more panels.

The Bottom Line

If you’re still coming to grips with what happened in Brightest Day #18, then this latest issue on the celebrated yearlong maxi-series from DC Comics will blow you away. I hate to repeat myself but, yeah, this issue focuses on one of the most beloved characters in superhero comics genre who’s none other than Aquaman. The best part is there’s big action in this comic book. ‘Nuff said.

Comic Book Review – Green Arrow #6: Siege Mentality

This is a continuing Brightest Day tie-in issue that has nothing to do with Black Lanterns, or the Brightest Day maxi-series for that matter. For many fans of the character, this is a welcome relief. You see, some comic book readers have expressed their dismay over what seem to be a conspiracy to take the edge off Green Arrow, resulting in the character not getting the most captivating parts in the past issues. The first five installments all served as settings for Brightest Day sub-plots and, right now, I couldn’t care less about that mysterious forest in the middle of Star City.

Cover Art for Green Arrow #6

But now, we see Green Arrow finally hitting the bull’s eye in this series that bears his name. Oliver Queen finally raids Queen Industries to meet the Queen and her assistant assassin Nix head on. The assault scenes are packed with action, which all manage to provide the much needed thrust for Oliver’s story to move forward.

Writer JT Krul has brought the series a new sense of direction. Storywise, I believe that this is the best issue in the series so far. Add to that the powerful artwork by Diogenes Neves and the brilliant colors and inkwork from Vicente Cifuentes. As always, the cover art by Mauro Cascioli sums up the core of this issue’s storyline in a manner that’s nothing less than realistic.

Brightest Day #14: Acrobats

“I just hope there’s more to life than a good cheeseburger.” — Boston Brand/Deadman

This Brightest Day chapter focuses on one character—Deadman. Not only will comic book readers know what happens to Boston Brand’s quest to find someone who will replace him as the bearer of the White Lantern ring, but more interestingly we get to see the origins of the ghost in the red acrobatic suit.

Brightest Day #14

Thinking that Batman is the worthy guardian of the Earth–and hence the perfect bearer of the White Lantern ring–Deadman goes to Gotham City. But things turned bad, when he finds himself right in the middle of a heist masterminded by Mr. Freeze. While Batman will definitely be in the pages of this issue, I believe the cover art is a bit misleading. Still, fans will definitely find themselves thunderstruck after reading this ish.

Again, Geoff Johns delivers a great story. Now that Brightest Day is halfway through to its conclusion and the main characters have been fully developed and set, I’m sure that readers can expect more energetic installments from Johns. It is also worth mentioning that right from the start, the art by Ivan Reis perfectly captures the strength of Johns’ writing. For this issue in particular, Reis did an amazing job in Deadman’s movements and facial expressions.

Fanboyninja Weekly Comics Review (Oct. 20): JLA #50, GL Corps, and a Vampire Roman Senator

Green Lantern Corps #53

Kyle Rayner and Sinestro are headed for a big showdown one of these days. Well, it’s not that these poozers haven’t already pulled at each other’s hairs before. But this time around, a woman is going to be caught between the crossfire. It’s Soranik Natu, Sinestro’s daughter and now Kyle’s object of affection. Worse still, the grudge match between Kyle and Sinestro (to be played by Mark Strong in the upcoming Green Lantern movie) does not even come close to the brutality of The Weaponer’s vendetta against Sinestro.

Green Lantern Corps #53

We all know The Weaponer from planet Qward. He built Sinestro’s power ring. But somewhere down the line, the two had a falling out. And comic book readers will know why in this issue, which incidentally marks the debut of Tyler Kirkman as artist for the Green Lantern Corps series.

Brightest Day #12

Brightest Day #12Many issues in the Brightest Day series can be a bit dragging. But number 12 is definitely not one of them. In fact, I’d even say that this is a hit issue, especially if you’re a fan of the Martian Manhunter. Don’t let the Firestorm cover fool you. Our green shape-shifting alien hero takes center stage here as he fights another Martian survivor named D’kay D’razz. Needless to say, when a Martian is out thumping another Martian, all hell breaks loose. That’s right, this issue is action-packed with several helpings of horror and insanity! Can J’onn J’onzz come out unscathed from this turmoil? Definitely not.

Doctor Solar Man of Atom #3

Doctor Solar #3What I love about this week’s comic book review is the fact that many of the issues are action-packed. Here we find Doctor Solar locked in battle against an equally powerful character named Moloch—another creature from the mind of Whitmore Pickerel. Well, you don’t need rocket science to know that Doctor Solar ultimately wins. I mean, he’s a guy who can form, un-form, generate, and degenerate anything that fancies his whims. The question is would this be the last time that we see Moloch? ‘Course not.

The great cover, impressive overall art inside, plus a slick storyline make this issue a must-have for comic book readers who follow the Man of Atom.

Ides of Blood #3

Ides of Blood #3I’ll go straight to the point. Valens, our erstwhile Roman vampire senator, got caught and Antony is having a fun time torturing him. Roman barbarity is at its worst, as Antony torments Valens. What kind of a beast can think of peeling off a man’s face? Good thing, our hero is a vampire and he’s got incredible healing powers sans adamantium. The best part is that Valens somehow found an ally from the inside and they instantly plot an escape. The bad news is that the golden ticket to freedom can only be attained with the help of the vampire Ione, whom Valens wrongfully accused earlier as the bloodsucking murderer known as Pluto’s Kiss. Convincing Ione was no easy task, but no sooner than when she said yes did they find themselves in the middle of a gladiatorial match against four beastly undead.

Thor: First Thunder #2

Thor: First Thunder #2I like this issue for a reason and one reason only—the cover. Awesome cover art by Filipino artist Jay Anacleto. Reminds me of a statue released by Bowen Designs where we see Loki sitting on a throne in a very imposing form. It makes one wonder whether the Trickster God is only good for naughtiness or unrivaled viciousness.

The story itself is not bad. Here we find Thor going to Asgard only to be denied entry by Heimdall acting on Odin’s orders. The sequence of events that transpired between Thor and Heimdall on the Bifrost accidentally broke the chains that held Loki, who’s now out for revenge against the God of Thunder.

Justice League of America #50

Justice League of America #50It’s the big five-o and for comic book readers, this issue is a milestone. A female Green Lantern from another world or dimension comes to Earth-1 or the primary Earth. Apparently, her home world has been destroyed, courtesy of Doctor Impossible and the Crime Syndicate of America. The bad news is that the syndicate is hot on her heels and now poised to annihilate the Justice League’s world.

As one would expect, fighting ensues (told ya, this week is full of action) between the Justice League and their respective counterparts from Crime Syndicate. We see Jesse Quick against Johnny Quick, Jade facing Power Ring, Donna Try versus Superwoman, Supergirl exchanging blows with Ultraman, and Batman matching wits with Owlman. But it leaves little to imagination for us to know that the big clash is just a charade for a bigger and more sinister plan. A plan that involves bringing back Darkseid (is it really him?).

Fanboyninja Weekly Comics Review (Oct. 6): Batman, Brightest Day and More

Brightest Day #11

While writing this comic book review, I committed one awful mistake. I wrote Blackest Night instead of Brightest Day on the subheading. Good thing, I saw the blunder before I published this piece. Well, this little oversight is not without reason. It stems from the fact that I’m starting to feel that the whole series has become a bit dragging. Maybe it’s just me and my tendency to look back and compare Brightest Day with Blackest Night.Brightest Day #11

So why the heck should I include Brightest Day #11 in my weekly rundown when I’m getting bored with the series? Well, part of the reason is the mano-a-mano scene between Aquaman and Black Manta. The King of the Seven Seas got off the hook (literally) this time. But where is he heading now that he found the new Aqualad?

Not to be missed in this issue is the return of the Black Lantern Firestorm aka Deathstorm. This guy knows the ABCs of villainy as he taunts Ronnie and Jason (the real Firestorm). Incidentally, Deathstorm gave me the biggest reason to like this comic book as he utters the words – “Let me tell you the secret of the universe. There is no good or evil. Only life and death”.

‘Nuff said.

American Vampire #7

American Vampire #7I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. I hate vampires. Not because they suck blood from their victims, but because they have become too commercialized nowadays. But once again, I’ll make an exception. American Vampire is one of the best comic book series to come out in recent times and a big reason for that is the American history highlights sprinkled in each issue. Now on its seventh installment and on its second story arc, we see more characters being developed.

Unlike the first six comic book issues, there is not much action and gore in American Vampire #7. However, I’m just thrilled about the idea of vampires running around Sin City. Here, we see our beloved bloodsucker Skinner Sweet, who now owns a brothel and wears a coat and tie. But don’t let his looks fool you, he’s still that savage we have come to know and love. The only difference now is that a new character, Chief McCogan, may finally get the chance to snip the fangs off our hero, or villain (depends on which side you’re on.).

Batman Confidential #49

Batman Confidential #49If you’re a fan of Night Shift Supervisor Dr. Gil Grissom, Detective Mac Taylor, and Lieutenant Horatio Caine, then you’ll definitely love this Batman comic book. Bruce Wayne’s detective skills are finally put to the test. You heard that right, it’s Bruce Wayne. This issue is apparently set before the Final Crisis. Hence, the one wearing the cowl is still Bruce and not Dick Grayson.

For the most part of the book, we get inside Bruce’s brain as he monologues his way to solve a crime. Here, we see why Batman is the greatest detective of them all. His detection skills truly are amazing. And that makes this thriller of an issue all the more fantastic.

Batman Hidden Treasures #1

Batman Hidden Treasures #1If you’ve been a loyal Dark Knight fan ever since you were a kid, you’d definitely heard of the legendary Batman tales illustrated by Bernie Wrightson. Well, those are exactly what you get in this comic one-shot. The first part of the issue, written by Ron Marz, is a never-been-released story starring Batman and Solomon Grundy. It has puzzled legions of fans why this story was left for 13 years to gather dust in some office drawer. But all that indiscretion is now under the bridge as the story finally gets to see the light of day.

The second part, entitled Night of the Bat, is another Batman story drawn by Bernie Wrightson and written by Len Wein. This story first appeared in Swamp Thing #7 and here we see the Dark Knight trading punches with the Swamp Thing. All in all, in this comic book we see that there are other characters—horrible as they may seem at first glance—who have a more straightforward sense of justice compared to Batman, if you know what I mean.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #4

S.H.I.E.L.D. #4Let me get this straight. Reading this comic book series can give you some headaches. It’s just damn hard to comprehend. Imagine Isaac Newton being a despotic supreme ruler of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Leonardo da Vinci as the righteous former leader who’s now returned to help prevent the world from being totally f*cked up. Think of Newton and da Vinci as two great generals on a showdown for control. Not to be missed is da Vinci’s flight to the sun, using only what would seem to be a 15th century space suit—with wings! Oh, and did you know that Nostradamus is still alive? Thanks to the infinity serum injected by Newton, the world’s greatest clairvoyant has been imprisoned in some dungeon for the last 500 years.

iZombie #6

iZombie #6In this issue, we focus on Spot. As a matter fact, this installment has been re-titled I, Were-Terrier. So, if you include iZombie #6 in your buy comic book list for the week hoping to see Gwen eat some dead guy’s brains, you’ll be a bit disappointed. But hey, a one-off story about Scott (or Spot, for when he turns into a were-terrier) is not at all that bad. If you’re a geek, you could even relate to this fellow’s story. A glimpse on unassuming Scott’s hobbies and favorite activities would make any fanboy geek nostalgic. By the way, the paper they used for this issue would make you reminisce about the good old days of non-glossy comics pages.

Fanboyninja Weekly Comics Review (Sept. 16): Aliens Vs. Predators, Emerald Warriors

AVP Three World War #6

In this issue, the Colonial Marines and their Hunter Predator ‘allies’ are on the offensive against the Killer Predators. The conclusion to this 6-issue series from Dark Horse Comics reveals how the Killer Predators were able to subjugate their Alien pets. And with that piece of information—thanks to the android David Sereda— the allies now have a chance to defeat the Killer Predators.

AVPThreeWorldWar6

With a Queen Alien in their ship, the Hunter Predators provides the much needed boost to help them and their human comrades win the war. As the series ends, what will happen to Machiko and her team? Rating: 8 out of 10.

Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #2

Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #2The Emerald Warriors—consist of Guy Gardner, Arisia, Kilowog, and a Red Lantern named Bleez—visit Odym, the home base of the Blue Lantern Corps. In this issue, Guy discovers that the violent energy of the Red Lantern still rages inside him. What would this visit to the Blue Lanterns do for Guy? Can the team really work with a Red Lantern? This issue brings us a step closer to the Guy’s mysterious mission in the outskirts of the galaxy.

Thor First Thunder #1

Thor First Thunder #1Basically, this is a retelling of the very first Thor story as featured in Journey Into Mystery #83, which has also been reprinted as a special feature here in this issue. If you have read the first Thor appearance, you surely have met the Stone Men from Saturn. Well, they are back along with the classic moments leading to where Dr. Donald Blake found a misshapen but mysterious piece of wood that he would later use as cane and emergency lifeline to the God of Thunder. But make no mistake, this issue is not just a recapitulation of how Thor came to be. Rather, it presents how the story of the Son of Odin fits in modern times. Rating: 9 out of 10.

Thor For Asgard #2

Thor For Asgard #2Everything’s wrong in Asgard nowadays. This issue presents a very depressing time in the city of the Norse Gods. The gloomy mood stems from Thor being alone and saddled with the responsibilities of an Asgard’s ruler. To make matters worse, some young and rebellious Asgardians have banded together to attempt to demolish the Rainbow Bridge. How long can Thor put up with all the problems that beset Asgard? So far, I find this arc very interesting both in terms of story and art.

Brightest Day #10

Brightest Day  #10Don’t be fooled by the amazing cover art by David Finch. Aqualad will not beat the crap out of Deadman, at least not in this issue. What you will see though is the ongoing changes and new theories that will redefine Firestorm. Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch still find it hard to agree on anything even as they are fused to become Firestorm. The other highlight of the issue is Jackson Hyde, the new Aqualad. Here, we will see the events that will ultimately lead him to his destiny. Brightest Day #10 is one of the most engaging issues in the series.

Ides of Blood #2

Ides Of Blood #2I admit it. I’m not a big Vampire fan. Besides American Vampire, I have not come across a refreshing vampire story arc lately. But I’m afraid I have to make another exception with Ides of Blood. Sure, many fans find this new take on Roman history a bit boring, but the pacing of the story in each issue has been first-rate for me. After all, if you can imagine a vampire being involved in one of the most vicious assassination plots in history, you would get hooked to this series too.