Brightest Day #2: I love the mystery surrounding this series -- there's a hell of a lot going on, and I have no idea what it is. It intrigues me. What I like: Johns and Tomasi giving face time to some of the more tertiary characters of the DCU. When Johns took over as creative director of DC, I thought that we would see a return of some of the older, golden age heroes (namely Aquaman, Flash, Hawkman, and the Brave and Bold characters). He seems to be taking this exact route with Brightest Day. I also like the mystery surrounding Deadman's apparent return to the land of the living, and the fact that he seems like the only true white lantern. What I'm worried about? DC tried this weekly (or in this case bi-weekly) series before. 52 was a success, both commercially and in its story telling. But, as the writers stated later, the story took a creative turn of its own. And in order to close some plot threads, they wrote WWIII, a four part series that tied up all the loose ends. I'm worried the same will happen with Brightest Day. What I hope is that Johns and Tomasi already have the entire story planned out and they're just doling out the pieces one issue at a time. And we have to wait and see what happens. My only hope is that they continue with the current pace they've set. It would be a shame to see this series take a nose-dive.
Ultimate Avengers 2 #2: Maybe I'm still hung over from the last issue of Ultimate Avengers 2, but I hated the hell out of this. Story wise, it's inconsistent. There's two flashbacks that return sixteen years into the past, and a third flashback that jumps three days into the past. It seems like very lazy writing. With all the garbage tossed into the first issue, Millar could have easily taken out one page of Punisher murders and thrown in this quick exchange between Nick Fury and Jason Rhodes. As with the inconsistency with the characters in the first issue, that same problem pops up again here. The first Hulk -- and idea which was originally very cool -- has become the stereotype for a rich gangster. He wears heavy gold chains, sports a face tattoo, and crawls out of bed with three women. But the one thing that can make him follow Nick Fury's lead is a quick mention of a previous family. For a guy who is initially presented as soulless and shallow, we're force-fed a quick explanation of his deeper character. But it was too little too late because Millar had spent the previous fifteen pages proving to us that the first Hulk doesn't care, and then when Rhodes throws a little mist in his eyes, he's suddenly a dog on a chain. The only reason to keep reading this series is to see how absurd it gets. This is like watching a train loaded with nuclear explosives careen off a bridge onto a freeway packed with bus loads of school children who are headed home after celebrating Earth Day by attending a peace rally. Seriously. It's that bad.
Bannen's Book of the Week:
American Vampire #3: Scott Snyder and Stephen King's vampire epic takes my top spot this week. This happens to be the second time I've lauded this book as a pick of the week, but if you read it, you'll see why. We're moving a little further into the story here, but the pacing hasn't faltered -- for either Snyder or King. Rafael Albuquerque's illustrations of the vampires, especially Pearl and Skinner Sweet, are incredible. It's a new take on the vampire transformation, and I love it. And while the comic is VERY violent, it's not over-the-top violence (::coughMarkMillarcough::). It fits well with the story, and only makes the read more enjoyable. With Snyder's story, we're reminded of the depth of the characters. There's a great exchange between Pearl and Henry, one that reminds us that while Pearl is a vampire, she's not heartless. And as for King's story, it's, well, classic King: a multi-layered, multi-character story that builds upon its plot to the point where an imminent climax means explosions, carnage, and death. I look forward to seeing it play out. King only signed on for five issues, so his arc runs out in two months. I can only hope Scott Snyder stays on to finish his story, and perhaps tell more because I look forward to this comic coming out every month. It's definitely worth the $3.99.