We’ve turned the halfway point of this series and now there are fewer issues ahead than what is behind. This issue takes both the future and the past and puts them in front of Boston Brand in the form of White Lantern ring induced imagery. Haunted in his new life by the White Lantern ring that has chosen him, Deadman is on a quest to find the new champion of Earth. Taking the Bat-signal as an omen, Deadman flies through the Gotham skyline, drawn by Ivan Reis, who depicts Boston with vivacious spring in his movements and acrobatic grace beyond compare. Reis’ Deadman action sequence harkens back to both Neal Adams’ glory days with the character and Frank Miller’s stunning first run with Daredevil.
The art throughout the issue is drawn by Reis as the story features Deadman and Batman, with Dove along for the adventure. Suffice it to say, the book is stunning from start to finish. I will gladly take an issue every so often that shuns the other returned characters in favor of delivering Ivan Reis artwork.
As the cover depicts, Batman — Bruce Wayne — also makes an appearance and does don the ring, but the results are not at all what anyone expects. Naturally, after all the hard work DC has put into bringing Bruce Wayne back, it is safe to reveal that he isn’t the White Lantern, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t forever altered over the course of this issue. The story by Tomasi and Johns puts Batman and Deadman together again, busting skulls and beating up bad guys. This time, however, it truly is Deadman doing the hitting, not some poor schlep whose body is possessed by Boston Brand. The events of the story allow Tomasi and Johns a chance to reflect backwards through Boston’s life. Deadman is nearly vilified in some points in his revisited history, but like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Boston swears to find a way to make a difference.
Out of this issue there are changes on the horizon, both for this title and for others flying the “Brightest Day” cover dress. I’m unclear as to how tightly those other storylines will weave back through this book, but for my money, “Brightest Day” delivers a solid story issue after issue and this one is no exception. There are sure to be a few readers living on Bat-hype right now who find themselves compelled to buy this issue. It serves as a nice (albeit shockingly brief) recap of events to this point while also making for a nice introduction to the “Brightest Day” concept as an event.