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Four issues to go and only a handful of the returned twelve are still sucking air. This issue throws the spotlight over to J’onn J’onnz and his Martian gal pal, D’kay and they fill it magnificently. Like most of the other confrontations that have occurred throughout “Brightest Day,” this fight between J’onn and D’kay is epic and final. Johns and Tomasi set J’onn upon a path that should forever alter the character.

In “Brightest Day” #7, J’onn was given his task from the White Lantern: “Burn it. Burn it down. Burn all of it.” Initially, J’onn thought the “it” was the Star City Forest, but as he discovered in the pages of “Green Arrow,” the forest was not his target. Speculation quickly turned to J’onn’s own home planet of Mars which was, apparently, set for a regenerative event that could see life restored to the planet. Of course, the life being restored all hinged upon the insane thoughts and actions of D’kay, who had set out to repopulate Mars with J’onn, whether J’onn wanted to or not. In doing so, Johns and Tomasi really let J’onn shine in a furious fashion that is atypical of the Manhunter from Mars.

I’ve praised the work of Pat Gleason a time or a thousand times, but it bears repeating: Gleason’s work is phenomenal. He is one of the most remarkable talents drawing comics today. His work on Martian Manhunter’s tale is at least as definitive to the character – if not more so – as that of Tom Mandrake’s. I cannot even begin to imagine anyone except Gleason attempting to draw D’kay. Gleason isn’t afraid to really let his creative energy take over the page when it comes to drawing the Martians and their homeworld.

Gleason’s joined in this issue by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, who handle the aspects of the story set on Earth. The duo manage to fill those parts of the story with hustle and bustle, as the heroes on Earth are beginning to experience growing uneasiness around them. With a jagged, uneasy panel setup across a spread, Reis puts Kid Flash in motion all across the Miami beachfront as all of the heroes attempt to help the civilians who were caught in the crossfire of Aquawar. The other heroes cluster together in a natural manner and take inventory of the recent goings-on.

The heroes are beginning to piece things together: Firestorm imploded upon the JLA satellite, Hawkman and Hawkgirl have apparently died, Aquaman disintegrates, the skies are darkening, volcanoes erupting, and earthquakes are rumbling. No, cats are sleeping with dogs, but this book is building towards something that may just be equally epic. Hawk figures it’s time to find Deadman before Deadman finds him, and Jade recommends finding the other surviving members of the returned twelve.

This issue wraps with another one of the twelve apparently done for, but given the happenings of this issue proper, I’d wager next week’s comic budget that the “final” bows we’ve seen to this point really aren’t that final. There are, after all, eight surviving returned characters and only a trio of issues left in this series. Johns and Tomasi are ready to really pick things up here in the final three installments, but in the meantime, this issue does a pretty good job of providing a summary.