Everything Keeps Happening: Graeme Catches Up On Brightest Day's First Half Year

So, now we're past the halfway point of BRIGHTEST DAY (#13 came out last week, and it's a 27 issue series, I think - That'll be the 26 announced issues, plus the #0 launch), and I feel like I'm less sure about what the series is actually about than I was three months ago. Okay, that's not exactly true; it's become clearer, over the last few issues, that the series is on some meta level, about rebuilding each of the leads as a viable character to be spun off after the series ends - Firestorm and Aquaman in particular, I think, have had scenes where a character almost says "So this is your new status quo, now," and Hawkman and the Martian Manhunter are both in the middle of storylines clearly designed to give them more urgency and, potentially, new arch-villains - but as fun as that is, it doesn't necessarily help Brightest Day feel any more coherent. With the recent change in pacing - characters now disappear for issues at a time, letting those remaining have more space for their stories to advance, something that I think is working out better than the initial "everyone is in every issue" approach - the series is starting to feel more and more like multiple different series pushed together without a throughline to connect them all.

Part of that, perhaps, is that the throughline - What, most likely, is the Brightest Day storyline when all is said and done - has been pushed out by all the other bells and whistles (J'Onn isn't the last green martian alive! Aquaman's wife was originally out to kill him and by the way, the new Aqualad is Black Manta's son! Firestorm has somehow vomited out Deathstorm, the hopefully sarcastically-named Black Lantern Firestorm, who's recreated all the Black Lanterns! Hawkman is, oh holy crap, I'm not even sure I understand anymore or care!). What I loved so much about the series' quarter-way mark, was that Geoff Johns and Pete Tomasi seemed to explain why the characters had come back to life and give the series a point... and then the following six issues have pretty much backed away from that, with the exception of the barely-there (and pretty wasted) Deadman arc that gets a couple of pages every couple of issues.

Don't get me wrong, I'm actually enjoying the series for the most part - Hawkman storyline aside, and Firestorm is beginning to lose me, too - but the further we get into the run, the more and more it feels like things are beginning to slip out of control in terms of the writing, and the more I begin to worry that the end of the series will either be rushed, completely unsatisfying, or less of an end than a "To Be Continued In All of These Awesome New Series." For now, though, Brightest Day gets an uneven Good.