Intended very much as a teaser, this issue covers all the returned heroes and villains, setting up their plots for the coming year, starting with Deadman, who is now returned to life, and possesses a white ring, which appears to be allowing him to channel the power of the white entity to bring things back to life. He’s also hearing a mysterious voice, which we can only assume is the entity itself, as he is teleported around by the ring, checking in on each of the returnees. Much like when Sinestro joined with the white entity, I get the impression that the white light is a power that tends to affect its wielder rather than something that can be controlled like the other lights in the spectrum.
The other characters visited looked interesting for the most part. I was surprised to see the Kyle/Jade/Soranik thing dealt with so quickly (although as I mentioned before, Jade is heading off to JLA, so this was probably the only real chance to address it). I still think Peter Tomasi is over playing the Kyle/Soranik romance a little though. I like that they’re together, and I think they go well together. I just don’t think we’ve really seen that they’re as close as everyone keeps telling us they are. Although that’s possibly an issue with the fact they’re both part of a large ensemble cast over in GLC, so their relationship doesn’t really have the breathing room that the likes of Kyle and Jade had. Hopefully its something Tony Bedard will address in his run. Kyle’s death gave Peter Tomasi a chance to explore their relationship a bit, but I still think there’s quite a bit of work to be done to really establish Soranik as Kyle’s big love.
Talking of Peter Tomasi, his writing was felt keenly here, with Miri being namechecked as having given Hawkwoman a piece of the Star Sapphire, and Hal and Guy visiting J’onn in his tomb on Mars (which had been established in the Final Crisis tie-in). These were little touches, but really helped add to the “one universe” feel of events.
For the other characters there’s some interesting things going on. Both Aquaman and Jade still show signs of Black Lantern infection, although Aquaman’s could possibly be more psychological. We see the plot thread from Blackest Night of the original Hawks being in the Star Sapphire battery being picked up, with a mysterious group having located their remains, which seems to affect their current incarnations. We also see Maxwell Lord’s mindwipe which we know will be played out in the new JLI fortnightly. It all looks suitably intriguing and I think its safe to say I’m onboard with this series for now.
The only story that didn’t really work for me was the Hawk and Dove one. I know Dove’s the avatar of peace, but still the fact Hawk killed her sister I’d have thought was worth mentioning. Granted, its a plot strand that could’ve ended up being too similar to the Ronnie/Jason Firestorm one, but it could also have been an opportunity to play out a similar story from two different angles. Regardless, the fact its completely ignored bothered me, something only made worse by the shot of Hawk and Dove kissing in the final page teaser. We know that both of these characters will be appearing in the new Birds of Prey series though, so I’m hopeful that Gail Simone will be able to use them in an interesting way, where hopefully it’ll be addressed. One thing that was name-checked was Dove’s connection to the white light, so I’m guessing that means that particular plot thread will be a part of Brightest Day.
Overall, this was a really strong start. Despite none of the returned characters being ones I’m particularly invested in, I was still suitably interested in what was going on, and I’m intrigued to see where some of the plot strands go. Johns and Tomasi remain two of my favourite writers in DC with their Green Lantern output, so the fact they’re writing this series was always going to make it a big draw to me, regardless of its prominent place in the DCU. It also looks interesting as it looks like they’re trying to combine 52 and Countdown, to provide a distinct story that also serves as the backbone to various events and books throughout the DCU. It’ll be interesting to see how that works out, but with two of the top writers working on it, I’ve got high hopes for this series.