Back on a replenished and rejuvinated Mars, J’onn J’onzz finds himself at odds with D’kay D’razz – another surviving Martian. Previously believing himself to be the last of his kind, J’onn is torn between the joy of finding another green Martian and the horror of finding out that she’s twisted and insane. Making matters worse is the fact that D’kay, like all Martians, is telepathic and can sense his inner turmoil. She understands that there is a small part of him that wants to share a life together and attempts to use these wishes against him and convince him to be the Martian Adam to her Eve and recreate a proverbial Garden of Eden on Mars.
Meanwhile, Deathstorm (the Black Lantern Firestorm) has returned in all his smartass glory and he’s brought his own Black Lantern Corps with him. As Jason Rusch’s father and Professor Martin Stein are trapped inside Deathstorm, Jason does his best to inspire Ronnie Raymond to live up to his potential. Also, Boston Brand and Dove start to put the pieces of the mystery of Earth’s new champion together and begin a search for heroes and villains with light-based powers.
Finally… the snowball is rolling and gaining in size and velocity. Brightest Day has been hit or miss since the beginning but with each successive issue, it falls more and more squarely in the “hit” range. This one continues the trend and for the first time ever, actually manages to make me care about Martian Manhunter. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve found him interesting in the past, mostly in the Justice League cartoon, but for the first time I actually care about the guy. By contrasting him with the evil Martian D’kay D’razz, I felt like I understood J’onn and saw the virtue that motivates him. That’s a pretty mean feat right there.
And D’kay’s story was an intersting one as well. Imprisoned in a telepathic dampening cell deep underground for her misdeeds, she survived the death of Mars and experienced a loneliness not unlike the one J’onn has felt for so long; only D’kay’s loneliness drove her completely insane. She’s nuts, she’s conniving and completely evil: a perfect contrast to Martian Manhunter’s heroism. Furthermore, she knows exactly how much her presence upsets J’onn and how torn he is and she uses it to her advantage. She’s creepy and evil and naturally, quite fascinating.
The only fault of this issue is the same fault that every issue has: it feels like it’s not quite balanced. We get a lot of J’onn J’onzz, a little bit of Firestorm and virtually no Boston Brand. Despite being the lynchpin that holds the entire series together, the one page he received in the book felt more like an afterthought. It isn’t that it doesn’t further the story; it does. I guess I just want more of it. Still, this odd imbalance doesn’t seem as pronounced as it has in previous issues and it certainly doesn’t hinder the story.
All-in-all, I’m happy with this issue and pleased to see Brightest Day continue its forward momentum as the story progresses. We’re what, halfway through the story right now? And at this point, I’m definitely in it for the long haul and can’t wait to see where the story goes from here.