Written By: Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi
Artists: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert and Robert Hunter
Color: Aspen MLT's Peter Steigerwald
Letterer: Rob Clark Jr.
Cover: David Finch, Scott Williams & Steigerwald
Release Date: February 2nd, 2011
Wow! What an issue!
If you happen to be like me and sporadically follow Brightest Day, as the series seems just too decompressed for your taste, you can rest assure Brightest Day #19 is the issue for you! Now, if you happen to be a loyal follower, this will certainly be a most welcomed pay off. Actually, if you haven't followed the series at all, this would be a great jumping on point.
Before we get into the "Aquawar" (awesome!), Brightest Day #19 opens with Deadman confronting, of sorts, the White Lantern entity regarding the events that went down last issue with Hawkman and Hawkgirl. This leads to explanations, revelations, bitterness and resentment. I'm not saying too much, but we learn why the heroes were chosen and just what choice - if any - they do have. Johns and Tomasi, per the norm, don't give us direct answers, but at least they give us something to keep me coming back - and I'll be back next issue. Makes sense as Brightest Day nears its conclusion. Just who is who and what is what? Not saying more, but we do get Blackest Night references
From there, we are taken to Aquaman and Aqualad. The sea opens up and all hell breaks loose. When Jackson Hyde first appeared in BD #10, I wasn't onboard. However, seeming him fight side-by-side with Aquaman, he comes off as a fresh new character. Plus, I have been following Aqualad in Young Justice on the Cartoon Network which most likely helps, as that is a great show.
The cover of this issue actually means something, I am glad to say. I've noticed more than a few DC issues have particular characters (ahem..Green Lantern) on the cover that don't appear inside. Black Manta makes his presence known - and I mean KNOWN. I'm curious to see hard core Aquaman fans' reactions to what goes down. Could be the return of...something familiar. Let's just say Manta draws first blood.
Brightest Day #19 comes with another positive in that the art is probably the best I've seen (from what I've read, that is) from a Brightest Day issue. You can see from the preview, the splash page looks terrific. From the opening pages with Deadman, to the "Aquawar," to the final revealing page - this is quality. While at times, previous issues seemed to be more inconsistent as a particular artist would do a certain set of pages or panels, Brightest Day #19 comes off as more uniform. More Ivan Reis, perhaps? The colors are done well, too, coming off dark and foreboding when necessary, and bright and heroic just as well.
Tomasi, Johns and company really deliver with Brightest Day #19, plus they are "drawing the line at $2.99." Glad to say I'll be drawing with them.