By: Geoff Johns & Peter Tomasi (writers), Patrick Gleason, Ivan Reis, Ardian Syaf (artists)

The Story: Defiance: Boston Brand starts his search for the White Lantern’s new “Chosen One.” The Martian Manhunter makes a startling discovery about his own past. Hawkman gets a guided tour of Hawkworld and makes a decision. Hawkgirl tries to slap down with Hath-Set.

What’s Good: This book is chock-full of movement, if only because it is filled with so many moving threads. No thread goes very far, although Martian Manhunter and Hawkman sort of dominate this issue, so the feeling of movement is not the same as a feeling of momentum, but if this was a movie, I wouldn’t want to get up and go to the bathroom, because if you blink, you might miss a detail. And with Johns and Tomasi, laying out the details, bit by bit, is what they excel at. They’re building a mystery and every piece seems important. They create dramatic tension with the mystery of the resurrectees in issue #1, reveal the missions in issue #7, but haven’t gotten to the why yet, so the series drags us along, not like a speeding train, but like an inexorable tide. I loved the reveals related to Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter. They all surprised me and teased me for more.

Art chores were divvied up by sub-story again and I have to continue to point out that Ivan Reis is one brilliant artist who does textured, dynamic weirdness well. The lion men of Hawkworld, with bloodied fingers and mouths, stringy hair and wild eyes, really were a great addition to the cast and Hawkworld itself, from the forest floor is awe-inspiring. I do have a quiz question for my readers, because I am relatively new to Hawkworld: Is Hawkworld deliberately patterned on Flash Gordon’s Mongo, or am I making something out of unintended coincidences?

What’s Not So Good: The slow pace of story unraveling can sometimes get to a reader, and as I noted above, movement is not necessarily momentum, so I continue to wonder how long Johns and Tomasi can sustain interest with so many threads to fit into a 22-page monthly. Would the story and reader be better served by something more focused? If not, maybe DC should think about making each issue thicker, so that the reader doesn’t lose track of a major story thread (like Firestorm) with a 60- or 90-day absence from the pages.

And, my personal pet peeve, Hawk (of Hawk and Dove), continues to irritate. (Is this happening to anyone else?) This putz, with a special mission, after having been raised from the dead, after the DCU zombie apocalypse, says what? “I’m not back to help some other guy. I’m back to get a second chance at waging a war against crime.” Way to diminish yourself as a character, asshat! Why did this statement annoy me? Crime is defined by the laws. Once, it was illegal to help a runaway slave. Once (hopefully this is past tense), it was criminal for gays to have sex in the USA. There is no capital “C” Crime. Crime is what crooked politicians create to stay elected. Hawk should go back and reread those old Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams Green Lantern-Green Arrow classics. He’d learn a lot. Of course, I might be the only one who thinks that Hawk is an uninteresting character and thinks that we don’t need another poor copy of Dirty Harry/Wolverine/Punisher. That’s the end of my rant….

Conclusion: Movement, but not momentum. Some interesting reveals. Worth the cover price if you are collecting Brightest Day, but doesn’t register very high on the richter scale of comic book impact.

Grade: C+

-DS Arsenault

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