By: Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi (writers), Ivan Reis, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark, Joe Prado (artists), Vicente Cifuentes and David Beaty (inkers), Peter Steigerwald with Beth Sotelo (color)

The Story: Homecoming. I’ve got the “Love, Love, Love” part of “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles after reading this story, because everything in it revolves around love and the Star Sapphire mythos. What’s up? Firestorm is going into one of the crappiest places in existence to rescue Stein and Jason’s dad. Boston Brand goes to visit his estranged grandfather. Carol Ferris takes a can of loving whoop-ass onto Hawkgirl’s mother.

What’s Good: The best issue of Brightest Day in memory! It’s a coherent and powerful story, and tied directly into the plot and DC’s growing lantern mythos. Johns has done some excellent work so far on Brightest Day in expanding the lantern mythos. This issue takes the field a few steps further with a deeper exploration of how love fits into his color spectrum. “Love is beautiful. Love is inspiring. But Love is also lethal.” Cool. On another love angle (and not surprisingly), Boston Brand and Dove have hooked up. It’s good. It’s emotionally satisfying and feels real. Even realer (no, that’s not a word…) is Boston Brand visiting his grandfather, his last living relative, who is now almost a hundred. Johns and Tomasi scripted this almost wordlessly to tremendous effect. Their later shenanigans were also a moment for emotional outpouring by the reader. Another love angle, you ask? Johns and Tomasi offer you the Entity of Love (Predator). Certainly not cliché. Who would have thought that the Entity of Love would look like something Ellen Ripley should be fighting and seeks out the absence of Love? And was the Predator badass and surprising or what? I don’t want to spoil anything, but reversal is hardly enough to describe the twist taken by the story, and the concept of love in the lantern mythos.

Artwise, the entire art team delivered first-class goods. The Predator was visualized very coolly, and Hawkman leaping into action was awesome. The bright color work around Firestorm in the dark carried a lot of visual impact, especially when he lit up to blow away… his surroundings… hehehe, no spoilers. And when he took off like a comet towards the…target? Definitely a panel worth some time to appreciate. The expressions in the story during Boston’s plotline really stole the show, however. Dove is loving and innocent and open. Boston is Han-Solo-Empire-Strikes-Back lost and dazed by everything. And the moments with Boston’s grandfather were A+ level stunning visual images that, even without any words, would have carried the emotional punch of the story.

What’s Not So Good: I didn’t buy the Carol Ferris moments, scriptwise or visually. Something about Carol felt off-key and out of place, as if Johns, Tomasi and the art platoon took enormous pains to deliver a powerful, emotional story with every character in the book, but left Carol in a mechanical role. Maybe I wouldn’t have noticed in one of the weaker Brightest Day offerings, but this was such an otherwise strong issue, that a weak performance by this one character stood out. That being said, she fulfilled her dramatic and plot roles fine.

Conclusion: I absolutely, positively and categorically command you to pick up Brightest Day #17. I loved it.

Grade: A

-DS Arsenault