With the return of Bruce Wayne, Batman is seemingly everywhere these days. The pages of Brightest Day are no exception. But, if you’re thinking that Batman dons the White Lantern ring and uses it to power his pursuit of all things evil you are mistaken. Deadman also known as Boston Brand is the true centerpiece of this story. The inclusion of Batman in this book (aside from selling more Brightest Day books by glomming on to Bruce’s return) is to prove to Boston Brand how misguided his quest to distance himself from the White Ring is.
Confused as to what his role is in the Brightest Day saga, Deadman has been “dying” to rid himself of the White Ring and its cryptic riddles foretelling the future. When the Bat-signal appears over Gotham, Deadman sees it as a sign to deliver the ring to Batman as he tells his sidekick Dove, “Because Batman is the smartest person on the planet. There is no one else on Earth anyone would trust more with this kind of power.”
Deadman and Batman meet at the scene of a crime being carried out by Mr. Freeze. As Deadman vanquishes Freeze’s thugs he is in turn surprised by Mr. Freeze. Fortunately Batman arrives and quickly ices the arch villain. Deadman is shocked that Batman recognizes him in Brand's current mortal incarnation and asks him how.
Duh Deadman! You just called him the smartest man on the planet didn’t you?
The story continues as Deadman compels the ring onto Batman. This allows Batman to take on the role of Clarence from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and shows Boston Brand his wicked life. Brand realizes his misdeeds and screams for a second chance. Kapowee! Wish granted and the ring returns to Deadman.
I suppose anyone could have played the role of Clarence or the Ghost of Christmas Past here. But like I said earlier Batman is back and he is going to sell a lot of comics so why not an issue of Brightest Day. He does offer a compelling stint in this issue. He viciously disposes of Freeze which might be a sign of things to come. A less tolerant Batman, is that even possible? He looks awesome as a White Lantern however briefly and his extended cameo serves a mysterious purpose. As the issue closes (and Deadman plants a big smooch on Dove. See, it is good to be alive!) Batman makes a communication to an unseen recipient and says, “It’s Batman. We need to talk about Maxwell Lord.”
So Batman’s stint as a White Lantern has provided him some insight into the mystery of the White Lanterns which not only propels the narrative of Brightest Day but keeps Batman tied into the story. Two birds with one stone.
David Finch supplies the awesome cover to this Johns and Tomasi book and Ivan Reis and Joe Prado deliver a remarkable rendition of Batman inside the issue which is worth the price alone.
Brightest Day #14:
Reviewed by Darknightdave