Two comics, both published on the same day, both with reveal endings I don’t particularly want to reveal but it’s probably too late and I’d much rather you read the comics that contain them. So what can I say about the books?
Brightest Day #24. It’s been a big build up, to this final issue, set out to tackle the situations laid out in Blackest Night. And in doing so, it leave plenty of its own two.
And even those of us who saw Swamp Thing coming didn’t expect a big knock down giant fist fight between two Swamp Creatures. And then we get some very Justice League posing shots with Green Arrow, Aquaman and The Flash.
This is very much the Vertigo character subsumed into the demands of a DCU comic book, a complex and multilayered character instead being used as a giant strongman and being used to hit someone else. Preferably very hard.
This isn’t helped by the multiple creators on the book. Written by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi, it is drawn by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado,Patrick Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark, Norm Rapund, Vicente Cifuentes, Oclair Albert, Tom Nguyen, Mick Gray, Mark Erwin and Davin Beaty.
So while the fight scene is bland and uninspiring, other aspects in the book see Swamp Thing portrayed in much more inventive styles, with lots of negative space defining aspects that make up a recognisable figure (above, left). It’s an inventive style that delivers a rich lush feel to the book, not just with the vegetation but also a surprisingly tenderly portrayed scene with Hawk and Boston Brand that is simple, detailed and emotionally effective. And when compared to the Swamp Thing hitting scene, even more so.
Because that’s from the first half. The second half is all aftermath, repurcussions and consequences. It makes for a strange book to read, almost like From Dusk Till Dawn in the way it jumps from one tone to another.
Aside from that people who died now live, people who have lived now die, and, well, it seems a far more appropriate book for Easter than for Earth Day, despite the strong ecological bent to the book. Is it a sufficiently acceptable cap to the series? I don’t know, in the here and now, it’s perfectly acceptable, even if it goes a little wonky in places, it makes up other’s. It may not be everyone’s Brightest Day, but there are definitely sparks of flame in the dark.
Was that a spoiler? I hope not.
Because I have to be equally careful with the final issue of Locke & Key: Kingdom. The problem is that once you know there’s going to be a twist, you’re on the lookout for one and it’s actually more of a reveal two thirds of the way through the comic. Rather than a couple of last pages as in Brightest Day.
You might not want it spoiled though.
Certainly I can’t see a better way to refresh and revamp the dynamic among the team. And this change occurs by following the laws that have been laid down, the ritual of it all and by following them to the letter. The change is not a surprise, the book has seemed to have prepared the way. We will have a very different Locke & Key to come.
The art, as ever steps neatly between the worlds of Rick Geary and Kevin Maguire, a details and stylistic approach married with action layouts, strong facial acing and just enough glitz and glamour to emphasis certain points without shovelling it on a trowel.
And its a fast action comic, as plot lines collapse, leaving the characters free to attack each other. And even in failure, the creature wearing Zack’s body has his own plans. There’s a fantastic geography at work in this comic, houses, wells, and the distances between that become real through their constant, consistent depiction. And so you ride along with the protagonists, knowing the landscapes as they do. Even if in this case it’s a man with a boy and a sword doing the running.
Joe Hill has really building the mini-plots up, and this issue it all plays off with various motivations of separate characters crashing together like a five lane pile up. And it gets messy, fast. Some characters you will recognise, their consistency shining through, but some are just not their selves, quite , and some just don’t know what’s going on.
It’s a great end. But you’ll want more immediately, and there won’t be any, not for quite some time, and you’ll just have to stifle a sob. That’s far more likely to spoil your good feelings than saying that XXXX appears or that XXXXX is really XXXXXXXXX now…