"The Guardians feared the prophecy of the Blackest Night since the days they first began forging the green power of will. But now the Blackest Night is over. The future is unwritten. The Universe has endured its horrible night and entered a new day. The Brightest Day. My Day!"
Brightest Day is a DC Comics event, beginning in April 2010 and lasting until 2011. Following the events of the Crisis CrossoverBlackest Night, Brightest Day depicts the repercussions of the Black Lantern attack in the DC Universe, which has led to the resurrections of many previously killed off characters (collectively known as "The Twelve") and the dawning of a new age, referred to by many as "The Brightest Day" (in reference to the Green Lantern Corps oath).Unlike 52, Countdown to Final Crisis, or Trinity (all of which were big event storylines taking place between Crisis Crossovers that were published weekly), Brightest Day is divided up amongst many titles. Many, many titles. The core book itself is a 25 issue bi-weekly mini-series, as is the companion series Justice League: Generation Lost (with the 25th issues of both being extra-sized finales). Other titles also play a major role in the series, most notably the Green Lantern family of books. Also, several new books have been launched from the event, including a new Green Lantern title (Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors), relaunches for Green Arrow and Birds of Prey, and the return of Barry Allen to The Flash after over twenty years.Like with 52 and other event storylines, there are multiple plot threads, in this case all sharing the theme of having a fresh start and a new lease on life. Most focus on the Twelve and missions given to them by the White Entity.
Books and Storylines
Six of the Twelve are featured in the main series:
Aquaman is reunited with his wife, struggling with his new power to control dead ocean life even as Mera's people hunt the two down to kill them. He has been tasked with finding Black Manta's son before others do in order to reseal the Bermuda Triangle to prevent rebel Atlanteans from laying siege to the surface world.
Hawkman and Hawkgirl are on the trail of their archenemy Hath-Set, who has constructed a gateway from the corpses of the heroes' prior incarnations to a dimension called "Hawkworld". There, they meet Hawkgirl's evil Egyptian mother, who seek to use the two as bait to attract and merge with the Cosmic Entity of Love called "The Predator". They have to stop her from doing this, as well as find a way to nullify the resurrection curse placed upon them by Hath-Set.
Martian Manhunter has gone home to try and restore Mars, but returns to Earth to deal with a murderous Green Martian who is targeting people close to the hero. He has been ordered to burn down the new forest; initially thought to be the one in Star City (see Green Arrow below), but later clarified to be the one he's been tending on Mars.
Firestorm's two hosts, Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch, get stuck together, and it's not going well (for one thing, Jason hates Ronnie for killing his girlfriend as a Black Lantern). But there seems to be a third consciousness in the Firestorm Matrix... the taint of the Black Lantern ring has made it so that the Black Lantern Firestorm (now called Deathstorm) has become part of the Firestorm Matrix. Breaking free, Deathstorm merged with Jason's dad and Martin Stein and stole the White Lantern power battery; Jason and Ronnie must unite and work as a team in order to stop the Anti-Monitor from using the Lantern to increase his power.
And Deadman is now a White Lantern, charged with helping the Twelve in order to help the Entity to live. Or rather, find a replacement for the already-dying Entity and save the Parliament of Trees from a Black Lantern-possessed Swamp Thing.
The tie-in books follow the rest of the Twelve are as followed:
The Flash: Barry Allen, like the Twelve, has recently returned to life thanks to the schemes of the time-traveling Twelve member Professor Zoom. While he's still readjusting to normal life, Captain Boomerang (another of the Twelve) has to prove himself to the rest of the Rogues. Zoom already completed his mission in resurrecting Allen, while Captain Boomerang is to launch a deadly assault on the superheroine Dove. While starting off with the "fresh start" feeling that most of the tie-ins shared, many of these issues were devoted to laying groundwork for the next big event, Flashpoint.
Justice League of America: The newly resurrected Jade is offered a membership slot on the JLA, to replace Hal Jordan on the roster. Unfortunately, her return from the dead also brought back the Starheart, the source of power for herself and her father Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern. Now the Starheart has possessed Scott, turning him evil and leading to a team-up between the JLA and Justice Society of America to stop him. Jade was told to "balance the darkness" of her brother Obsidian in their fight against Scott.
Birds of Prey: The team is re-forming, with Hawk (one of the Twelve) and Dove (somehow connected to the White Light) as members. Like Flash, is a Red Skies Crossover, as Hawk and Dove's participation in the event occurs in the main Brightest Day book (where they assist Deadman) instead of in Birds. Hawk has been told to stop Captain Boomerang's attack on Dove.
Titans: Deathstroke has formed his own mercenary version of the Titans, having murdered the current Atom as their first assignment. One of his recruits is the resurrected Osiris, who has been tasked with the job of restoring Isis to normal (something Deathstroke claims to be able to help with, though in the end it turns out to be lies). As such, Osiris quits the team and goes about his own quest to "free" his sister via mass destruction against evil doers.
Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing: John Constantine has finally returned to reinteract with the wider DCU to inform them of the consequences of an actively protective Swamp Thing who punishes anyone who might "hurt the earth". But can anyone do anything about it?
Other books feature other new beginnings and/or fallout from Blackest Night:
The main book features most of "The New Guardians" (Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, Sinestro, Atrocitus, Larfleeze, Saint Walker, and Indigo-1) looking for their corps' emotional entities before the mystery villain can capture them all.
In Green Lantern Corps, John Stewart and Ganthet have joined Kyle Rayner as part of the Honor Guard. Their first mission involves dealing with the Cyborg-Superman, who has taken control of the Corps' Alpha Lanterns; followed by a Weaponer of Qward who has found a way to harness the power of the White Lantern.
New book Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors features Guy Gardner, as part of a deal with Ganthet and Red Lantern Corps leader Atrocitus, going out to explore the unknown regions of space in order to locate someone that's quietly manipulating the Corps.
War Of The Green Lanterns: Technically post-Brightest Day, but the conclusion of the event's storylines, "War of the Green Lanterns" sees Krona in control of all seven emotional entities, using Parallax to brainwash the entire Green Lantern Corps, and having the others possess the Guardians. Only a few (including the four Earth Lanterns and Ganthet) are able to resist, so they use rings of other-colored Lanterns to try and save the Corps. After many trials & tribulations, the war ends with John Stewart destroying Mogo, Sinestro being reinstated back into the Green Lantern Corps, and Hal Jordan exiled from the Corps because of his use of his ring to murder Krona.
Adventure Comics: Ray Palmer, after already starting to rebuild his life after his return in Final Crisis & role as an Indigo Lantern in Blackest Night, finds himself the target of a conspiracy which seeks to steal his shrinking technology and the white dwarf star matter which powers it. Along the way, he has to bring himself to face his father & uncle, who have found themselves targets in the process. Mainly a backup feature in Adventure Comics, the series had two book-end issues.
Action Comics: Lex Luthor had A Taste of Power during Blackest Night, and in true Orange Lantern fashion he wants more. He seeks to create a Black Lantern Ring for himself using the full resources of his recently regained LexCorps Empire. Not officially part of the Brightest Day branding, but tied so closely to Blackest Night that it's worth including.
This series provides examples of the following tropes:
Aborted Arc: Brightest Day was almost immediately followed by Flashpoint, which ended with the linewide New 52 reboot. The reboot followed up on some story hooks (the "War Of The Green Lanterns" fallout, Alec Holland as Swamp Thing) while abandoning others (Hawkgirl's disappearance, Firestorm's instability). Brightest Day also failed to do anything with Dove's supposed connection to the White Light.
Anachronic Order: (Or possibly just a mistake.) In issue 6, Oracle says it's been "a few months" since the Blackest Night. In issue 7, Deadman has his first food since he was brought back from the dead at the end of the Blackest Night, and it seems to have been no more than a couple days for him.
Batman Gambit: Pretty much everything Max Lord has done is part of some massive scheme to discredit the JLI, gain control over Checkmate, and prevent Magog from creating a similar future to that of Kingdom Come.
Whatever the White Light's masterplan is seems to be one as well. After all, it wants Captain Boomerang to attempt to kill Dove and Hawk to attempt to stop him. Which of them it wants to succeed, much less why, was an open question until the finale. Hawk was to stop Boomerang's attack and die in the process, freeing him from the forces controlling him and allowing Alec Holland to live again through his sacrifice. Unfortunately, he failed and Deadman died instead.
It's only until the last five issues of the series that we finally get its main plan explained to us: Star Forest is really the Parliment of Trees, the elemental forest from Alan Moore's legendary Swamp Thing run. Swamp Thing himself, who once thought it was Alec Holland, now thinks it's Nekron and wants the forest destroyed. Deadman, besides his main mission, empowers the White Lantern by embracing his life. Six others were revived to stop disasters and therefore buy time for the others, and five (the Hawks, Aquaman, Firestorm, and Martian Manhunter) were to purge Nekron's corruption by overcoming what held them back in life - and then giving that cleansed life back. In true Chessmaster fashion, it even freed Mera's people to get Aquaman to face them.
Lobo attacks Atrocitus, trying to get the bounty on his head. The White Lantern Battery orders Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, and Sinestro to help Atrocitus, so they do. After Lobo is driven off, the four of them vow to work together to find the missing emotional entities. Atrocitus hired Lobo to attack him in the first place and take a dive, in order to get the others to trust him. As payment, Lobo is given a Red Lantern Ring.
Beast Man: Hawkworld appears to be a place that's full of these, with human/cat hybrid creatures fighting a bloody war against human/bird hybrids.
Deadman/Hawk And Dove - The Dark Avatar, aka Comic Book/Swamp Thing, who was corrupted by Black Lantern energy. Whereas he was originally a plant who had Alec Holland's memories, the Black Lantern attack of the universe destroyed Holland's imprint, leaving Swamp Thing as a plant who thinks he's actually Nekron.
Bittersweet Ending: Brightest Day: The original Swamp Thing is dead and Alec Holland (the real Holland, not the plant who thought he was Holland) has become the new Swamp Thing. Shiera has disappeared following the final battle, leaving Hawkman completely alone. Ronnie & Jason learn that the Firestorm matrix was damaged by the Anti-Monitor and will detonate in 90 days. Deadman is dead once again and cannot pass on, leaving a tearful goodbye to Dove. Hawk's life has technically been returned to him, but his rage & warlike nature has prevented him from truly reclaiming his life as his own. Not to mention that Swamp Thing has become an active Gaia's Vengeance, with John Constantine realizing what the consequences of this being. But life and Earth have been saved, J'onn has found solace with his life, and Aquaman (complete with healed hand) has reconciled with Mera.
Much less so with Generation Lost: OMAC-Prime has been destroyed and Wonder Woman is still alive. Max undid his mind control over the world, but managed to escape and announce that he's rededicating Checkmate to policing the metahuman/superhero community. Captain Atom is presumably alive, but has been thrown out of current time & space to the unknown. Finally, the JLI has been cleared of their "crimes" and now been reinstated as an active superhero team.
Bloodier and Gorier: Cause of the Hype Backlash for the series, as the violence of the series has turned off many who felt the title meant that DC would be toning down the gore and violence following the gore and violence of Blackest Night.
Brainwashed and Crazy: During the "Dark Things" JLA/JSA crossover arc, ANYONE on Earth possessing magical/elemental powers - hero, villain, or neutral, and no matter how minutely latent their powers may be - is in danger of being possessed by the Starheart's chaos. This naturally generates massive Paranoia Fuel among the two teams working together to stop the madness.
Break the Cutie: Ice's meeting with Guy Gardner post-mindwipe by Max Lord; to keep the JLI from recruiting their Green Lantern friend, Max alters Guy's memories so that a fake post-Blackest Night meeting between the two happened, where Ice tried to kill Guy Gardner for no good reason. Given that this came after the two began dating again after Ice's resurrection, as well as Judd Winnick proclaiming that the point of the scene was to sink the Guy/Ice ship, it makes it a major moment of sadness.
And then Ice suddenly manifests "repressed memories" of belonging to a Romani tribe (of the stereotyped "mostly thieves and conmen" type) and killing her father and grandfather trying to escape. Her previously revealed family of magical ice people were supposedly her imagination, despite the fact that other people in the Justice League have met them existed, but were not her birth family. After about two issues of angst, Ice puts these developments on the back-burner, however, as she has other things to worry about.
Calling The Hero Out: After Deadman tries to get the White Ring to go to Batman, it does so... for the purpose of having White Lantern Batman chew Deadman out for half-assing the job trying to get it over with.
Came Back Wrong: Deadman being alive again in the first place. Subverted with Hawkgirl (resurrected in her 1940s body and not the body of her dead niece), as she and Hawkman don't care one way or another.
Several of the Twelve were brought back in a slightly altered state, often until their Entity-given missions were completed:
Aquaman's ability to communicate with and control sea creatures was altered, allowing him to control dead sea creatures instead.
Early on in Generation Lost, Maxwell Lord's mind control occasionally had the side-effect of turning his victims into Black Lantern corpses.
The Firestorm Matrix was recreated with Deathstorm's consciousness along for the ride.
The Martian Manhunter's touch caused plant life to die.
Black Lantern residue formed between Hawkman and Hawkgirl's lips when they tried to kiss.
Captain Boomerang can now create exploding zombie boomerangs out of thin air.
Separate from the Twelve, Isis was restored from being Taken for Granite, but the fact that Osiris murdered in doing so corrupted her and gave her an evil split personality. She got better, which leads to a Fridge Logic, since Isis was Taken for Granite in the first place because she turned evil and started to murder innocents.
Canon Immigrant: The new Aqualad, who was created for the Young Justice animated series, made his debut in the DC Universe in this series. Due to the length of the production time on the show, his first comic book appearance actually predated the airing of the pilot episode of the show.
Cross Through: For the most part, most of the books with the Brightest Day banner don't really have much to do with the main storyline(s), save for the involvement of one of the Twelve or other important characters. The books also usually have the theme of renewal/new beginnings to them (the Birds of Prey team officially reforming, Barry Allen readjusting to superheroing, etc) but are otherwise unrelated to anything else. The plots of Brightest Day & Generation Lost did effect the DCU, but didn't affect any of the related books per se.
Elemental Embodiment: The concluding chapters have the five heroes Deadman thought he killed emerge as personifications of the elements: Martian Manhunter is Earth, the Hawks are Air, and Firestorm and Aquaman should be obvious.
Empathic Weapon: Deadman's White Lantern Ring. Also, The Weaponer's shield laced with the white lantern energy net which, interestingly, was generated by Deadman's ring earlier.
Having somehow managed to sever the bond between them, Etrigan was one to Jason Blood.
Everything's Deader with Zombies: Eleven members of the Twelve weren't completely cured of their "undead" status; not until they each complete some mission for the White Light. (Zoom was exempt because he already completed his mission: bringing back Barry Allen.) As a side effect from this, Aquaman's "talk to fish" power was altered to command dead sea creatures.
About midway through, Deathstorm also created Black Lantern copies of the rest of the Twelve. They mostly serve to fill the background of scenes he's in, and only Deathstorm really does much in terms of plot-related stuff.
Foreshadowing: Almost all of the visions given by the Entity to the Twelve Resurrected count to some degree, but most especially Jade's, which reveals Eclipso as being the one responsible behind the Starheart's rampage, Maxwell Lord's, which depicts in grisly detail his murdering of Magog, and Captain Boomerang's, which shows him chasing down Dove in what looks to be the forest in Star City.
Fusion Dance: Firestorm being the usual case. Also adding Obsidian and Jade via Wonder Twin Powers for a mixture of a Composite and Two Beings, One Body (their form is a mix of both twins, which is odd to say the least, and both personalities are present and take turns talking, maybe) with Yin-Yang Bomb thrown in for good measure.
Deadman learning that The Entity, the Embodiment of all life, is dying after Nekron's attack.
Ophidian the Greed Entity breaking free of Larfleeze and possessing Hector Hammond.
Professor Stein told Jason and Ronnie that as Firestorm, they're basically a human Hadron collider and the most dangerous being in the entire universe. When they argue, they could explode and cause a Big Bang that would wipe out every thing in the universe except the two of them. And then Black Lantern Firestorm or "Deathstorm" came out of hiding knowing full well what Professor Stein just said.
Brightest Day #11, full stop. Deathstorm absorbsboth Professor Stein and Jason's father so that he can better screw with Ronnie and Jason and trigger a new big bang, as mentioned above. After leading Firestorm on a merry chase, Deathstorm arrives at the White Lantern and corrupts it with Black Lantern energy, allowing him to lift it. Before he can destroy it, a mysterious voice beckons for Deathstorm to bring it the battery, as well as an army. How does he go about doing this? By creating Black Lantern copiesof the rest of the 12.
Gets even worse when Deathstorm leads Firestorm back to the Anti-Monitor.
Good Is Not Nice: After Hawkman and Hawkgirl finally throw off their millenia-old curse, and settle into the idea that they might get to grow old and die together in this incarnation, the Entity kills them. It then explains to Deadman that in order to preserve life as a whole it has to take some of the returned lives back. Thankfully, it eventually re-returns those lives as elementals. And then, when all the elementals are returned to normal, Hawkgirl seems to have been excluded. As far as we know, at least.
Gotta Catch 'Em All: One of the subplots of the series concerns the search for the Emotion Entities. A mysterious being is hunting them down for some reason and has already captured Parallax and Ion. It's revealed Krona captured all seven and unleashed them on the Guardians.
Kick the Dog: Max Lord forcing two cops who tried to apprehend him to shoot each other in the face. With his mind control powers, he could have just as easily made them walk away and forget him. Then, upon erasing everyone's memories of them, goes the extra mile to ruin the reputations of the JLI members (save for Booster Gold, who is already sort of a black sheep in the eyes of everyone but Superman and Batman) and manipulating Captain Atom and Fire to nearly kill/horribly maim innocent people in order to escape when they find him.
The Lost Woods: The White Light-born forest in Star City. Turns out it's the new foundation for the Parliament of Trees.
Lotus-Eater Machine: In an effort to stop J'onn from destroying the Martian Forest and to get him to love her, D'kay uses her mental powers to make J'onn believe he used the White Light to resurrect Mars and everyone on it. Including his family. He spends what he thinks is about twenty years in this simulation with D'kay posing as J'onn's real wife until the simulation falls apart as his mental defenses finally kick in and make him realize his situation by "killing" his friends in the Justice League. When he breaks out of it, he's not happy at all...
Manipulative Bastard: Quite a few. First and foremost is Maxwell Lord; everything from his mind-wiping of the entire planet to reforming the JLI and duping them into chasing after him so as to make both them and Checkmate look like a complete joke, the man may as well be the Trope Codifier.
Also Zardor, who's been creating a massive psychic amplifier powered by a network of hostage telepaths to pinpoint new Green Lantern recruits and remotely brainwash them to serve his schemes.
Deathstroke is exploiting the horrors that have befallen his teammates, in terms of recently having loved ones savagely murdered, to recruit them for his murder squad. But in a subversion, when he takes Roy Harper onto his team, Roy and his evil ex-girlfriend Cheshire, pull a double-cross and cost Deathstroke his only remaining eye.
And then there’s Eclipso, who has been hinted at being the true culprit behind the mayhem caused by the Starheart during the JLA/JSA team-up. Only time will tell what the upcoming JLA story arc will show.
Oh, Crap: When Captain Atom takes the blast of the nuclear device Max left behind as a trap, his energies take him through the timestream until he falls in a simpler moment in time, where two kids find him. Their father, a settler, mistakes him for a member of a freak show and takes him in until he can move on. Then, night comes, and he peers out of the window... to see the moon completely shattered in the night sky. When asked what year it is, he learns it is the 24th century, and upon invoking the names of the superheroes he thought would have staved disaster off, everybody gets scared. Taken to a "Karrie" living on an atomic wasteland who might have some answers for him, he opens her tent to find she recognizes him, being Kara, the former Power Girl. Horribly irradiated, she points Max Lord as the inception of a horrific catastrophe, begging him to stop his plans as he returns to his time before it all goes to Hell.
When Boston Brand finally understands what The Entity wants from him, it proceeds to assigning "The Twelve" with assignments to truly reclaim their lives. Martian Manhunter's assignment is to burn down the forest in Star City on Mars.
Max Lord, in the middle of his plans in Generation Lost, realizing that Wonder Woman has somehow become a complete Unperson. Even to him. Literally, there is no record of Diana, nor can anyone else remember her. Except for, as it turns out, Booster, Captain Atom, Fire, and Ice. This seems to fit in with the apparent plans that Geoff Johns, J. Michael Straczynski, and Dan Jurgens has been setting up with a problem with time itself and how the "newly rebooted" Wonder Woman fits in with it all.
Redemption Equals Death: Magog, who manages to snap out of Maxwell Lord's control at the last second during his fight with Captain Atom. He is never given a chance to atone; Max Lord appears a moment later and murders him.
The Reveal: The Champion of Life is Alec Holland, aka the scientist whose mind was imprinted onto Swamp Thing.
Revenge Before Reason: Lex Luthor finally bonds with an entity of godlike power from the Phantom Zone, making him more powerful than Superman, and is able to create a state of universal bliss. However, he learns that the Phantom Zone entity will not allow Luthor to do anything malevolent to anyone. As Luthor cannot accept a world where he is god but cannot take revenge on Superman, he gives up the power.
Ripped from the Headlines: Deadman is brought into the presence of some Ruthless Modern Pirates; specifically Somali pirates like the ones that were in the news at the time, and laments that he is unable to help the people they have captured. Fairly standard "superheroes can't solve real-world problems" bit, right? Heh. WRONG! Aquaman shows up and feeds them to undead sharks. This is why we should all read comics.
And a few issues later, Aquaman goes to plug up an oil leak "off the Bermuda Triangle", again mirroring a major real-life news item. This is followed at the end of the event with Swamp Thing murdering the executives responsible for the leak.
Screw Destiny: Not as clearly intentional as normal, but J'onn ends up killing D'kay without burning down the Martian forest. Interestingly, this means the visions from the white light must not necessarily be correct.
Ship Sinking: Ice and Guy Gardner. The effect of Max Lord's mind-control being undone has yet to be seen, in regards to Ice and Guy.
Shoot the Dog: The White Ring kills the Hawks, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Firestorm - in order to turn them into elementals, as it turns out. It works, and all of them get better. Except for Hawkgirl.
We Will Meet Again: Black Manta's final words to Aquaman before being sealed in the Bermuda Triangle with Siren and her troops.
Wham Episode: In Green Lantern #60, it is revealed that Krona is the mysterious enemy who has been trying to steal the Entities. Yes, the same rogue Immortal who was inadvertantly responsible for the creation of the Multiverse, the birth of the Anti-Monitor, and the guy who tried to help Nekron out in its first attempt to force its way into existence by killing the Guardians of the Universe. And by the look of it, he's forced himself to evolve into the same type of being as the Guardians, with presumably the same type of powers they possess. Screwed doesn't even begin to describe how much everyone is right now.
And then, the entities (loyal to Krona from his years of taking care of them) possess the bodies of all of the remaining Guardians of the Universe, save for Parallax, who re-enters the Main Green Lantern Power Battery and takes control over 99% of the Green Lantern Corps.
Hector Hammond's fate after joining up with Krona and his subsequent bond with Ophidian. Last we see of him, he and Krona head off to parts unknown, and in subsequent issues, Krona and the Entities (including Ophidian, who has split with Hammond) arrive on Oa. Is he back in prison? Dead? Roaming free? Who knows.
Also, Sayd, who was sent off on an "errand" by Larfleeze (presumably in order to avoid having to drag her all over the place in the hunt for the Entities). She & Hammond didn't reappear until the New 52 reboot, well after Brightest Day'' ended.
Windmill Crusader: Galahad of the Star City Forest. It's been revealed that the death of his daughter tipped him and his obsession with Arthurian lore over the edge.
Women in Refrigerators: Averted with Miss Martian, who was teased as this but revealed to be only wounded. That didn't stop people from crying out after that cliffhanger.
Yank the Dog's Chain: What happens when Hawkman and Hawkgirl finally throw off their curse and get the chance to grow old and die together? First, the White Ring tells them that to live their lives more strongly, they must live them apart. Then, when they reject these words, it kills them. Then they get brought back as air elementals. Then they get resurrected... or rather, Hawkman does. Whether Hawkgirl is dead or has been resurrected elsewhere is left unknown. In short, the Hawks just can't catch a break.
You Can't Fight Fate: Guy received a prophecy thanks to the Red Lantern influence, showing an apocalyptic vision involing the Entities, Krona, a war between different GLC members, and even himself, trying to kill Hal Jordan. With everything going on in all the other books, all signs point to this prophecy being true.