silkcuts's Brightest Day #24 - Brightest Day review

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How much more of Alan Moore's work will Geoff Johns run with?

The mainstream and me are not the best of friends at times and Brightest Day (BD) was one of those books felt I could drop after issue #0 (which I admit I purchased for the ring... holds his head down in shame.. pauses... and continues).  I didn't care I was not following Geoff Johns monthly taking over mainstream comics.  I was reading his Blackest Night and GL stuff, but when BD started, I just took the opportunity to save money (with BD being Bi-monthly and so many cross-overs) I rather save the cash. And Johns won in the end... my John Constantine rule wins over my budget and if you are reading this review right now, then you likely are aware I am the self proclaimed (and still not disputed) biggest John Constantine fan on Comicvine, so my opinion on John's Return should be an interesting one.... will it be a fair one?  I'll try my best to keep it fair and honest I swear.

 The New Teen Titans #22
Right off the Bat, Swamp Thing couldn't sell at Vertigo anymore, so business-wise I can understand Mr. Midas Touch Geoff Johns having him over rather unknown to mainstream readers, writer China Miéville, who did plotted the first arc of series 5 for Vertigo. Any Swamp Thing fans know that the best thing to happen to Swamp Thing was Alan Moore reinventing him and preventing him from being canceled in the 80s.  This also was where Alan Moore created his greatest comic book creation in John Constantine.  John Constantine would serve as what I call "The messiah" archetype.  What I mean by the Messiah Archetype is that John Constantine was used as a mysterious savior, not pure like we see Jesus, but like many great ancient stories he serves as the character who comes to bring balance between heaven, hell and earth. Those classic DCU John appearances slowly died out with horrible perversions of writers who did not truly understand John Constantine and why is he so special. A great example is Vol. 2 Teen Titans, issue #22.
 This may just be the worst John Constantine appearance ever

 Hellblazer #1
DC Comics at one time were protective of John when they realized that he was the first character of his kind.  Later Constantine would create clones, such as Cal McDonald and William Gravel. To Protect John, DC limited his appearances, this only made the DCU John fade slowly out of Memory once the Vertigo John was born in 1988's Hellblazer (originally titled Hellraiser).  Torchbearer Jamie Delano can be credited by many as John Constantine's true father, because it was Delano who really fleshed out the character that many respected people (sorry for the name drops... but a great example of a John Constantine fan who never could get away from John is Warren Ellis who has created more Constantine Clones then any other writer) love today.  The DCU John slowly fade away since Vertigo John Constantine was aging in real-time (a gift most American Comics Characters never have, it is common for British Comic Characters such as Judge Dredd who has also been given that gift).  When it was obvious that John was to comic back to the DCU, the speculations of which version would appear was obvious that a "classic" look John would grace this comic, since explaining his age and scars would be messy, also American Comic fans enjoy their ageless characters, so the classic look had to be what would be "The Return".
 There is no such thing as a new story, just retelling of old archetypes
I will take a short break on Constantine, since it is really Swamp Thing that is important in this comic.  I don't know if Geoff Johns learned a thing or two of the Tarot, but I have a feeling he did because Swamp Thing in the Vertigo Tarot is card 21 of the Major Arcana, better known as "The World".  From what I picked up on this comic is that Johns lucked out on the occult or he learned a thing or two from Grant Morrison.  An example of the "feel" of Swamp Thing being the world is on the page 26-27 spread, where we actually see The Swamp Thing hugged by two panel (above and below/Heaven and Hell) of the planet earth.  I hate to admit it, but that is what comics is about, a juxtaposition of symbols (pictures) to words for a message that can only be told in this medium. If you want a write up of what "The World" means in Tarot you can click: Here.  Another point of interest, Swamp Thing looks more like his Lein Wein and Bernie Wrightson version, rather then the Alan Moore version.  Another interesting point is that issue is released in the spring, which this comic makes sure to enforce the "Eternal Spring... Has Arrived..." Is that a joke or a nod to real-life spring that has come into the readers life?
 The Vertigo Deck is highly recommended by me for those who really love Vertigo
With all the talk about the Tarot, I must mention that John Constantine plays "The Fool" in the Vertigo Tarot.  Numerically it is given the number Zero, just to give him a number, he has no real position in the deck, he can be seen as the first card that starts the Journey, or the last card that would be after The World.  Again.... I wonder if Johns is getting lucky, since if you read this issue, you know what pages John Constantine is on.  Then again that one could of been formulated, Death of the Endless after all made her DCU return in a similar way with a tease of a finish.  Either way, the limited use of John was appropriate, even if I don't like or approve of it.
 "Bollocks"?  Really?  Anyone could of written that.
The classic and forgotten John seems to be back and to be honest Johns (and Peter Tomasi) have not given me the feel of the character.  He doesn't seem mysterious enough to me (which could of been the quick appearance in the first place, John never officially showed up in Moore's Swamp Thing until The American Gothic arc.) and the word choices weened on the average readers lack of knowledge of Constantine in the first place.  As a John Constantine fan, $5 was a lot for this comic and it hurt a little buying it since I have to own comics with John in it, the price was too pricey with DC "drawing the line" (yeah right).  This John is not the real John in my opinion, he was a John that Alan Moore abandoned to Delano and Delano decided to do so much with.  As appropriate and well laid out the comic was, it is a step back of what John Constantine has become and that is why I don't approve of the use of John.  John Constantine is not just a symbolic savior when he appears in a comic, he is the flagship Vertigo character that taught me how to appreciate comics to be so much more then pictures and words in the first place.  John being in the DCU does not better the DCU, since those who want to branch out their understanding of the medium will discover other comics (Mine was Hellblazer), those who want to play itself stay safe.  John's Cameo is meaningless unless explained  and those who can explain it tend to agree it shouldn't of happened in the first place.

When I boil it down to the bitter truth of the comic, it was well written for what it was attempting, but what it was attempting was in the wrong spirit in the first place.  John Constantine is my "messiah" and he is the reason I see the medium the way I do, so you can thank him for opening my mind to those possibilities if you enjoyed any of my reviews.  I guess that is the problem with the DCU John, something is lacking, the spirit to push the medium is lost.  This comic will get a passing grade because is was written well as a comic, but I was not happy with the ticket price and the fact John is not exclusive to Vertigo anymore.

Cheers
 - Kevin "Silkcuts" Gorospe
33 Comments
Posted by danhimself

Didio said in an interview that there are now 2 Constantine's ...the one you read about every month in Hellblazer and this one in the DC Universe who's next appearance will be in Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing

 "There may be two John Constantines — one who is running around in Vertigo, who has gone through an important change in his own story arc recently with the marriage, and now you'll see a little bit different version of Constantine in the DCU," DiDio said. "He'll be a little bit younger, he'll be more in line with the character as he appeared when he was last in the DC Universe."

you can read the rest of the interview here

Posted by aztek_the_lost

top notch review

Moderator
Posted by SC

Excellent review! 

Moderator
Posted by Silkcuts
@danhimself:  ^_^
I am very aware of that article, you sent it to me in the blog.  Having two Johns is not the point.  The point is "The Classic John" is outdated and really shouldn't be used.  If someone who can prove they love John more then me argues else wise then I can take two John's seriously.  Anyone who is happy with two Johns running around really doesn't Know John the same as I do.  John Constantine is like a brother to be, Alan Moore birth us, but it was Vertigo who was our mother, not the DCU.

@aztek the lost said:
" top notch review "

Cheers mate, honestly hoping this one got featured.  Don't think I put my heart in anything more then this one.  If Elegy was my love-letter to what impact art can do in comics and Batman: The Return was my love-letter to the metaphysics of comics, this would be my Love Letter to Why I love comics in the first place.  Thanks for the recommendation and the compliment.

@SC said:
" Excellent review!  "

Thank you so much, means a lot.
Posted by The Lobster

Great review, you really show how much your love Constantine in this review and that's a great thing to show.

But there is one thing I have to say...

I'm not really keeping up on the DCU Constantine, I might pick up that Search For Swamp Thing story but I just don't have the money to buy every Constantine book on the market. Between Constantine, Deadpool, and Uncanny X-Force I'm spending about 20 - 30 bucks a months on comics. So I'm kind of half and half about having two Constantine.

Here's the thing, I love the Vertigo series. I make a point to pick it up every month it comes out. Peter Milligan is doing a fantastic job taking John in a new direction. However I am open to the idea of a different John being in the DCU as well. If I don't like the John in the DCU, then I won't read it. It's that simple. So I'm not really going to complain about it.

I try to look at the glass as half full in these kind of situations. Sure this is a big step back for John Constantine, but think of all the new directions writers could take this character. You're basically starting off with a clean slate, which could be a good thing, could be a bad thing. But it's not a bad idea entirely.

I know for sure that I'm not as big of a Constantine fan as you are, and maybe I don't get the character as much as you do. But I can safely say that I'm a fan of him (Maybe not the biggest but a fan to say the least) and that I'm just looking at the glass as half full in this situation. If it turns out to be crap, then it's crap. Nothing we can do about it. But if it turns out to be good, then it turns out to be good and we get two awesome Constantines to read.

Posted by Silkcuts
@The Lobster :  I like how you can see the glass 1/2 full, I also liked how you mentioned having two of them doesn't effect your spending habit.
Posted by The Lobster
@Silkcuts:  That's just the way I was bought up to think. Life's to short to worry about things.
Posted by SUPER-MAN 23

Excellent Review. Can't wait to see what happens with John in further series since he is in the DCU again, probably dealing with the supernatural.

Posted by KRYPTON

Good review Silkcuts, I have read some John Constantine, but that was when he was still under DCU. Some of his "current" events (here-and-there), but this looks awesome. 

Posted by danhimself
@Silkcuts:  yeah I posted it there and here just so everyone would get it
Posted by Silkcuts
@The Lobster said:
" @Silkcuts:  That's just the way I was bought up to think. Life's to short to worry about things. "
I honestly think a new clone would of served the same role.  There was no need to make multiple Johns in this fashion.  Hopefully it will bring in new fans and I hope the old ones stay.....

@SUPER-MAN 23 said:
" Excellent Review. Can't wait to see what happens with John in further series since he is in the DCU again, probably dealing with the supernatural. "

If they are 1/2 smart, since I don't think it was smart period to bring John back, then they should limit John's appearances like how he was mandated in the 80s and 90s.

@KRYPTON said:
" Good review Silkcuts, I have read some John Constantine, but that was when he was still under DCU. Some of his "current" events (here-and-there), but this looks awesome.  "

Cheers Mate.  Glad you are psyched to read more John.  If he is going to be in the DCU, I hope he attracts new fans and manages to keep the old ones. 
Posted by SUPER-MAN 23
@Silkcuts: Was Issue 0 worth the ring? I also have the white lantern ring.
Posted by Silkcuts
@SUPER-MAN 23 said:
" @Silkcuts: Was Issue 0 worth the ring? I also have the white lantern ring. "
funny you ask... I still haven't read it, then later on I purchased a pack at a con with all 9 rings for like $8, so really I over spent greatly on the first white ring.
Posted by BKole

I think Constantine belongs in Vertigo away from the influences of the DCU. He isn't a superhero, nor should he be. I always view John as a proper English Comic-Book characters. He's away from the pomp and preening of super-heroics, no costume, no code of conduct or whatever else limits Superheroes. He's a man trying to make sense of how badly he buggered up his life.


The fact he stands there and says "Bollocks" at the end of the Brightest Day comic is a cause for concern. So often when American's write English characters they insert all this extra mental words we don't use any more.  or go down the Phonetic route, which thank fully seems to have been phased out. So I imagine Johns Dialogue is going to be a lot like this with 'avin' lots of marry poppin's type talking in it, ya wanker.

Which makes me annoyed just thinking about it. Constantine needs to stay Vertigo and DC can have Willoughby Kipling.
Posted by Silkcuts
@BKole said:

" I think Constantine belongs in Vertigo away from the influences of the DCU. He isn't a superhero, nor should he be. I always view John as a proper English Comic-Book characters. He's away from the pomp and preening of super-heroics, no costume, no code of conduct or whatever else limits Superheroes. He's a man trying to make sense of how badly he buggered up his life.


The fact he stands there and says "Bollocks" at the end of the Brightest Day comic is a cause for concern. So often when American's write English characters they insert all this extra mental words we don't use any more.  or go down the Phonetic route, which thank fully seems to have been phased out. So I imagine Johns Dialogue is going to be a lot like this with 'avin' lots of marry poppin's type talking in it, ya wanker.

Which makes me annoyed just thinking about it. Constantine needs to stay Vertigo and DC can have Willoughby Kipling.
"
FINALLY I AM GLAD SOME ONE SAID WHAT WAS BETWEEN THE LINES!!!!  DC COMICS did not need John back a clone would do and Willoughby Kipling is a great example, since he was Morrison's version of John since he couldn't use John in the first place.  Instead of DC improving their universe they are looking to sell their characters and that is what doesn't sit right with me.  Your comment is another example of those who really know John, know he needs to stay at Vertigo, he out grew the DCU.
Posted by Dark Noldor

Dear @Silkcuts I´m trying to make amends here ok? LOL
I´ve always liked Constantine, but I haven´t followed this character
for a long time, I guess I´ve been reading Hellblazer for almost 3 or 4
years now, so I haven´t seen his early period in the crafty hands of
Alan Moore or in the regular DC Universe, but I´m really curious to see
how John will interact with DC super heroes and what part will he play
there: will he try to get Zatanna into his bed? Will he get in a brawl with
Lobo and Guy Gardner? Just making fun. Hey man, great review, very
good work, proving you´re the best!!
p.s: I just bought DC Universe: The stories of Alan Moore and can´t
wait to read it!
Peace

Posted by Silkcuts
@Dark Noldor:  Your too funny man.
The flaw with John being back however is that in the classic model, which he was when he was in the DCU, was best served as the silent hero who manipulates in the background.  Fleshing him out in the DCU will keep that version shallow... the mysteries like why Madame Xanadu doesn't like John should stay that way, it is better for the character and that is why it is sad DC doesn't see that John out grew the DCU withe his many many years of real life growth in Vertigo. The DCU is a step back for the character and they really should of just created a new clone.
Posted by harleyquinnhawkgirl

hey awesome review!
Posted by SUPER-MAN 23
@Silkcuts: I should've done the same. I could've saved greatly on issue 0.
Posted by CrimsonAvenger

Really nice review.

Posted by Amegashita

  Great review my friend.  It's as in depth as any review I've seen you write.  Your referencing of John Constatine in vertigo and now DCU really showed off your knowledge of the character.  ;o

Posted by Silkcuts
@harleyquinnhawkgirl said:
" hey awesome review! "
cheers mate, been a while, hope you are good

@CrimsonAvenger said:
" Really nice review. "

cheers mate
Posted by Silkcuts
@Amegashita said:
"   Great review my friend.  It's as in depth as any review I've seen you write.  Your referencing of John Constantine in vertigo and now DCU really showed off your knowledge of the character.  ;o "
My dear friend, its been too long.  Thanks for all the kind words and support from the last year.  Hopefully this review becomes my passport to attack at my will the poor uses of John Constantine.  I even noticed one person not recommending this review with no comment to why, meaning that the coward doesn't know John well enough to argue why he shouldn't of been back.  Swamp Thing is a different story... he is tied more closely to the DCU, John could of be replaced with a new clone to fit the archetype.
Posted by Amegashita
@Silkcuts:   Hey, there's a reason why your the undisputed "Biggest John Constantine" Fan on the entire ComicVine  website ;P.  John is more of a Vertigo centered character.  He's more important to the Vertigo Universe, than the DCU, (since you know how I feel about the DCU as of right now), Vertigo is more story based while DCU is more gimmick based in my eyes.  With The Didiot ruling things, I get the feeling that he's just playing for another gimmick.  
Posted by Silkcuts
@Amegashita said:
" @Silkcuts:   Hey, there's a reason why your the undisputed "Biggest John Constantine" Fan on the entire ComicVine  website ;P.  John is more of a Vertigo centered character.  He's more important to the Vertigo Universe, than the DCU, (since you know how I feel about the DCU as of right now), Vertigo is more story based while DCU is more gimmick based in my eyes.  With The Didiot ruling things, I get the feeling that he's just playing for another gimmick.   "
That is exactly the point, it was a gimmick because the Constantine character has a cult following bigger then Swamp Thing since Hellblazer survived for so long, while ST had 4 volumes, 2 after Vol. 2 in which John span out of.  Why hasn't Tim Hunter returned, he can't sell as well?  John was used because of all the merch on side they could sell.
Posted by ComicMan24

Very nice review. So that was really Constantine.

Posted by Silkcuts
@ComicMan24 said:
" Very nice review. So that was really Constantine. "
It was a version of Constantine.  "Really" I wouldn't use, since they way the character was written any clone could of been used.
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

Interesting write-up, mate. 
 
I didn't know about the Vertigo Tarot, which is very intriguing. 
 
To me, and again, I might be totally off-base with this; the magical aspects of Vertigo (Constantine, Swamp Thing, Sandman, etc...), they were always portrayed in a way that was almost dream-like. As though the reader was submerged in a surrealist haze of the unknown. That sort of psychedelic experience if missing from the DCU (which is a good thing since the DCU is the mainstream Universe), and even in that single page with John, that's evident. He's just sort of there. There's no sense of foreboding or ugly fantasy, he's just a guy in a trench coat. 
 
I don't know, I might be way off base, but that's how I see it at least.

Posted by Silkcuts
@FadeToBlackBolt: That is a neat view of the "dream like" universe of Vertigo.  I see where you are getting, but when all but Hellblazer got canceled, I think the Vertigo uni was seen as a dream....  Only having John age in real time, but even that is in question with his younger return to the DCU.
 
The Tarot Deck is interesting, it was the first deck I bought, didn't understand it at first.  But it grew on me.
Posted by The Devil Tiger

Great review. All that I have to say, was said earlier.
Posted by Silkcuts
@The Devil Tiger said:
Great review. All that I have to say, was said earlier.
Cheers mate
Posted by turoksonofstone

.......

Posted by Silkcuts
@turoksonofstone said:
.......
is that good?

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