ITEM! It's been a day, son. Been to California and back, but didn't see 'Pac.
ITEM! So, uh, Brightest Day? Really? Funny, that - just the day before I read that news I was absent-mindedly thinking to myself, "I guess that's what they're gonna call the sequel, but that's too obvious, it can't really be true." But I guess I can't afford to underestimate these people. So, is this going to be the story of Hal as a White Lantern? Is he going to go back in time and change the course of the Civil War?
ITEM! Honestly, I haven't minded Blackest Night so much - it's pretty much exactly what you could have predicted from the outset, and there's something to be said for a storyline that is very much about meeting its audience's expectations with an absolute clarity of purpose. Now that I've put some time between myself and the level of venom I expelled in my displeasure at Final Crisis, I think the major problem with that series was a fundamental question of expectations: a series called Final Crisis carried with it the expectation of being thematically, structurally and stylistically of a piece with all the previous Crises. it wasn't, and really, the manner in which it flouted the expectations of an audience (including myself) with a very clearly defined idea of what a sequel to the original Crisis on Infinite Earths should look still appears bafflingly combative in hindsight. (Not to single DC out here, Marvel did something similar a couple years back when they revived the Secret Wars brand for an event book that held no resemblance at all to the fondly-remembered original. [And yes, it gets a lot of flack, but the original Secret Wars is definitely fondly remembered by many current fans. ]) But Blackest Night reads exactly as you might have expected a story called Blackest Night to read: if you liked all the build-up in Green Lantern and its associated titles, if you liked the Sinestro Corps storyline, well, this is more of the same only moreso and with everyone else. It's stupid as fuck but damned if it doesn't provide exactly what is advertised on the tin. Makes you wonder if maybe they wouldn't have been better off having Johns write Final Crisis in the first place.
ITEM! Maybe it's a fairly silly qualm, but of all the revived Black Lantern zombies, I have to say the one I most thought would have the wherewithal to resist the ring's programming was Jonah Hex, for some odd reason. I know it probably wouldn't have fit in a one-off crossover book, but it would have been cool to have Hex say something like "I don't kill for free, and I don't wear no damn jewelry," before pulling the ring off his hand and crumbling back into stubborn dust.
ITEM! I've seen a few people express dissatisfaction with Siege so far, stating that for a story claiming to be the culmination of seven years' worth of Marvel stories, it's not really culminating anything so far. Serious question: was anyone expecting some kind of massively dense continuity-heavy saga with all the loose ends from Secret War, Avengers: Disassembled, House of M, Civil War, Secret Invasion and Dark Reign tied up in a neat bundle? All that's going to happen in this story is that in the next-to-last issue Cap, Thor and Iron Man will reunite, yell "Avengers Assemble!" and clobber Norman Osborn at the big finish, before Steve Rogers gives up his uniform for Bucky in order to accept Obama's invitation to be the new head of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Which will probably make Secret Warriors even more useless, but it's already a pretty useless book, I assume Bendis has a plan of some kind.) Then in a special epilogue issue, after Osborn is taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, he escapes, finds his last secret cache of Green Goblin gear, and can only be taken down by Spider-Man. See, I just saved you however many shekels.
ITEM! And boy, they sure miscalculated with the whole Hulk thing. Why do you think they're so pathologically insistent on keeping his family of books separate from the rest of the line? How cool would it be if Siege actually featured all of the founding members of the Avengers reuniting? As silly as it seems, the Hulk's absence from the Avengers is one of my little nerd pet-peeves. I'm actually quite fond of the Hulk and am enjoying the current Red Hulk / War of the Hulks storyline for what it's worth - but I can't help thinking it might not have been more effective for them to somehow fold the Hulk's story back into the big Avengers event, if only temporarily.