Brightest Day #24 (Early June 2011) is the penultimate issue in the 24-chapter Brightest Day maxi series from DC Comics. This issue sees the reintroduction of Swamp Thing to the DC Universe after an 18-year hiatus in which he was exclusively a Vertigo Comics character.
The Entity, a creature of pure life and taking the form of a white lantern, has resurrected 12 heroes and villains, offering them a new chance at life if they agree to do what it commands. Its plan is to find a suitable host to live in, for it is slowly dying without one. After much to-ing and fro-ing, the light transformed three of the heroes into natural elements: Hawkman and Hawkgirl into air, Martian Manhunter into Earth and Aquaman into water.
It then led three of the remaining heroes - Deadman (now corporeal and no longer a ghost), Firestorm and Green Arrow - and the villain Captain Boomerang to a forest in Star City, before erecting a barrier over them all. At the same time, its opposite - a dark avatar of pure death - began controlling all plant-life outside the barrier, wreaking havoc across the world...
The entire Earth has turned on the human population; planes are falling from the London sky, explosions are going off under Rio de Janeiro and black plant tendrils are strangling Gotham City. The world's heroes are so busy saving lives that they don't notice a small pocket of the Earth remains unaffected: a bubble of light that surrounds a forest in Star City. Inside, Deadman, Green Arrow and Firestorm look out at a city being choked by black vines and plead with The Entity to let people in to safety, but it refuses. Instead, it teleports two more heroes, Hawk and Dove, into the protective barrier.
Outside, Captain Boomerang receives messages from The Entity telling him to enter the bubble. He leaps through and gets a vision of Dove with a command to throw his razor-sharp boomerang at her. At the same time, Deadman begins to get visions of what The Entity made him to: he turned Aquaman into water, Hawkman and Hawkgirl into air and the Martian Manhunter into earth.
At that moment, The Entity announces the coming of the Dark Avatar. The heroes - and Boomerang - look up in horror as the black plant tendrils in the city outside form a giant, decayed-looking version of Swamp Thing. The Entity announces that The Green - the spiritual dimension that represents all plant life - has become 'The Black'. The Dark Avatar begins to pound on the protective bubble. It forces its way through and into the forest, leaving carnage and bodies on the other side. Once more, Boomerang is commanded to throw his weapons at Dove.
In the forest, The Entity blasts Firestorm, causing him to set alight. As he falls to the ground, burning, water begins to rise from the ground, a cold air whips down from above and the soil itself begins to take human form. The water becomes Aquaman, the earth becomes the Martian Manhunter, the air takes the form of Hawkman and Hawkgirl and Firestorm rises as a literal man of fire.
Each of these heroes now has a direct connection to the elements they represent, and thus to the entire world. The Entity commands them to protect a tree at the heart of Star City, for it is the last remaining representation of The Green; the last plant life untouched by the decay of the Dark Avatar; and the next location for The Parliament of Trees. As the heroes leap into action to ward off the Dark Avatar, The Entity tells Deadman, Hawk and Dove that a body beneath the tree will be the key to their salvation. They look on in horror as a decayed, zombie-like creature crawls out of the earth. The Entity announces it to be the planet's saviour: Alec Holland.
Continued in Brightest Day issue 24.
- How both The Parliament of Trees and Alec Holland's body wound up in a park in Star City is unexplained. It could, however, be that this is the new status quo for both in the new DC Universe.
- The Martian Manhunter's connection with the earth - as in soil - may seem tenuous. However, it was set up (after a fashion) in a previous issue of Brightest Day in which the character is made to choose between his home planet of Mars and the Earth - and chooses Earth.
- The issue included a back-up story tied in with the then-upcoming video game Batman: Arkham City.