I picked up In Brightest Day as part of my on-going mission to assemble the whole of Geoff Johns' iconic run on the Green Lantern franchise. I didn't recognise the TPB when I saw it, but figured from the title it was some sort of complimentary selection of stories from around the Blackest Night/Brightest Day story arcs. It was a bit of a surprise, then, to open it up and find out that I was completely wrong. For starters, these stories wholly predated Blackest Night. In fact, they predated it by so much they also predated Geoff Johns, despite his name being on the cover.
Actually, In Brightest Day is a confusingly named anthology of Johns' favourite GL stories from before his soft reboot of the franchise. It was released in the run-up to the Blackest Night series, which probably accounts for the cross-over in titles with the subsequent story arc, largely to provide new readers with a quick way to fill in the backstory of the Green Lantern Corps so they could join in with, what was, one of DC's largest events.
To be honest, by the time I'd worked all of the above out, I had half a mind just to return the book. Luckily, I found myself wanting some more GL after my accidentally stalled start on the run with No Fear (see above). That was a lucky decision because In Brightest Day is actually fantastic. As an anthology, it collects some of the most iconic moments in GL history, from the introduction of Sinestro, to the expansion of the lore as other lanterns were created, to explanations on the nature of the Guardians, to bizarre short stories that help flesh out the surrounding universe and which give the GL corps the depth of mythology that I, and countless others, are so attracted to. Focusing on such a broad range of topics is incredibly clever and helps highlight that the Green Lantern franchise may have been built on Hal Jordan's shoulders but now encompasses a huge array of ideas and personalities. The inclusion of stories focusing on the likes of Mogo or the Guardians subtle meddling in planetary evolution are brilliantly placed. I'm aware Johns' has become something of a critical figure in the history of GL, but here he shows just how well he knows the source material.
Of course, it isn't all highs. Some stories are included because they had to be, but which haven't stood up to the tests of time that well. Others are included as fan favourites that didn't quite hit the mark with me, personally. Still, even where the writing is particularly poor, such as with the creation of Sinestro, it gives a good foundation of where the comics began and how they have developed since. Plus, when the highs work out they do so brilliantly. Several of the collected stories are brilliant, but ending with Alan Moore's mild retcon to explain Abin Sur's death is brilliant for several reasons. It neatly ties the story back around to Hal Jordan's first contact with a Green Lantern, whilst also being one of the most interesting and clever retcons I've ever seen. I love everything about Tygers, from the inventive world, to even the art (despite being a style I usually dislike) but the way it helps explain several discrepancies in issue #1 is brilliant. Frankly, I'd have paid the same price as I did for the whole TPB just to Tygers alone.