The DC Universe Rebirth pseudo-relaunch is now underway. It started last week with the overall strong (but not without faults) DC Universe Rebirth #1, and this week things heat up with the first four of the individual rebirth titles. My understanding is that these are meant as gateway issues to get people excited for the new titles, as well as to provide a quick-and-dirty update on where everyone is at right now. These four titles hit that mark pretty well, although some are more confusing than others. I picked up all four titles this week and thought I would share some basic thoughts on them with you. Please note these are not reviews so much as general impressions. Also, I tend to only review things I like so normally my reviews are on the positive side, however since I am planning on reading at least the first issue of all of the Rebirth comics I will inevitably not like everything and be a bit more negative than I normally am.
This was probably the best of the bunch, although not much really happens storywise. It sets up where Batman and Bruce Wayne are at right now (basically moving back to the usual status quo), as well as laying the groundwork for his new not-Robin sidekick, Lark. The few qualms I have about this issue focus around Bruce doing pull-ups on the edge of an open-air helipad on the top of Wayne Enterprises, which I imagine was pitched simply for the “awesome” value of it, and the design for Lark’s costume. It’s not like the Robin costumes have ever been the height of subtlety, but I feel like the only thing missing from Lark’s bright yellow getup is the giant bullseye to represent the bait he obviously is. The idea of Batman, King of Stealth, wandering around with a brightly colored sidekick has always been a bit of an odd disconnect, but this is a whole new level on top of that. Still, I’m excited to see someone other than Damien playing the sidekick role for a while. As a teaser for stories to come this works exceptionally well, and makes me excited to try out the various Bat-books of the relaunch.
Pickup Batman Rebirth #1 at Amazon or your local comic shop.
You can see the thoughts on Batman #1 here.
There’s a story tacked on here about sewer-dwellers capturing and auctioning off homeless people, but really this is an entire issue meant to bring Green Arrow and Black Canary together again, for the first time. Their lack of any relationship at all in the New 52 was a sore point for many Green Arrow fans, and this is a blatant attempt to appease them (and long overdue in that regard). Personally I started reading DC comics long after Green Arrow and Black Canary split up (when she walked in on him kissing another woman, no less), so my attachment to their relationship is minimal. Given that it sounds like it was a fairly toxic relationship even before that (mostly on Arrow’s side) I tend to look on the cries to bring them back together with a certain degree of bewilderment. Still, those incidents of cheating and lying are no longer in continuity so they can’t really be held against Arrow at this point, and I’m willing to see where they are going with this. Not good, not bad, but long time Green Arrow/Black Canary fans should be happy, at least.
Pickup Green Arrow Rebirth #1 at Amazon or your local comic shop.
You can see the thoughts on Green Arrow #1 here.
The saga of the Green Lanterns is one that I have tried repeatedly to get into, and almost always been blocked by the wall of impenetrable continuity. Here we have a good opportunity to wipe the board clean, to a degree, and start fresh. And, surprisingly, they do appear to actually be doing that this time around. The Lanterns you may know (Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart and Kyle Rayner) aren’t the ones featured in this book — though the narrator does explain their history, and Jordan shows up as a mentor figure for part of the issue. Instead we get the two most recent Earthling additions to the Lantern Corps: Simon Baz from the beginning of the New 52 relaunch, and Jessica Cruz from the tail end of the New 52 (she officially became a Lantern in DC Universe Rebirth #1). This will, hopefully, give the creative team some freedom to tell some of their own stories without the baggage of the last decade of Lantern stories hanging over everything.
Unfortunately there’s still things going on in this issue that don’t make a whole lot of sense to me, and I am hoping some longer explanations are coming down the road. On the plus side, the banter between Jessica and Simon is great and I look forward to more of that. I think that this one works well for both fans who have been reading for the last few years, and also for fans like myself who are trying to jump in fresh. I am hoping they can maintain the momentum.
Pickup Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 at Amazon or your local comic shop.
You can see the thoughts on Green Lanterns #1 here.
This one is a bit more of a mixed bag, and the only one of the week that I found genuinely disappointing. For Super-fans who have been reading the book through the New 52 I suspect this will read as a good epilogue to the various series that just closed out, but as someone coming in fresh this issue made little sense at all. The basic idea is that the main Superman is dead, and that another Superman wearing a black costume thinks he can resurrect the main Superman the same way he was resurrected after the Doomsday fight. This is what left me confused, since I thought that the New 52 Superman also had been killed by Doomsday and then come back to life… except maybe he didn’t and it happened to this alternate reality Superman instead? It’s rather unclear, and I spent most of the issue wondering just who this black-suited Superman was as a result. For what should, in theory, be a book to bring in new readers this is unnecessarily confusing.
Again, if you’ve been reading Superman up until now it probably reads fine, but for a new reader it makes a poor entry point. This is especially true when you realize this Superman is not overtly slated to appear in any of the Superbooks in the Rebirth lineup. Action Comics will star Lex Luthor in power armor, Superman will feature the new Chinese Superman (and it would have been a great idea to use this issue to set him up somehow), and he obviously does not qualify for Superwoman or Supergirl. I expect he’ll be a supporting cast member of at least some of these books, but I feel it would have made a lot more sense to setup those characters in this book rather than him. So, as an epilogue for the New 52 Superman books I’m sure it works great, but as a lead-in to Rebirth I have to feel this is an out-and-out failure.
Pickup Superman Rebirth #1 at Amazon or your local comic shop.
And that about covers it. Next week we should see the launches of Aquaman, Flash, and Wonder Woman, as well as the first issues of Action Comics and Detective Comics, which should return to their original numbering (957 and 934, respectively).