We are now in week 2 of the full-scale Rebirth launch and we are beginning to see a bigger picture of what is in store for us. On the whole I thought this was a stronger week than last, but there are some weak points here, too. In addition to the titles with “Rebirth” in their name I also grabbed the first of the true relaunch titles: Action Comics and Detective Comics. While I will be getting all the Rebirth titles I will not be getting all of the regular titles, but this week at least both of the launches interested me so I will talk about them, too. So with five titles to talk about let us go ahead and get started.
Aquaman Rebirth #1
Writer: Dan Abnett
Pencillers: Scot Eaton, Oscar Jimenez
Inkers: Mark Morales, Oscar Jimenez
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Of the three Rebirth titles this week this is the one I was most excited about (mostly because I am a huge fan of Dan Abnett’s writing), and the one I was most disappointed with. With only a few small adjustments to account for some changes in the status quo this issue is largely a remix of the first issue of Aquaman from the New 52 relaunch, except that issue was better. The main problem here is that the New 52 issue spent a long time showing us why we shouldn’t write off Aquaman as a joke character, and this issue spent a long time telling us why we shouldn’t write him off as a joke character. It also certainly does not help that the rest of the New 52 series went out to prove that point, for the most part, and so rehashing it here seems a bit unnecessary.
That said, the Rebirth issues are meant as jump on points so for anyone jumping in blind this will be a perfectly good issue and it serves its purpose well, but it definitely stands in the shadow of what came before. So while I can recommend this to new readers, I would actually say that anyone who is interested in Aquaman would be better server to go check out the first collected volume of the New 52 issues as you will get the same story, only better.
Pickup Aquaman Rebirth #1 at Amazon.com or your local comic shop
Thoughts on Aquaman #1 are now available here.
Although the title on this reads “Flash”, this is really a companion to DC Universe Rebirth #1 (which featured the Flash prominently, so no surprises there). For the most part this takes place prior to the events of that launch issue, but the ending connects in directly to the first issue of the relaunch. This issue provides a brief history of recent events for the character, which is certainly helpful. These events do seem to line-up rather well with the events of the Flash television show, which makes me wonder how much of that is them deliberately connecting the show to the comics, and how much comes from actual Flash backstory (I am not familiar with Flash’s continuity for the most part). Either way, as a non-reader it all comes across well and is easy to get into.
I was also happy to see Batman cameo in this issue, and actually treat Barry with respect as a fellow scientist. Given that Batman has been portrayed in recent years as the lone wolf who needs help from no one, it is nice to see him explicitly working together with Flash to solve the mystery of the button that came through the portal back in DC Universe Rebirth #1. That level of mutual respect between the characters makes them both more interesting and enjoyable to read.
It all ends, of course, with the return of Wally West, who was absent in the New 52 (until being replaced by a new Wally West to line-up with the television show). I have not read many Wally West stories so I have no attachment to the character, but nonetheless this is a touching scene and one that I suspect a lot of detractors of the New 52 books will be excited to see. Long story short this issue makes a good jumping on point for people who have been enjoying the show, but who have not been following the books (like me). Give it a try if you are interested in making the leap from screen to page.
Pickup Flash Rebirth #1 at Amazon.com or your local comic shop.
Thoughts on Flash #1 are now available here.
Of all the major DC heroes Wonder Woman is the one who has probably had her origin tinkered with the most, and that is an issue that writer Greg Rucka has decided to tackle head on in this issue. One of the major plot points of the Rebirth launch so far has been this idea that some unseen entity has been tinkering with the fabric of the DC reality and making changes over time to the major characters. Wonder Woman is starting to become confused as to her own history as a result of this, and is becoming worried by it.
In terms of action there is not much happening in this issue as it serves to recap various points of contention between her multiple origin stories, while also spending some time redefining her character’s role. In this case we are seeing a return to the version of Wonder Woman who is supposed to embody truth and self-awareness, which is not too surprising when you figure that was how Rucka wrote her in his original run. Part of this truth is that Wonder Woman becomes aware that she has been lied to and that things are not right. As a setup for her new ongoing series it is a strong hook, and one I look forward to following up on. I was not fond of where they took the character in the new 52, but this is one of the books I am most looking forward to in coming months.
Pickup Wonder Woman Rebirth #1 at Amazon.com or your local comic shop.
Thoughts on Wonder Woman #1 are available here.
Despite my lukewarm response to Superman Rebirth #1 last week I decided to give Superman another shot this week in hopes of it making more sense. And while it is still not entirely perfect as an introduction to the character for people who have not been reading Superman the past few years, I think it works better than Rebirth did. For this issue we are introduced to Lex Luthor in power armor designed to mimic Superman’s powers (and, thankfully, is far more streamlined than previous versions of his armor), and people’s obvious skepticism at his attempts at doing good. One of those skeptics is the Superman we saw in Rebirth who is apparently from an alternate dimension (I am still unclear on his history), and he decides Metropolis needs a real Superman even if it means coming out of hiding. And, lastly, we have Clark Kent working for the Daily Planet, even though everyone knows he is Superman now, and that Superman is dead (and thus he is dead, too).
There is a lot going on in this issue, and I am only halfway keeping up with it for the most part. I think, like last week, someone who has actually been following along for longer than Rebirth will get more out of this, but I would think that with an expected influx of new readers DC would actually make the effort to explain what the heck is going on in the Superman universe right now. But then again, “DC” and “understandable continuity” are two phrases that don’t typically go together, which is why we get these relaunches so often.
It is an okay issue, but since it is not going to extend much of a welcoming arm to new readers I don’t feel particularly compelled to stick around and give it another go. I may try some of the other Super-titles, I am not sure, but this one is definitely off my radar.
Pickup Action Comics #957 at Amazon.com or your local comic shop.
This book is much more my speed relative to Action Comics #957, and I think that title could take a few hints from this one. We are introduced to a fairly large cast of Bat-characters this issue, but each one is given a brief description by Batman and a quick summary of recent events. So even if you do not know who Spoiler, Red Robin, Orphan, Batwoman or Clayface are you can at least get some basic information about each of them from the story alone. We aren’t looking at full on, detailed histories, but we also don’t need to. There is just enough to make the plot make sense.
There is also the overarching plot here which is that someone appears to be pretending to be Batman and terrorizing people using his mantle. This new team of Bat-buddies will, presumably, be key in taking out this impostor. Other than setup, though, there is not much of that happening in this issue. Instead we get a gathering of the team story with each of the members being pulled together to be trained by Batwoman (who is former military). Out of this group the most interested addition is Clayface, who is traditionally a villain. I am not sure precisely why DC editorial has decided to go this direction with the character, but there is certainly potential there.
This issue did its job of hooking me into the story well, and I am interested to see where they are going with this. It certainly does not hurt that it has some of my favorite bat-characters in it (Spoiler and Orphan/Batgirl), but even without that writer James Tynion has crafted an intriguing story so far. I will be continuing on with this book in the coming months.
Pickup Detective Comics #934 at Amazon.com or your local comic shop.
Thoughts on Detective Comics #935 are available here.
And that is it for the week. My favorite book this week was easily Detective Comics #934, but both Wonder Woman Rebirth and Flash Rebirth have me excited for their regular series to get running. Next week we will be checking out Titans Rebirth as well as Batman #1, Green Arrow #1, Green Lanterns #1 and (possibly) Superman #1. I’ll see you then!