By Molly Jane Kremer and Jarrod Jones. Rebirth is upon us. And while DC Universe: Rebirth #1 has left us asking more questions than we probably would have liked, we’re on board for the change that’s to come.
You know the score by now: brand-new debuts, all-new creative teams, and best of all? Competitive cover prices. At $2.99 a pop, DC Comics has all but rolled out the red carpet for every kind of reader there is: new, lapsed, or die-hard. So in the second week of Rebirth, we’ve decided to implement a new limited series — REBIRTH IN REVIEW — where we’ll evaluate the latest batch of debuts from the publisher to see what, precisely, is what.
Oh, and if you require extra incentive to check out what all these books are about, we’ve included galleries of preview images from each issue alongside its respective review. We’ve embraced change. Let’s see if DC has as well.
Action Comics # 957
Written by Dan Jurgens.
Art by Patrick Zircher.
Colors by Tomeu Morey.
Letters by Rob Leigh.
JJ: If you have a strong hankering for early-Nineties, Post-Crisis DC goodness, Action Comics is looking like it’s going to be your only stop. Why? Well, it features long-time Super-writer Dan Jurgens for one, and he’s brought a few characters from those days of yore with him.
Jurgens brings the classic Man of Smallville long-time readers knew and loved back into the forefront of the DCU, open-collared and armed with a rounded lower serif like it had never left. (His red trunks and boots, however, appear to have gone the way of the dodo.) He supplies for us an all-new villain of sorts: Lex Luthor, armed with Apokalyptian super-armor and looking very much like he just waltzed out of his well-regarded “Black Ring” storyarc from six years ago. (His semi-passive demeanor damn-near feels deliberate on that front.)
Patrick Zircher approaches Jurgens’ story beats with a colossal, wide-screen veneer that feels entirely appropriate for a book with the word ‘action’ in its title. His character work is evocative of Jason Fabok infused with a smattering of Joe Kubert, the latter of whom imbues Zircher’s sequence all the more once the fur begins to fly.
Titled “Path of Doom, Part I”, Action Comics #957 features a storied Superman made new. The new DCU could probably do with some of the home-spun earthly wisdom from the wizened Clark Kent and Lois Lane, even if it is laid on a bit too thickly this week. If the super-parents dial back their finger-wagging life lessons and Jurgens quits reaching into his dusty bag of tricks, Action‘s cannonball run towards issue #1,000 ought to be a fine one, indeed.
7.5 out of 10
The Flash: Rebirth #1
Written by Joshua Williamson.
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico.
Colors by Ivan Plascencia.
Letters by Steve Wands.
MJ: So far, Flash: Rebirth is the most relevant to the DC Universe: Rebirth one-shot. It expands the events unspooling from it and it tackles the daunting task of continuing its central conceit. (Which makes sense, considering how wonderfully Flash-heavy DCU: Rebirth was.) Its dependence on the eighty-pager for plot-points makes the issue slightly less viable as a singular jumping-on-point for brand new readers, but does an excellent job of pointing said reader back to where they can fill in the gaps.
Not much else seems to have changed in Barry’s continuity since his book hit the reset button, though added similarities to the CW television series (let’s be real with each other) will certainly benefit intrigued new readers, as the issue mostly introduces Flash-centric characters who also happen to be show regulars.
Though the exposition in the first couple pages gets a tad clunky, the dialogue and narration quickly becomes more natural and remains as such for the rest of the issue. Williamson obviously has a great love for and grasp of the character, and it shows throughout the issue. (Although personally, I’d like to see more than one female character with lines; and to literally see said character instead of hearing her two lines spoken from off-panel.) Carmine Di Giandomenico’s art is fluid and energetic, and Ivan Plascencia’s vibrant colors make the Speed Force lightning nearly crackle off the page. A definitively solid first issue, with impressive and intriguing possibilities.
8 out of 10
Aquaman: Rebirth #1
Written by Dan Abnett.
Art by Scot Eaton, Oscar Jimenez and Mark Morales.
Colors by Gabe Eltaeb.
Letters by Pat Brosseau.
JJ: If there is evidence of the haste that went into executing Rebirth by its well-publicized June release, let Dan Abnett’s Aquaman be it.
To consider the nigh-infinite depths into which countless writers and artists have thrown themselves in an attempt to give Arthur Curry social relevance — or, at the very least, make Aquaman seem cool to anyone besides the person writing Aquaman — ought to be the subject of an entire article of its own. This time around it’s Dan Abnett’s turn, and while it would be enough to say that Aquaman: Rebirth #1 reads an awful lot like a dozen other Aquaman retreads have in the past, there’s an added frustration in that Abnett’s book does nothing daring or even remotely compelling to the character with his big Rebirth debut.
Abnett’s ponderous captions set out to reorient the uninitiated to the character, addressing the one-note concept of a character only to then clumsily work around it. (“The Dry-Landers do seem obsessed with the idea that he talks to fish. This is untrue. He has a telepathic gift that allows him to compel marine life, but fish do not possess enough intelligence to conduct meaningful dialogue.“) It’s a snooze of a debut that damn-near negates its purpose almost immediately. I’d make a fresh water joke here, but after reading Aquaman: Rebirth #1 I just don’t have the energy.
4.5 out of 10
Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1
Written by Greg Rucka.
Art by Matthew Clark, Liam Sharp and Sean Parsons.
Colors by Jeremy Colwell and Laura Martin.
Letters by Jodi Wynne.
MJ: Ok, guys. We knew this was coming. Greg Rucka back on Wonder Woman writing chores, with the stellar art team of Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott tag-teaming on art duties? It’s a veritable dream for most fans of the character. And besides: have you read Rucka and Scott’s Black Magick?. It’s incredible.
Full disclosure — I loved Wonder Woman: Rebirth.
9.5 out of 10
Detective Comics #934
Written by James Tynion IV.
Art by Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira.
Colors by Adriano Lucas.
Letters by Marilyn Patrizio.
JJ: It’s the mightiest Rebirth premise this side of Peter J. Tomasi’s Superman: a covert army has infiltrated Gotham City and targeted her bravest vigilantes. So what does Gotham’s grim guardian do? He forms an army of his own. And then he puts Batwoman in charge.
James Tynion IV steps into the A-list with his debut issue of Detective Comics, an assured, funny, exciting, and ludicrously tantalizing opening salvo into a brave new world. This is the beginning of what promises to be a stellar run.
And Eddy Barrows’ art? Well. Paired with Eber Ferreira, Barrows’ pencils feel like Ethan Van Sciver in places, Phil Jimenez in others — and that’s code for “it looks gorgeous,” by the way. Adriano Lucas’ colors? You get the hell right out of here. Lucas’ reds pop like the Fourth of July, and his gradience makes me feel like I can melt into the shadows right alongside the Batman himself. Gotham City hasn’t looked this stunning in ages.
As for Detective Comics’ ensemble? Check the list: Kate Kane? Yes. Tim Drake? Yes. Stephanie Brown? Yes. Cassandra Cain? Yes. Basil Karlo? I guess? Clayface remains the books one question mark, one that Tynion himself says we’ll just have to keep reading to properly decipher. A mystery within a mystery inside a book called Detective. Oh, fine. Just take my money already.
9 out of 10
‘Rebirth’, reviewed elsewhere —
Agree? Disagree? Are you reading ‘Rebirth’? Tell us all about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.