By Jarrod Jones. Rebirth is upon us. And 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 thirteenth week of Rebirth, we continue to soldier ahead with our 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 to provide you extra incentive to pick up all these new books, we’ve included galleries of preview images from each issue alongside its respective review. We’ve embraced change! Let’s see if DC has too.

WEEK 13

cybreb_cv1_dsCyborg: Rebirth #1

Written by John Semper, Jr.

Art by Paul Pelletier, Sandra Hope and Tony Kordos.

Colors by Guy Major. 

Letters by Rob Leigh.

JJ: That’s what we’re calling the first arc of post-Rebirth Cyborg? “The Imitation of Life?” We’re really doing this, aren’t we?

I find it incredibly hard to believe that Cyborg group editor Brian Cunningham, assistant editor Amedeo Turturro, and editor Harvey Richards could overlook the problem some people might have with DC using an otherwise innocuous title like that for their new Vic Stone storyarc.

I mean, I know that the new DC offices are supposed to be some kind of Burbankian Xanadu, but you’d think that in between taking in their hot, sake-soaked towels and lunch hour deep-tissue massages that somebody would have noticed that David F. Walker, the former writer of Cyborg, just wrapped up a new Shaft miniseries not too long ago called — yup“Imitation of Life.” Somehow that evaded everybody’s notice? Just another day in the offices, right, lads?

One possibility is that maybe they’re just trying to stick it to David Walker. It wasn’t so long ago that Cyborg found itself bereft of its marquee writer, and the reasons behind Walker’s departure are still fodder for hushed industry gossip. (All Walker will say on the subject is, “Just time to move on.”) Either way, that little poke in the ribs could definitely irk some fans of Walker’s work, no matter how well-suited the title may be to the comic at hand.

So, in the interests of objectivity, we must soldier on for the purposes of this review. But damn if it isn’t going to be awkward — like having dinner with your significant other’s parents for the first time, and kicking it off with a toast to how great their precious progeny is in the sack. It’s gonna be weird for the duration. Maybe some whiskey in this coffee. *slurp*

It’s telling that Walker’s approach to Cyborg was to “find the man inside the machine,” while Cyborg: Rebirth was advertised with the tagline, “What if you were a machine that only thought it was a man?” For some, it’s messy work to make a superhero a tangible human being, especially when it’s so much easier to cram a script in your editor’s inbox just before the bars open when all you have to do is write “SKREE, ker-BOOOOSH.” Fortunately, Cyborg‘s newest writer, John Semper, Jr., is more than up to the task.

If Walker’s intention was to get to the root of Vic Stone’s long-overlooked id, Semper’s ambition is to make us better understand the Stone family as a whole. With Cyborg: Rebirth #1, Semper peels back the lid over Justice League #1-6 (otherwise known as Vic Stone’s post-Flashpoint origin story) to find that Vic’s story is as fresh as ever. He applies warmth to the issue without an ounce of schmaltz, and he places flashbacks throughout the story’s more rote fisticuffs with expert precision.

Semper’s work on animation (he wrote episodes for Static ShockDuck Tales, and 1994’s Spider-Man) gives his story great visual heft, delivered with maximum impact by Paul Pelletier’s fluid, well-rounded pencils. This is classic, pulpy comics at its most superheroic; I hope Pelletier finds the time to hop on art chores for Cyborg more often — he works with Semper so well. While I continue to bemoan the absence of David Walker on Cyborg, I have a feeling I’ll be enjoying Vic Stone’s newest adventures just fine.

8.5 out of 10

SG Cv1_dsSupergirl #1

Written by Steve Orlando.

Art by Brian Ching.

Colors by Michael Atiyeh.

Letters by Steve Wands.

JJ: The product of this creative team’s efforts is one of beauty. The juggling act that Orlando & Ching have to accomplish with Supergirl is a considerable one, especially now that Kara’s about to pop up on the CW in a few weeks, but these guys acquit themselves magnificently. If I had doubts about Supergirl before, let this debut issue knock them in the ground where they belong. Supergirl is but another example of how promising Rebirth can be, especially when all the stars align.

(This review was originally published in this week’s episode of CASUAL WEDNESDAYS. — Ed.)

9 out of 10

‘Rebirth’, reviewed elsewhere — 

REBIRTH IN REVIEW: ‘BLUE BEETLE’ & ‘HELLBLAZER’ Get Another Crack At Life 

Agree? Disagree? Are you reading ‘Rebirth’? Tell us all about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.

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