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 third week of Rebirth, we’re soldering 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 check out 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.
Written by Tom King.
Art by David Finch and Matt Banning.
Colors by Jordie Bellaire.
Letters by John Workman.
JJ: Enough has been said about Sheriff of Babylon that I don’t have to add to the din of praise here, do I? Because to belabor the greatness of that Vertigo series would take up precious space that should be spent talking about how pretty damn cool it is that Tom King finally has the keys to the Batmobile.
I say “finally,” because this development feels like a long time coming, even though King’s only been kicking around the DC offices for a little more than two years now. His work on Babylon and Grayson (and, surprisingly enough, The Vision) have swirled together to make the perfect alchemy for a post-Snyder Batman. First impressions (aside from the pitch-perfect Batman: Rebirth #1)? If King were to stick around for the next five years, I certainly wouldn’t cry about it.
David Finch, who is much more at home in the grit and shadows of Gotham City than he ever was in Themyscira, visibly has long-time Batman fans at heart with this debut issue. Finch’s panel work is so reverential to what came before that I almost want to use the word “Capulloesque,” and yet his output remains unique enough that you would never confuse it for anything but the work of David Finch. The artist definitely has the bonafides to keep the story charging along.
Setting my visible bias for King and my appreciation for Finch aside, I’m not 100% on the concept of Gotham and, erm, Gotham Girl (that’s not a spoiler, they’re on the ding-dang cover). The idea of two superheroes who may not be quite what they seem, literally flying in out of nowhere at the behest of no one, is definitely not a new one. (In fact, the last time I remember something like this going down was in Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman.) But King is writer enough to create the perfect climate for their arrival, in a thrilling airplane rescue sequence that you’re just going to have to read to truly appreciate. I’ll be keeping my eyes on Batman.
7.5 out of 10
Green Arrow #1
Written by Benjamin Percy.
Art and colors by Otto Schmidt.
Letters by Nate Piekos.
MJ: Green Arrow: Rebirth #1 surprised me the most of all the new DC debuts so far, and I’m glad to say this week’s subsequent #1 issue is just as enjoyable. (The numbering is confusing, yeah, we know.) From this fan’s perspective, the return of Liberal Loudmouth Ollie is a welcome one, and I can’t help but notice that his characterization, and Dinah’s too, runs very close to that of the JLU cartoon series—definitely not a bad thing. Any new reader who only knows the character from the Arrow CW series, or has no knowledge of these characters at all, won’t miss a step.
Otto Schmidt’s art and coloring in this issue is superb and energetic, underlined by his masterful storytelling. Dinah’s canary cry nearly leaps off the page thanks to the colors and effects Schmidt employs, and the expressivity of his faces within such clean lines and subtle shading is breathtaking. Though writer Benjamin Percy’s pacing is breakneck—perhaps a little too much so—the issue is fun and exciting throughout, and manages to handily introduce and establish two new characters, in addition to adding more nuance to both Dinah and Ollie and their possibly budding relationship. Green Arrow #1 is without a doubt one of the most promising new series in Rebirth.
8.5 out of 10
Green Lanterns #1
Written by Sam Humphries.
Art by Robson Rocha and Jay Leisten.
Colors by Blond.
Letters by Dave Sharp.
JJ: For being DC’s premiere sci-fi book, Green Lantern has been more Aliens than Star Trek for nearly as long as I’ve been reading comics. You would swear, if the last twenty-two or so years of GL were any indication, that the publisher considered violent, bloodthirsty alien threats more economically viable than thoughtfully-written, benevolent peace-keeping missions — suppose a cynic would consider that topical. I’m calling it wearisome.
And now, with Green Lanterns, the series’ horror elements appear to have doubled down with an HBO-level of shock and gore that would betray its T rating if I didn’t already fear that most teenagers were already intimately aware of worldwide atrocities and the numbness that comes with perceiving fictionalized violence. Green Lanterns‘ rage-fueled narrative saps it of any positivity that would have come with its marquee pluralism. As far as tone goes, it’s more Dawn of Justice than The Flash.
Sam Humphries has definitely taken the term “space cops” literally, placing Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz in a paradigm not too dissimilar from rote TV cop procedurals, where they feign trust for each other (Baz quietly insinuates that his trusty Desert Eagle will come into play if Jessica falls back on her Power Ring days), bicker about jurisdiction with a federal agency (this being DC, it’s A.R.G.U.S.), and discover an open mass grave because I suppose “Rebirth” only offers positive change in terms of race and gender representation. Green Lanterns is a tiresome relic of the New 52, operating under the guise of progress.
5.5 out of 10
Written by Peter J. Tomasi.
Art by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray.
Colors by John Kalisz.
Letters by Rob Leigh.
JJ: It’s almost too good to be true.
Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray and John Kalisz, the persons responsible for one of the greatest books in the New 52, are now responsible for the Man of Steel. Or, to put a finer point on it: the superstar team behind Batman and Robin — an often touching, always thrilling saga about one of DC’s premiere super-families — is now responsible for a book about the pre-Flashpoint Kent family. Pinch me, I’m dreaming.
Everything that worked about Batman and Robin — its grace, its emotions, its display of power — is everything that works about Superman. If Superman: Rebirth #1 dwelled in the history of DC’s two Supermen, Superman #1 forges ahead, big, brave, and bold. This is everything I never knew I wanted out of a Superman book, and after the last five years of half-starts and squandered opportunities, we now have an in-canon book about the Man of Steel that embraces true change in bright, vivid colors. If Rebirth is being led by anything, it’s Superman.
And isn’t that a novel concept.
10 out of 10
Titans: Rebirth #1
Written by Dan Abnett.
Art by Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund.
Colors by Andrew Dalhouse.
Letters by Carlos M. Mangual.
JJ: How do you follow up Geoff Johns’ DC Universe Rebirth? You do it quickly.
Quickly and painlessly. And that’s what Dan Abnett has done. He’s made the reintegration of Wally West a relatively painless thing by focusing on the basics of what made the Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans days so exhilarating, fresh, and exciting. Sure, Roy Harper’s posturing has roiled into something that skews dangerously close to male toxicity (I think we can thank Scott Lobdell for that one), and our heroes have aged into the decidedly boring ten-year pity chamber that is their twenties, but the fundamental point worth dwelling on here is Wally West is back and so are the Titans. That’s a cause for celebration, and when Brett Booth doesn’t have our heroes’ faces fixed in a permanent frowny-face, it definitely feels like one.
Getting the band back together either merits rich results or unmitigated disaster. Paradoxically, Abnett and Booth’s Titans: Rebirth #1 portends both without any of the negative connotations that would typically come with it. I’m very much looking forward to see what happens next, but if the creative team happens to be reading this, I have one suggestion: let these crazy kids smile every once in awhile, yeah?
7 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.