On a recent podcast Ryan asked me if I would be covering the entirety of DC Rebirth and reading all of the DC Universe going forward. Surprisingly, given my track record lately for such things, I said no. I have decided to read all the Rebirth specials and if anything tickles my fancy, perhaps continue reading those titles when they launch in short order with new #1’s.
One thing I won’t be doing though is committing to blog about every single issue the way that I did last year with DC’s Convergence and Marvel’s Secret Wars. That whole experience just burned me out beyond believe and is one of the reasons that 95% of what you read on GabbingGeek.com is the work of the excellent Mr. Tom Kelly. Until he gets burned out writing Simpsons reviews. 🙂
That said, I will put up the occasional review or commentary on some of these Rebirth issues when time permits. Let’s have a look at the three I have read so far. There will likely be some spoilers.
Batman Rebirth #1
A passing of the baton of sorts. Outgoing Batman scribe Scott Snyder co-writes with the man with the unenviable job of replacing him: Tom King. I know nothing about Mr. King, but the Googles tell me he is an ex-CIA agent, so you probably don’t want to mess with him. He is getting accolades for this work on The Vision for Marvel and The Omega Men for DC. There seem to be a lot of people very excited for what he will do with the Caped Crusader.
Not much happens here though. Against the backdrop of a Calendar Man story we see Bruce team-up with new Robin Duke Thomas. But Duke doesn’t want to be Batman’s Robin. Which is just fine, since Bruce wants to try something new.
Duke dons the new suit and begins training and helping Batman. We never learn what this “something new” means nor what Duke’s new codename will be.
Will I stick around? I have been reading the main Batman book pretty regularly since the Grant Morrison days, so I’m willing to give King a try. But there is nothing here that really grabs me. I’ll give it a chance because it is Batman.
Superman Rebirth #1
If you somehow managed to avoid it last week, I will spoil it here, New 52 Superman is dead. But fear not, Post-Crisis/Pre-Flashpoint Superman is here thanks to last years Convergence storyline. He’s been hiding out with that alternate universe’s Lois Lane and their son Jonathan.
While Batman Rebirth felt like a passing of the baton between writers, this feels like the passing of the baton between Supermen. One of the biggest pitfalls with the death of the New 52 Superman is that it is so easy to compare it to the 1992 death of the Superman that is replacing him. Obviously that Superman returned from the dead, so why would this Superman not do the same?
A good portion of this issue revolves around the retelling of the original Death Of Superman and the bare bones version of the Reign of the Supermen storylines from the early 90’s. A full third of the book deals with “new” Superman’s past as he relays it to Lana Lang. Who logically asks, “well, how did you come back? And can we do the same for my Clark?” The short answer is “no”. They spend the rest of the issue trying to recreate the circumstances that brought “new” Superman back but come to realize that they can’t. (For no other reason than the plot of Rebirth.)
As Lana buries New 52 Clark’s remains with his parents, PC/PF Clark makes the decision that the world needs a Superman.
Will I stick around? Maybe. I’m a bit intrigued by how they handle this transition from New 52 Supes to the Superman I grew up with. Unlike Batman, which mostly seems like status quo, Superman is getting a major shake up. While the book gets weighted down a bit in Superman’s history, it feels like what I would have envisioned a Rebirth book would be. And in fairness, for those that are not old like me and haven’t lived through the original Death of Superman, it was vital information.
Green Lanterns Rebirth #1
I’ve never been a big Green Lantern fan. I did read a fair bit when I got on a Hal Jordan kick and read what I could between his turning to Parallax to Green Lantern Rebirth to just before Blackest Night which I still haven’t read. But outside of that run, I haven’t followed the Lanterns much. I know nothing about Simon Baz and only know about Jessica Cruz because she was highlighted in recent issues of Justice League.
This issue doesn’t tell you much about either hero except for the fact that both are green (hehe) at being Green Lanterns. Hal Jordan shows up and makes them partners before he flies off to fight Sinestro in Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1. There are a lot of jokes/questions by all different characters about the fact that Earth now has six Green Lanterns. There’s Hal, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner and now Simon and Jessica. No one is exactly sure why. But I’m sure we’ll find out in upcoming issues.
Will I stick around? Probably not. I have no interest in these characters and the big revel that the Red Lanterns (who I know nothing about) are about to 80’s movie the hell out of Earth (that’s a Red Dawn joke) didn’t entice me. Die hard Lantern fans will probably be on board, but I don’t know how many casual readers this will draw.
UPDATE: the in-house DC ads for Rebirth confused me into thinking there were 8 specials today, but there was in fact only 4. As I’ve covered 3 already, I figured I might as well see what Green Arrow was up to…
Green Arrow Rebirth #1
One of the reasons I shouldn’t be writing all things Rebirth, and that I struggled at times with Convergence is that I’m not much of a DC guy. I’ve read my share over the years, but that has mostly been company wide events and a lot of Batman. I’ve never read extended runs of any other DC characters I don’t think. Including Mr. Oliver Queen.
So that puts me at a disadvantage here, but I get the gist of it as alluded to in DC Universe Rebirth #1. In eras past, Oliver and Black Canary Dinah Lance were an item. Often married. But in the New 52, it appears they do not even know each other. Having met only once before, and Oliver barely remembers it. This issue does what Rebirth does best, lay the ground work for a new relationship between them…to change things back as much as possible to pre-Flashpoint days.
Also returning…Oliver’s trademark goatee. For some reason the New 52 preferred their Green Arrow clean shaven. From what I can tell, he only recently grew a beard, and in this issue trims that back to his familiar look.
It’s a thin line the folks at DC are walking right now. Some would say attempting to have their cake and eat it too by keeping the New 52 continuity for the most part intact and trying to massage it to return it as much as possible to the pre-Flashpoint days. It works here, unless you are a fan of the New 52 Green Arrow that had left Black Canary’s and goatees behind.
Will I stick around? It’s a solid issue, and works from a Rebirth point of view, but Green Arrow as a character holds little interest to me, so I likely won’t be picking up #1. I think classic Green Arrow fans will be looking forward to a return to basics for Oliver and company. I’m not so sure how newer fans that only know the New 52 will feel.