Review: DC Universe: Rebirth #1

DC Universe Rebirth #1This is it, the moment that’s been building for months now, the beginning of the next evolution of the DC Universe. Written by Geoff Johns with art by Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Gary Frank, and Phil Jimenez, DC Universe: Rebirth #1 feels like a condensed walk through DC Comics’ history touching upon important moments that have gotten us to this moment.

Treating the New 52 in a way as much of a different world as Flashpoint, this 80 page comic runs us through the important things we need to know and the key characters that will set DC in a new direction. What Johns does very well is not just blend the old with the new, but even lays new ground within. It is revealed a legacy character is bisexual or gay (we don’t know for sure yet), we’re introduced to new characters, we witness the death of old characters, and we get the return of a classic character. It’s done in a way that only comic books can do with an almost over the top convoluted narrative that feels like it’s stretching things at times, but still somehow pulls it off.

But, what I think Johns does is bring back something that’s interesting and has been missing not just from DC, but from a lot of comics (their competitors included), fun and hope. Right in the text, the issue sets up a battle between light and dark, hope and despair, and the final page spread featuring DC’s titans there’s something present… a smile on their faces. From those small things, it looks like Johns is setting things upon a positive direction.

Leading up to this, I had worried that Johns would jettison some of the good that DCYou and the New 52 brought us. Instead, Johns looks to be blending it all together, new, old, and the future. There’s some hints and moments in this comic that even brings in characters one might not have expected into the fray, making some things recently released even more intriguing to go back over. I won’t spoil it, because finding out yourself is part of the fun.

The art in the issue is fascinating as it blends the eras of DC’s history well. With such a varied group of creators you might worry that things wouldn’t click and it’d all feel disjointed and choppy. But it works, and works quite well where we even see different styles on the same page. It isn’t all perfect, but it’s fun in many ways and there are some fantastic panels and pages where you can feel the energy crackling off of the page.

I went in with complete skepticism as to what we’d see, and after reading the issue I have hope. You can tell Johns has an understanding of all of DC’s history and has a plan to blend it all together so it works as one long narrative while we head in to what’s to come. This rests on his shoulders, and if this is any indication, I wouldn’t have it any way. I was worried that the new DC universe would pander to the vocal gate keeping fans. That doesn’t seem to be the case. While they may enjoy the issue more, as they’ll know more of the rich history, Johns catches up new readers with everything they need, all in one issue.

It looks like Rebirth is going to be more than just the rebirth of DC’s legacy, but also a rebirth of hope and fun in comics.

Story: Geoff Johns Art: Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Gary Frank, and Phil Jimenez
Story: 8.95 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.65 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review