Rebirth Review: Series Released Up To 7/13
Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few months, you can’t have missed DC‘s line-wide relaunch-of-sorts Rebirth. The brainchild of Geoff Johns, Rebirth is aiming to bring hope back into the DC universe, after the darker 2011 reboot known somewhat affectionately as The New 52 never really took off among readers. Essentially, Rebirth is serving as an apology for the last five years, while simultaneously returning the publisher’s comics to the status quo of the pre-New 52-reboot.
Ideal for the long time readers who missed the decades of continuity, perhaps less so for the readers that The New 52 attracted. There were concerns among many that by embracing the old DC ran the risk of driving newer readers away, and worse, scaring off those who they may have otherwise brought on board who have never picked up a DC comic.
Now that Rebirth has several issues under its belt, is it as easy for new readers to jump into as The New 52 was? I decided to take a look at the first issue (or two) of some of DC‘s flagship characters and find out because aside from Batman comics, the rest of DC‘s library of characters have been an untapped source of entertainment for me.
Until now, as I dive headlong into DC‘s Rebirth.
All comics will have a Friendly/Unfriendly rating based solely on the issues released in the newly ongoing series (and in some cases the Rebirth issue), but the comics won’t receive an overall grade out of ten. That said, the quality may be commented on if it directly hampers the ease with which new readers can delve in, but don’t expect anything like our weekly Mini Reviews.
So shall we get started on all the Rebirth comics I’ve read up until 7/13?
Action Comics #958 & #959
The series started out (or restarted, depending on your point of view) in ActionComics #957, but yours truly started with part two of the current story in Action Comics #958, but despite jumping on with the second part in an already ongoing story, this is still such an easy comic to pick up. Dan Jurgens has written a brilliant script that reveals bits and pieces of the relevant New 52 details as the story progresses, without ever feeling like there’s exposition just for the sake of exposition. And the Superman/SuperLex vs Doomsday fight? Oh man, that’s brutal. This is probably one of the best series post rebirth (although I have yet to read Wonder Woman and Detective Comics), and yes, it’s absolutely Friendly for new readers.
Aquaman #1 & #2
Having long been the butt of many a joke over the years, Aquaman finally had a fresh start in the New 52, and the series received critical acclaim.So how easy is it for people to jump onto the new Reborn series? Pretty easily, actually. There’s not a whole lot explained about the current world situation, but it shouldn’t take the reader long to pick up on the racial tension between the Atlanteans and the surface dwellers. The way in which the previous (relevant) events are explained doesn’t feel shoe horned into the comic, making this a very Friendly comic for new-to-Aquaman readers. It’s also very good.
Batman Rebirth #1
Ironically enough, there is no reason to read this comic. Unlike many of the other Rebirth specials, there’s no real recapping done here. What you get is a solid one-shot comic that, relies on you having some familiarity with previous series (specifically having an idea of just who Duke Thomas is), making this comic just a touch more Unfriendly than anything else. It’s still pretty good – you just don’t need to read it to enjoy Batman #1.
Batman #1 & #2
The first issue was a fantastic Batman story that introduced a couple new characters at the very end. The second issue was a little less fantastic, but still quite enjoyable. The beauty of Batman is that pretty much everybody knows his origin, so there’s really no need to retell that again (though I’m sure the temptation was great). As long as you’ve got the barest of familiarity with Batman, then you’ll be fine with this series; the only hang up you may have will be wondering just who Duke Thomas is (especially if you haven’t been reading We Are Robin), but you get more than enough to tell you he’s the newest Bat-apprentice, which is really just about all you need to know of him so far. Probably more Friendly than not.
Detective Comics #935 & #936
Another series that I started off on a part two because I missed the relaunch issue #934, but, unfortunately, this time reading from part two onward isn’t quite as accessible as Action Comics was. An interesting story, and well done, but without reading the first part you’re likely going to be a little lost, the downside, I suppose, to not adding the comic to your pull list right away. If you are able to track each of the entire three new issues down, then this likely would be a Friendly comic – even if you are unfamiliar with the characters featured, and just why they’re teaming up, but missing that first relaunched issue turned this into an Unfriendly series for me.
Flash #1 & #2
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this series seems to tie more directly into the events portrayed in the Rebirth special than any of the other comics, but that has more to do with Wally West returning in that issue, and the impact that’s had on Barry Allen. The series has, o far at least, had a pretty breakneck pace (which seems fitting), and has wasted no time in allowing the proverbial shit to hit the fan. Fans of the television show shouldn’t be too lost here, so long as you’re not expecting everything to be exactly the same, and entirely virgin Flash readers are almost given enough so that you’re not entirely lost. Friendly, but only just.
Green Arrow #1 & #2
If you’ve been watching Arrow and decided to give this series a shot because, you know, it’s a new 1, so why not, shouldn’t expect to see the television show in comic form. Once you get past that, however, you’re left with a series that’s had a pretty quick pace over the first two issues, but doesn’t throw too much at new readers all at once. The story has been easy to follow thus far based solely off the first two issues in the series (and excluding thee Green Arrow: Rebirth issue), although there have been moments that may have benefited from a bit of context and/or a minor recap page, but in all fairness that may have been covered in the Rebirth issue. Overall, this series has been far more Friendly that not
Green Lanterns #1 & #2
Having never read a Green Lantern comic before, this was always going to be interesting. Without reading the Rebirth special, I dove head first into the first two issues, and then realized how much fun I was having reading them. Focusing on two relatively new Green Lanterns, writer Sam Humphries is able to explain the mythos of the Green Lanterns from the newest Lantern’s perspective, which is an ideal way of cutting the fat and only giving readers what they need to get enough of a handle on the Corps. You don’t need to know how Hal Jordan became a Green Lantern, what happened and when, and so wisely Humphries doesn’t tell you. Green Lanterns works on the basis that you jut accept there is an inter galactic police force, and the two lead characters here are still new to the whole thing. This has been one of the most entertaining series I have read for the Rebirth Review, and is certainly a new reader Friendly comic.
Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1
As a recap issue, this comic does it’s job catching readers up on the more recent events in Hal Jordan’s life. But whether the same could have been achieved with some more condensed narration text in the first couple pages of the inevitable ongoing series of the same name that’ll debut in a week or so remains to be seen; suffice to say, though that while this is a very Friendly comic for new readers, it’ll offer nothing new for the who have been following the adventures of the former test pilot.
Justice League Rebirth #1
At some point in the recent past, a Superman died, but there’s still a Superman; I know this more from reading Superman and Action Comics than from any half decent explanation offered here. What we do end up with is a middling one shot comic that doesn’t really give you anything you wouldn’t already know from general pop culture, other than the Justice League (specifically Batman) doesn’t trust Superman. At the end of the day, this Unfriendly comic seems to cause more confusion than it tries to resolve.
New Super-Man #1
It’s a brand new series, with a cast of entirely new characters so if it was anything but a new reader Friendly comic then the series would have failed already. That said, based on the first issue, there’s no reason to worry about reading anything but this comic to catch yourself up, so snark aside, New Super-Man genuinely is ideal for new readers. Plus, it has been one of the most interesting comics that have come out of Rebirth, which is a bonus, making this an ideal series for new and old DC fans alike.
Nightwing Rebirth #1
If you didn’t read Grayson, this is the recap comic for you. Incredibly Friendly, but as with many of the Rebirth specials I’ve read I suspect it would be utterly pointless for existing readers to pick this comic up.
Superman #1 & #2
Apparently, a Superman died (the New 52 one, most likely), but that’s cool because there’s a new Superman flying around in a costume that feels so much better than the heavily lined look that the New 52 Superman wore. It feels much more like a natural evolution of the original costume. The new Superman also has a son, and is in some kind of hiding – yet to be explained in the first two issues, but it’s certainly possible this was covered in the Superman: Rebirth one shot, but there really hasn’t been any explanation in the first two issues – and it’s unlikely to come in the next few. The series itself, however, has been very enjoyable so far, but unless you have some idea as to why you’re following Clark Smith and not Clark Kent then you may be a little lost unless you just roll with the punches, making this comic straddle the line between Friendly and Unfriendly depending on how willing you are to pick up the series and accept that you’re not too clear on previous events; which is something that has a very old school comics feel about it.
Titans Rebirth #1
Without a doubt this has been the best Rebirth special that I have read. A quick, emotional story that sets the stage for the team’s future. Friendly for new readers, and well worth reading no matter how long you’ve been a fan of the Titans.
Wonder Woman Rebirth #1
It’s odd, this comic, yet very interesting. Trying to reconcile the multiple origins that Wonder Woman has had in the past, Greg Rucka uses the stolen memories shtick of Rebirth to great effect here. Although it can get a little confusing at times, I think that’s likely more intentional than not given the dual nature of the origins being dealt with here. A Friendly comic that sets up the future stories.
Wonder Woman #1 & #2
This series is taking an interesting approach to the twice-monthly publishing schedule by having two stories running concurrently, alternating between odd and even issues allows the series to feel more like two monthly titles than a bimonthly title, making this one of the easier comics to follow along with out of the numerous bimonthly titles DC have on the go right now. The two stories being told in alternating issues may not be in the long-term plan for the series, but it’s certainly a very effective way of not muddling one story down with multiple flash back sequences, making this series an incredibly Friendly one to new readers.