It's no surprise that Rebirth has been a big success for DC Comics. The sales numbers are not all in yet, but everyone at the Five and Dime is talking about it and that is something that makes me pretty damn happy. As we all know, though, sales numbers don't really tell the whole story. Any #1 is going to sell and a reboot (soft as it was) #1 is going to sell even more. The real proof is in the pudding and that's what I'm here to talk about...pudding. I prefer chocolate and vanilla and detest butterscotch. What? You want to hear about the Rebirth books? What about the pudding?!?! Okay. you win. Here are my grades for all the DC Comics Rebirth books...
I will not be talking about the actual Rebirth Special here. I think we've talked about it way too much already, but if you want, you can check out our reviews here:
DC Universe Rebirth #1 Review - Spoiler Free
DC Universe Rebirth #1 Review and *SPOILERS*
We have to start with Batman, right? Batman was the biggest success of the New 52, but also was one of the reasons we have this whole Rebirth thing going on right now. After a Year of the Bat Bunny, I was looking forward to something new and exciting and when DC announced that Tom King would be writing the book with David Finch And Mikel Janin switching back and forth on art, I was pretty pumped. Unfortunately, after reading Batman Rebirth #1, I was a little less excited. It wasn't that it was bad, it just didn't seem fresh enough. Maybe having Scott Snyder co-write the issue was a mistake as it just seemed like we were heading into the New New 52...maybe I'll call it the New 52.5 (they play all of today's hits, right?)
Things did get better when we finally got Tom King all on his lonesome with Batman #1. It's funny to say that an issue with Batman urban surfing on a crashing 747 still wasn't moving ahead fast enough for me, but I think that King fully established how this "new" Batman works for readers just jumping on for Rebirth. I know that long time fans complained that the whole "Would my parents be proud?" seemed redundant after the very recent Batman #52, but we still did get Batman urban surfing on a crashing 747!!!
Listening to people of Twitter, our website and the Podcast, Batman seems to be the biggest disappointment for fans, but I think that's a product of high expectations and also how good the other books have been. So far, I think it is a good book that will just keep getting better and better under King and I will be there for the ride.
I don't think many people would argue that one of the most disappointing things of the New 52 was the Superman books. Looking back now, they were a collective mess of inconsistencies of continuity, storytelling and basic direction. It all came to a head with the Truth story that pretty much killed Superman for fans right before Peter Tomasi gave him a somewhat proper burial in the Last Days of Superman story. Speaking of which, Superman Rebirth #1 was a nice little epilogue to that story. Sure, it wasn't action packed, but it did give me the feels when Lana fulfilled her promise to Clark and set the hints of the New 52 maybe coming back from the dead eventually.
Then we got Superman #1 which I think is still the best Rebirth issue so far! It was all about Jon and while some questioned his methods, Tomasi showed that with great power comes...you know the rest. We got so much from this issue...the first real steps of Superboy, possibly his "Lana Lang", Clark's mistreatment of flannel and an ending that was both scary and exciting. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason seem to be making this the Superman and Superboy book and after their track record together, I couldn't really ask for more!
When it was announced that Greg Rucka was coming back to Wonder Woman for Rebirth, a huge roar was heard all throughout the intranets. While I loved Brian Azzarello's New 52 run, the book had lost it's way since then. Plus, I started hearing from people who hated what the New 52 did to Diana in general and were so excited to have a fresh jumping on point. Wonder Woman Rebirth #1 was just that and while some are still confused with what is going on, I love the idea that Diana is in search for something that has eluded her and her fans for so long...herself. If there is any character that needs a solid and definitive origin, it's Wonder Woman and while I don't think we'll ever get one, I love what Rucka is doing here. The Rebirth issue was just great meta storytelling and since Wonder Woman has become one of my favorite characters, I loved it.
The fun (and confusion) continued with Wonder Woman #1. As part of the Lies story, Rucka continued the story of Wonder Woman fighting through what may or may not be real on her quest for the truth. On the podcast, Eric and myself argued about what it all means and while he likes it less because he can't put his finger on it, that's what intrigues me the most. Of course, I am betting on something that may not happen, but my hope is that when Greg Rucka shows us what's behind the curtain, it will be a mind blowing event that makes what we're reading now even better. Until then, we still have Liam Sharp's art which is worth the $2.99 price of admission and more. (I also can't wait for the Wonder Woman Year One story!)
I was really looking forward to Green Lanterns for one reason...Simon Baz. I love Simon and even with him out and about throughout the New 52, he still seemed underused. Having Jessica Cruz join him as Earth's two Lanterns seemed odd, but I was intrigued to see how Sam Humphries would handle it. I liked the Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 issue and while some hated the bickering between Simon and Jessica, I didn't mind it. However, I wanted more background on Jessica and thought things were a bit rushed to get them "on the same team".
Green Lanterns #1 didn't leave me wanting more, however. Sam Humphries went the opposite way and gave the reader way to much! Emerald Sight, Hell Towers, a possibly rage virus causing problems for Jessica at Walmart and more. The issue seemed like a huge info dump and that is odd for a #1. Slow yourself down, Mr. Humphries!
Here we go. This has been the book that I've received the most flack for in all my Rebirth reviews and I'm sure that will continue here. Maybe it's because I expected so much from Joshua Williamson right off the bat, but while this book may feature the "Fastest Man Alive", it seems to be the one still stuck running in place. The Flash Rebirth #1 was recap and rehash from both the New 52 and the Rebirth Special and while I understand getting new readers up to speed, it was just too much for me as a New 52 fan. It was not a horrible issue, but it just didn't feel "new" enough.
The Flash #1 actually continued the recap vibe and threw in a couple other things that puzzled me...a little revisionist history and making most of the characters (including Barry) very unlikeable. Again, maybe this is all a bit of too high expectations from myself, but this book is my biggest disappointment of Rebirth so far.
Okay, this is one of those tale of two issues type of things. Dan Abnett used the Aquaman Rebirth #1 to establish the tone of his book, but unfortunately, it was no different than anything we got in the New 52 and even felt like he was just grasping at the old "Geoff Johns magic". If you were just jumping in, I'm sure that would be okay, but chowder?!? Chowder?!? It did end with Black Manta and we all know how badass Black Manta was, is and always shall be. All in all, though, this was tied for my least favorite Rebirth #1 issue with Flash.
Then Abnett hit us with Aquaman #1 and suddenly I'm on the Aquaman trolley. While it maintained the whole Atlantis vs the Surface World vibe that was getting old, Abnett made it a lot more personal for Aquaman and Mera and also gave us one of the best characters of all-time, Daily Planet reporter, Ray Delane! Brad Walker's art also kicked total ass and suddenly, I am an Aquaman fan again and it feels good!
When I was waiting for the first round of Rebirth #1's to arrive, I told a couple of people on Twitter that if I like Ben Percy's Green Arrow Rebirth #1 then all would be well in the world. It's no secret that Eric and myself did not like much from Percy's New 52 run and that's what makes his Rebirth book that much more of a pleasant surprise! It's been great and no, it's not because of the Black Canary shipping, but the return of the fun. The Green Arrow Rebirth #1 won me over with it's sense of humor, character interactions and the promise of a cool villain.
Green Arrow #1 continued all of that and added a very personal side to what's going wrong in Ollie's world. Instead of shipping (I do hate that word so much yet wrote it twice), Black Canary was here to show Oliver that his world is not as rosy as he believes and the awesome cliffhanger nailed that point right through my heart. Ben Percy has made a fan out of me and in a crazy turn of events, our site is now busy defending our love of Green Arrow. I like that better than the opposite.
This is the book I have the least to say about. I only have the Titans Rebirth #1 to go by and the most I can say about it is, it was nice. While I had a couple of issues with it, I liked seeing Wally reconnect with his old Teen Titans buddies with his touch too much Speed Force power. Do I know what this book will be about going forward? No. Am I excited to read it? Not yet. Is Brett Booth's art kick ass? YES! I'll probably give a full assessment when we get the Titans #1 issue, so until then...
I know that this and Detective Comics aren't Rebirth books in name, but like Lisa Simpson said about the celebrities in the Itchy and Scratchy Movie, "They didn't use their real names, but you knew it was them." While Eric loved issue #957 of Action Comics, I was not as overwhelmed with nostalgia as he was and so, didn't like it as much. It was good, but if any book needed a Rebirth #1 issue, it was probably this one. Lex Luthor as Superman, Pre-Flashpoint Superman shaved and in new threads, Clark Kent back from the grave (?) and containment suit Doomsday?!?!? That's a whole lot of stuff to throw at the reader and when you also mix in a little Mr. Oz, it seemed like a bit too much. Issue #958 didn't do much to explain things and ended up being just one long fight. I hope that Dan Jurgens reels the story in a bit and tightens up the screws a bit because right now, things feel a little sloppy joe. On a side note: If you haven't checked out Jurgen's Justice League #52, do so right now because it really could have been the Rebirth #1 I wanted.
When the Rebirth books were announced, James Tynion's Detective Comics just screamed out "FUN". A team lead by Batman and Batwoman that included Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain and Clayface (Clayface!?!?!) seemed like a great departure from what we got in the New 52 and fits in perfectly with Batman's new "I will let others help" worldview. After two issues, it may not be as fun as I had expected, but it's been damn good! Tynion is taking his time building the bonds of his team and while I want them to take it to the streets and start kicking ass, the interactions have been great. Plus, after the cliffhanger of #935, things are just starting to heat up! Eddie Barrow's art has been great and this is easily one of the better Rebirth books.
I will be back at the end of July with another report card. Until then, keep reaching for the stars and keep eating that pudding...just not butterscotch!