Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Throwback Review - DC Universe Rebirth #1 Review

The Way We Were

Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Phil Jimenez, Ivan Reis, Frank Pardo, Joe Pardo, Gary Frank, Matt Santorelli, Hi-Fi Colorist, Brad Anderson, Gabe Eltaeb and Jason Wright
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: May 25, 2016

It's here!!!  I've been so pumped up to get to Rebirth that it kind of became something not quite real in my mind.  Well, actually it became something bigger than just a comic book.  For me, it became the symbol of hope.  Yea, that sounds cheesy, but it's true.  After falling in love with comics thanks to the New 52, things have really steered off course in the last year or so and the big thing that's been missing has been the FUN.  Remember that?  Sometimes it seems like I barely do.  While DC has kept a lid on most of the stuff in this Universe changing issue (Please, don't get me started on the assholes who spoiled stuff early), most of what I've seen about it and the upcoming books has looked like...FUN.  I am a man of simple means and fun is all I want.  That and a whole ton of questions being answered.  And great stories with great characters.  And cool villains...Okay, I may want everything under the sun from Rebirth, but I always like to dream big.  So, does this issue give me what I want?  Let's find out...

The issue opens up with an unknown narrator talking to us.  At points they are happy, other times sad, but through it all, they are searching.  Searching for time, memory and hope...and in just a few pages, the table is set to explain what has gone wrong with our comics for five whole years.

We find out who the narrator is and it is awesome, exciting and as far as this crazy, turn your head inside out kind of issue goes, it makes total sense.  He (yes, it's a he) is also one of the most likeable characters in DC Comics history and you can't help but smile when you see him...again.  Yes, he's been gone for a while and as the issue goes on, we learn why, but more importantly we learn that no matter how long we think he's been gone, we are totally wrong.

The actual story involves this character trying to get someone to remember him.  It's the only way for him to return to our universe and it's also a perfect way for Geoff Johns to right the wrongs of the past.  Again, Johns picked the perfect character to show us all that we aren't the only ones who've been let down by the New 52.

Even if you've heard the spoilers or think you know everything there is to know, I think you'll be surprised by this issue.  This is not the Universe changing event I thought it was going to be.  There isn't a flash of light and BOOM! everything is different. No, this issue is more of an apology for what fans have been going through and a promise of what's to come.  I can imagine Geoff Johns treating this issue as his own way to personally stand outside of every DC Comic fan's window, blaring "In Your Eyes".  Believe me, it worked on this guy!

There is more to it as well.  As the narrator races through the DCU, we see the past and present and a little bit of what to expect in the future.  We see characters who have been kicking ass for years, some that we haven't seen in a long time and others that were only hinted at when Rebirth was announced. Again, it all makes sense and if it doesn't actually change the game completely, it at least bends the rules and makes the game immediately much more fun to play.  If you thought the New 52 was too dark, you will be very, very happy with what you get here.  If you thought the New 52 was loveless, you'll be very, very happy.  If you thought Rebirth wouldn't be diverse, you'll be very, very happy.  I guess I'm saying that this issue will make you very, very happy.

The story itself is more emotional than epic, but we learn some jaw dropping things before it's over.  The who and why of the creation of the New 52 is hinted at and it's meta as hell.  I still don't know what to think of it, but only because so much is left to tell.  We also get enough plot seeds to grow a forest and I'm talking BIG things with BIG characters and BIG team ups.  The issue ends with a life being saved, a crazy discovery and a cliffhanger that doesn't set up a new universe as much as a possible clash of titans in the future.

I loved this issue.  I loved it as a comic book, but also as an apology and as a promise of what's to come.  I hope that people aren't thrown by the fact that not a lot "changes" by the end of the issue.  It is so much more than that.  After reading it, I have full faith in what Rebirth is bringing us and that will stay put until it is ripped away from me.  The best thing about this issue is that Geoff Johns doesn't change everything with death and destruction...he changes it with love and hope.  That is what's been missing all these years and it looks like it's back big time.

If the number of artists on this book is a shock, the quality of the work sure isn't.  This is DC's biggest issue in years and it looks great throughout.  There isn't a bad page here and when things look different, there is a reason for it.  To me, this issue's art was all about the characters and the artists make sure they all look like the very best version of each of them.

Jim's Note:  If you don't mind spoilers, Eric will have a spoiler filled review that he will post soon.

Bits and Pieces:

If you go into this issue looking for big scenes with heroes and villains beating each other up with the fate of the Universe in the balance, then you will be upset.  The main villain is only hinted at and the issue tugs at the heartstrings instead of hitting you over the head.  Geoff Johns gives us a checklist of how far DC Comics has strayed from it's own legacy, apologizes for it and then shows us how it will be better.  The heavy lifting seems to be left for the individual Rebirth issues starting in June, but the groundwork is laid out and if this issue's mission is to make us remember what we loved about DC Comics in the first place ...mission accomplished!



  1. Wow, amazing write up! I can't wait for Wednesday.

  2. So do all characters who're known to be in Rebirth titles make appearances here?

    1. most characters at least have a cameo...this is different than what most people are expecting, though. The villain is only hinted at, there is no real fight and at the end, things are only starting to change. Instead of the universe changing, it's more of remembering what was taken away.

  3. Jim,
    You've got me super hyped for this!
    Tomorrow can't come soon enough!

    Rock on!

    1. i hope you enjoy it as much as i did!

    2. It's too early to say this is a full redemption, but damn it if i'm not completely psyched for the next books in rebirth to come out!
      Haven't felt this way about DC books in a long time, and you guys know I loved Grayson and Superman: Lois & Clark, but I went into those tentatively, almost fearfully, and was pleasantly surprised.
      In this case, this Prologue to the Rebirth movement has me buzzed for the entire line!
      I was wondering how they were going to handle the three generational tiers of Heroes (Originals, Side kicks that grew up, and Newer side kicks), and it looks like they may nail it. I mean they even included Kaldur? Is there a chance we may see the young justice TV team line up at some point?(LOVED that show!! boo to humanity for cancelling it!!)
      It's just the feeling of possibility is back! There's no mandate that all heroes have to have garbage love lives, and zero to little support from their families! It feels like a great time, for this great leap....
      Let's hope they stick the landing.

  4. Beautiful story and set-up for things to come. Enjoyed the read as well.

  5. Mind blown if this is the kind of story telling we are getting from rebirth im all in

  6. Hello from Mars! Please excuse the time difference, relativity you know. Well we've just gotten the first of the New 52 titles here, and I have to say I'm not too excited about this reboot. I just don't have a connection to these versions of the characters. It feels like some ominous figure just ripped ten years away from everything we loved. Maybe it was Dan DiDo. Well, guess I may as well get used to this new status quo! cheers