A few months ago, Declan gave us a rundown on the opening events of DC Comic’s new line-wide event DC Rebirth. Now the event is a few months in and things have had time to gestate. Most of the relaunched titles have either completed their first arc, or are approaching the finish line. So, how have things held up? Really bloody well actually.
It Stands For Detective Comics… Comics
When it comes to big events like this, there’s always a fear that they’ll fall flat or not matter in the long run. So far for DC Rebirth, none of that has happened. Not only that, but almost every release under the banner has been a breath of fresh air for the related series. That’s no easy task when you consider how many titles have had (very) soft resets for the event.
This all comes at a time when Marvel’s flagship event, Civil War II, has been an unmitigated mess. There are currently people making a living out of fixing the continuity errors alone. On top of that, it’s run overtime and other books releasing on schedule have spoiled the ending. The cherry on Marvel’s crap cake has been a lukewarm response to Champions. This was intended to be a series setting the new status quo for the universe.
This is a weird switch up for comics. For a long time now, Marvel have been the kings of storytelling. Meanwhile, DC Comics were lagging behind with the frequently messy Nu52. As a longtime Marvel stalwart, this is the first time I’ve been reading more DC titles than Marvel. Let alone that, a large mass of those titles have totally blown me away. (Well, so has Civil War II, but that was for all the wrong reasons).
Traditional Kryptonian Family
I’m not a fan of Superman. I’ll say that right now. Clark Kent is another matter. My issue with so many Superman titles I’ve had foisted at me, is that they end up as boring Michael Bay-offs . The new titles, however, are making me change my tune. Superman, Superwoman and Supergirl have all been focused on the human side of events. Watching Clark train Jon to use his powers while adventuring has this great feel of classic Americana to it. Action Comics had a weaker opening for me. It felt like DC were forcing interest by bringing in some big Superman villains right from the outset. The story was coming off as one of those ‘punches and explosions’ books I’ve expected so little of. Still, it managed to pull me back in when it began tying the new (old?) Super-family into this alien universe.
Nananananananana Batman!… and Woman …and Children
Right, so, Batman has always been my main draw to the DC Universe. Batman, Batgirl, Batwoman, Gotham Central, Batman Beyond… I’ve been soaking them up for a long while. Having said that, much of Nu52 had me saving my dinero for specific Elseworlds and One Shots. I enjoyed Court of Owls, but I quickly dropped off after that. Nu52 Batman had this strange ability to be miserable even while it was being ridiculous. Now, Tom King and Tynion IV have come to the rescue.
King has this clear understanding that Batman can be dark without needing to be a miseryfest. Bruce and Alfred are able to have a bit of banter. Bruce, Dick and Tim feel like an actual family. These usually dour characters are able to smile every once in a while, who knew? This serves to make the dark moments that much harder hitting.
Over on Detective Comics, Batwoman is taking center stage. She’s leading an ensemble team of Red Robin, Nightwing, Spoiler and Orphan. Even with all that going on, none of the characters have been left behind. There’s a really great split on characterisation. Already they’ve had their own mini-event, Night of the Monster Men. The story crossed with the Batman and Nightwing titles and managed to tell a concise story. It didn’t run long or muck up the titles’ individual stories. Neither did it induce an awful sense of event fatigue.
Meanwhile, Batgirl and Batgirl and the Birds of Prey have been okay, I guess. In reality, I want to enjoy these titles a lot more than I am. Birds of Prey has been pretty direction-less and the art flits from mediocre to awful.
….All Star Batman has been pretty bad, but hey, they can’t all be winners.
Green Lanterns, Green Arrows…Just Lots of Green Stuff, Alright?
It took about 3 issues for Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz to become my new favourite Green Lanterns. They’re continuing the trend of Rebirth bringing a more human side to the heroes. Part of what makes them great is that they’re written with rapport aplenty. I’m also loving Cruz’ handling of her anxiety issues while wielding a ring powered by will. Admittedly, I doubt I’d enjoy reading them so much if they weren’t thrown in a team. Together as they are though, they make for a compelling read.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps has been a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it’s really well written and I love the art. I’ve enjoyed reading about Jordan’s return and Gardener’s solo mission. On the other hand, I hate reading about the Sinestro Corps. I’m not a fan of most other corps to be honest. Having said that, I’m still reading it and will likely stick with it for another arc.
My main exposure to Green Arrow has been though the TV series, Arrow. Don’t judge me. Please. Anyway, I was pretty confused when I jumped into the Rebirth book and saw nothing familiar. Some names and faces were there, but they were all in the wrong places. It is one thing for a book to draw you in when you know nothing. It’s another for it to draw you in when it’s not at all what you expect. Green Arrow was the latter for me. It’s been a fantastic, swashbuckling adventure story so far, and looks set to continue that way. As a fan of Waid‘s Daredevil, I can’t recommend it enough. The first issue alone is worth reading for Oliver’s great tongue-in-cheek monologue about the Green Arrow being an SJW.
Everything Louder Than Everything Else
I could sing the praises of DC Rebirth all day. There are a lot of titles covered by DC Rebirth and all of them are worth checking out at least a few issues of. Plenty of them are deserving of their own articles. Alas, the deadline is approaching and covering all of them here would take days. I’ll close up with a few more short recommendations to read and avoid.
What’s missing from the above list? Of DC’s three main titles, I’ve only mentioned two. Why did I leave out Wonder Woman? It’s not because it was a weak offering. Exactly the opposite in fact. Wonder Woman is easily the best solo title in the Rebirth line-up. I couldn’t possibly do it justice in a single paragraph. There are too many good things about this book, especially the art. Dear lord the landscape art is to die for.
The other title featuring Wonder Woman, Trinity, is off to a strong start. Being only two issues deep, it’s hard to gauge, but so far, it’s highly recommended.
Flash and Titans have been interesting. Of all the titles in the line they’re doing the most to forward the original story hinted at in DC Universe Rebirth #1. If you want to find out more about how the universe merge is going down, but don’t have the time or money to read everything, these are the books for you.
Teen Titans, Raven and Aquaman haven’t really been doing it for me. Likewise, Cyborg has been an unfortunately ill-conceived book of bad design and janky dialogue. Raven and Teen Titans I’ll be giving a few more issues, but I’d be hard pressed to spend time reading the rest even if I was getting them for free.
The important takeaway is that you should read Wonder Woman.
Read Wonder Woman.
Don’t read All Star Batman.
Read Wonder Woman.