Rating: 5/5 – Say, You Need to Read This if You EVER Liked DC Comics
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.
I’ll be up front that I am a lapsed DC reader. I gave up on the “New 52” a few years ago and while I was not looking forward to Rebirth (DC had not given me reason to have high expectations lately) I absolutely wanted to check this out and see if they could win me back. It turns out that yes, they can.
DC insists that Rebirth is NOT a reboot. Well, the word reboot perhaps does not have a set definition in comics, but this really felt like a reboot to me, in the best sense of the word. Without spoiling anything, this issue brought back many elements of the pre-Flashpoint DCU (or at least teased bringing them back) and did so in a way that weaves the New52, Flashpoint, and the pre-Flashpoint DCU into the foundation of a cohesive whole. This is something writer and DC CCO Geoff Johns excels at. In fact, calling this Rebirth, which harkens back to Johns’ Green Lantern Rebirth is apropos. Like in GL Rebirth, Johns has taken the things that worked about the past and combined them with the intervening stories that were not as creatively satisfying to me in a way that is respectful to both and melds them into something that works for me.
The bottom of page #1 says “This tale takes place after Justice League #50 and Superman #52, so read those first”. I don’t think you need to. This issue stands on its own. I flipped through both those issues in the comic shop and the events of those are both covered satisfactorily in this 80-page behemoth of an issue (with a fabulous $2.99 price tag). I don’t feel like I’m missing anything in either of those other comics, and given that Justice League #50 had a $5.99 price tag with less story than was given here, I’m extremely happy to have just skipped that overpriced issue.
Rebirth is broken into 4 chapters and an epilogue. Chapter 1: Lost is illustrated by Gary Frank & Ethan Van Sciver, 2 of my favorite DC artists. This got this off to a rocking start and was a visual feast. Chapter 2: Legacy was drawn by Gary Frank, Chapter 3: Love is by Ivan Reis, and Chapter 4: Life is by Phil Jimenez & Gary Frank. The issue ends in an Epilogue that could be controversial for some. I can see people being apprehensive or even angry about what seems to be happening. But I loved it.
DC Universe Rebirth was, for me, the perfect DC comic. Geoff Johns pulled out all the stops with a beautifully told story that weaves legacy DC into the fabric of the newer universe with just the right combination of explanation and a mystery that needs to be solved. It was a pleasure to see Johns make these characters come to life for me and leap off the page into my imagination. That’s something that has not happened to me in the pages of a DC comic in years. I now have hope for what is to come over the next few months from DC, but the execution of the monthly (and bi-weekly) comics really need to follow in the footsteps of this issue continuing the story threads that have been established here. It all needs to hang together and this kick-off has set the bar tremendously high in both storytelling and art. Thanks to a great bundle deal from DCBS, I’ll be trying all the Rebirth one-shots and #1 issues, so I’ll be seeing if DC is able to “stick the landing” after this phenomenal setup.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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