Anytime there’s a big change in something, some people will like it, and some will hate it. When it’s something that means a lot to people, the reactions are stronger. Several years ago, DC Comics rebooted their entire line, with a new history, new looks, new teams. Reaction was mixed. In the interests of full disclosure, I was a DC fan from the mid-80’s right up until the reboot.
I was one of the ones that didn’t like what they did. The things that were important to me got wiped away, and the replacements seemed like pale reflections of what they had once been. I tried, and I couldn’t think of a single change they made that I thought was for the better. This had been debated endlessly in comic shops, online forums, and anywhere comic geeks like me gather.
This week, I suddenly began to wonder if DC had been listening to me. I knew very little about Rebirth, and I had my doubts. So many changes had come before. I had gone from being an unabashed DC fan boy to not only getting more Marvel than DC, but many weeks getting more Dynamite than DC as well.
Rebirth 1 seemed like it took the vast majority of my complaints about the new world and either changed them, or set more changes in motion. The return of an old favorite of mine is the main thrust of the book, and he skips around the DCU noting all the differences. Among the things he comments on are Green Arrow and Black Canary not being together, and the erasure of the Teen Titans from history. Other events that gave me hope were the appearances of Johnny Thunder, and, elsewhere, Saturn Girl. Dick Grayson is seen holding a Nightwing costume, and its stripe is blue, not red. Aquaman and Mera look like they are getting back together for real, and maybe DC’s bizarre “heroes can’t be happy” policy is going away. We see Ted Kord, Dr. Fate, and the “new” Aqualad who showed up briefly and then vanished as the reboot took hold.
As an introduction to a major event, I can say that DC has my full attention. I really like what I saw. I hope more along these lines happens. And I’m feeling something I haven’t about DC for a while now. Hope.
Plot: I loved it. If DC is trying to shake things up and undo some of the things that alienated many long time fans, they couldn’t have done much better. The hint as to who the new bad guy seems to be is interesting and potentially very dangerous. And they were even clever enough to reverse a trend that’s happened in so many DC major events that even the characters have joked about it in the past. I’ll give the plot a 4.5 out of 5.
Art: There was gorgeous art. These characters were drawn well, and the energy effects around the central character of this issue were done very well. There were some really eye-catching pages here. I’ll give the art a 4 out of 5.
Positives: Old favorites are coming back. Fan favorite relationships are being given another chance. The history of the old DCU itself seems to be coming back. It makes an old fan like me happy.
Negatives: With the entire line resetting once again, a few books I like are probably not coming back (Secret Six, We Are Robin, Dr. Fate). The linking of one of DC’s very separate properties to the main universe might not be a great idea. They seem to be duplicating at least one character in a way that’s bound to get confusing.
I have read and reread this issue several times since I got it. I almost never do that anymore. I am very cautiously optimistic about the Rebirth event.
DC Universe Rebirth
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Phil Jiminez, Joe Prado, Matt Santorelli
Colorist: Brad Anderson, Jason Wright, Hi-Fi, Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
Cover: Gary Frank and Brad Anderson