Welcome to week three of our mini-reviews of DC’s newly relaunched Rebirth titles. This week, the publisher is relaunching Titans, — featuring long missing Flash Wally West in a starring role — and also Superman, Batman and the new Green Lanterns. Have these latest titles improved upon their New 52 incarnations? Read on for all the details…
Titans: Rebirth #1
Much like last week’s Flash: Rebirth #1, Titans: Rebirth is very much the continuation of the big DCU Rebirth special from Geoff Johns, a DCU: Rebirth 2.0 if you will. The reason being is this issue centers around Wally West, the recently returned third Flash, who came back to the DC Universe in that much-hyped one shot. The bulk of the issue deals with Wally seeking out his former Teen Titans comrades, and via the Speed Force — or just getting close enough to touch everyone to spark the Speed Force — Wally restores their lost memories of their time together. And by doing so, it becomes a complete reunion of the founding members of the Teen Titans. Writer Dan Abnett, who wrote the recent Titans Hunt series, does a nice job of reminding readers that original Titans were always as much a family as they were friends, restoring a lost aspect of the title.
I guess the confusing part of the issue — and this goes for last week’s Flash: Rebirth too — is just how much does Wally remember from the pre-Flashpoint Earth? He mentions his wife Linda wistfully in these pages, suggesting that he remembers his time having been married to her, and –presumably — their kids. But this issue suggests that while there was an original Teen Titans team, there was never a New Teen Titans, where the originals joined up with Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire and Raven. Is that part of the missing years that Dr. Manhattan stole from the DCU? Writer Dan Abnett has a lot of explaining to do, but for now, consider this old school Titans fan intrigued enough to continue. Oh, one last thing — artist Brett Booth’s Flash costume re-design is maybe my favorite Flash costume ever. Nice work, Mr. Booth.
RATING: 3 OUT OF 5 BURRITOS
While there were a lot of things not so great about the New 52, unquestionably the creative highlight was the Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo run on Batman. This was a tough act to follow to be sure, but the Batman: Rebirth one-shot only gave us a glimpse of how good writer former CIA agent Tom King is when dealing with the Dark Knight. In the regular ongoing Batman #1, he crafts an incredible story about what happens when a Superman-sized disaster hits Gotham, and only Batman can save the day. (And for the record, yes he called Superman and Green Lantern. Their answering service told Batman they were both “off world.” Convenient).
Tom King presents a situation where an airliner is about to crash into a super dense and crowded part of Gotham, and somehow Batman, with zero superpowers to speak of, has to stop this from happening and save thousands of innocent lives. In just this one issue, Batman shows why he’s the most badass — and the most self-sacrificing — of all the DC heroes, and his “final” (SPOILERS — Batman does’t die) conversation with Alfred is priceless. It’s clear Tom King gets Batman as a character extremely well, and we could be for an amazing run on this title. As for the art, David Finch has never been a penciler that I’ve been too crazy about, but his stuff works here in a really great way, much more so than his recent work on Wonder Woman. The first issue of Batman proves that the quality of the Batman:Rebirth one-shot wasn’t a fluke.
RATING: 3.5 OUT OF 5 BURRITOS
While the Superman: Rebirth one-shot was fun to read, and helped set up the Man of Steel’s weird new status quo — he’s from the pre-Flashpoint Earth, but has taken over for the New 52 Superman who died, and is living with wife Lois and their son in secret…told you it was weird — this issue is actually an improvement over the one-shot special. This is mostly because instead of standard superheroics, the issue focuses on life on the Kent farm (or “Smith” farm, as the Kents are living secret lives on our world) while Clark and Lois are trying to raise their young son Jonathan Kent, whose powers are starting to manifest, and he doesn’t have much control over them. There is a scene in this issue that will simply break your heart, and it revolves around young Jon.
Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason seem to be creating something special with this book, and are finally fulfilling what lots of comics fans have been wondering about over the years –what would a Superman family actually look like? I can safely say most fans have been wondering for years what Lois and Clark would be like as Super parents much more so than seeing a young Superman date Wonder Woman. I honestly hope this is the version of Superman that sticks around for a long time.
RATING: 3.5 OUT OF 5 BURRITOS
Green Lanterns #1
The Green Lanterns: Rebirth One-Shot established that Sector 2814’s resident Lanterns, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, would be staying behind and watching the home front while Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps were off in space. This means that Green Lanterns is kind of a buddy cop book, but one where both cops are still rookies and still learning the ropes.
New-to-DC writer Sam Humphries seems very at home with his new Lanterns, and clearly doesn’t need Geoff Johns around to tell a decent Green Lantern story. In this issue, Humphries establishes a tense relationship with ARGUS (think SHIELD, but for the DC Universe) and the newest Lanterns, who they don’t think have what it takes to be the next Hal Jordan or John Stewart. Another great thing that Humphries does is repositon the Red Lanterns as straight-up villains once again, after a brief time having their own title and being painted as anti-heroes. I’ll take my red power ringed guys — and Sinsestro for that matter –as fully fledged bad guys, thanks. This was a fun issue, with decent art from Robson Rocha, and I’ll probably be sticking with it.
RATING: 3 OUT OF 5 BURRITOS
Images: DC Comics