DC Comics Rebirth relaunch starts this week so it going to be a very interesting summer to see if DC can bring back lapsed readers with yet another relaunch of the line. The first batch brings a bit of a mixed bag but nothing that is a total train wreck. So let’s get going.
Superman Rebirth #1
DC Comics Writers Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, Penciller Doug Mahnke, Inker Jaime Mendoza, Colorist Wil Quintana, Letterer Rob Leigh
Surprisingly one of the weakest starts to the rebirth line this week. The biggest problem is that this book is not a fresh start like it should have been but instead it’s a tie up of the storyline from issue #52 of the New 52 storyline that will leave most people confused and a poor setup to a new fresh start. While the story itself is not terrible it pretty much is a rehash of what has been going on in the last storyline and then also referencing the death of Superman storyline from the 1990’s. For new readers the story is a real mess and you have this nagging feeling that your missing what has been going on and reading an epilogue to a story that honestly most people haven’t read. Tomasi & Gleason script is pretty much issue #53 with not a lot of care for new or returning readers to the book and the mixing and matching of continuity was even for me a bit confusing at times having not read the previous storyline. On the plus side Mahnke and Mendoza’s artwork does help the blow of the confusing story go down a little easier. I have to hand it to them that the amount of detail that they put into the art is quite impressive and the character expressions during the dramatic scenes are very good.
Is this book worth your time and money? DC really dropped the ball on this book because this should have been a fresh start to the new series and not an epilogue to a story that few have read. Then adding the jumbled continuity from pre and post New 52 doesn’t help things along. While the book is far from terrible I really doubt that new readers are going to be overwhelmed with the book. Hopefully the first issue of the regular series will get off to a better start than this one does. DC really need to have better focus with these books or they are going to make the same mistakes over again. SKIP IT!
Batman Rebirth #1
DC Comics Writers Scott Snyder & Tom King, Artist Mikel Janin, Colorist June Chung, Letterer Deron Bennett
The Batman Rebirth book gets off to a better start than Superman does in at least it’s a coherent story but does have a few of the same flaws. One of the biggest is that the character Thomas is just dropped into the story and you have no idea who the heck he is or how he fits into the story. Snyder and Kings script is a nice little done in one story that while entertaining doesn’t really set a whole lot up beyond the basics here. The flaw is that it does not build on any of the ideas laid out in Rebirth #1. It just presents it’s story and then it’s done. For new readers it ends up being neither good or bad because it just tells a basic Batman story. I really did enjoy Janin’s artwork on the book and while there were a few times that the backgrounds are sparse he does a really nice job on the characters expressions that had a nice clean style. Hopefully he will have a chance to work on one of the new series that DC is doing.
Is this book worth your time and money? While the story is a nice and pleasant read it never really excites or pushes you forward to anything new. There are a few plot ideas that are introduced that will lead into the new series but overall it felt like a filler issue more than anything else. It was worth reading but not overwhelming either.
Green Lantern Rebirth #1
DC Comics Writers Geoff Johns & Sam Humphries, Artists Ethan Van Sciver & Ed Bendes, Colorist Jason Wright, Letterer Travis Lanham
One of the gripes that I have had with Green Lantern is that there seems to be too many individual Green Lantern titles that DC was putting out and seemed to saturate the market. This book is not bad but a little middling on the overall story that has a few moments but doesn’t blow you away. Johns has a very bad habit of writing a story that leads up to a “shocking” surprise for the last page that ends up being more anticlimactic than shocking most of the time and he does the same thing here. He trots out the whole galactic threat that only the Green Lanterns can stop that could be seen a mile away. The one positive note is that I did like the Baz and Cruz as the new Green Lanterns of Earth but has me a bit worried that we are going to have a bunch of Green Lanterns running around again. Hopefully Humphries as the regular writer on the new series is able to work this all out. Overall the story falls into the safe zone of comfort meaning that after reading the issue it felt like I had read this all before. There was nothing new or fresh about this story. For new readers this is a decent start but not a real slam dunk. The artwork by Sciver and Bendes does give the book a nice shiny look and make the reading experience a boost that makes it a bit better than it really is. They deliver a very good-looking book that is sure to please.
Is this book worth your time and money? While there were some good ideas in the story it did feel a lot like the same old Green Lantern from the Johns era and then just adding a couple of new Green Lanterns to the mix. Overall it was not a bad read and the art did really help a lot but if DC is going to get new readers to the Green Lantern book then they really need something different from this. Hopefully the regular series can fix these issues.
Green Arrow Rebirth #1
DC Comics Writer Benjamin Percy, Artist & Colorist Otto Schmidt, Letterer Nate Piekos
This book was not only a surprise but the only one that did what the other should do, give the book a new fresh start but keeping what made Green Arrow great in the first place. I have to hand it to Percy who not only gets it but really nails this first issue. He starts off with re-introducing readers to Green Arrow but wisely doesn’t totally bog down the story with too much exposition that can plague a first issue. He really balances out the drama with the action and really handles both Oliver and Dinah very nicely. It brings back the classic Green Lantern and nods to the past with references to Speedy’s drug story from the 1970’s was a very nice surprise. He also is the only writer of this weeks Rebirth books that simply writes a fun and compelling story that get this book off to a really solid start. He keeps it simple and to the point that I am hoping that the rebirth books need to do. I was very impressed with Schmidt’s artwork on the book and has a nice style that fits Percy’s script perfectly. He is able to capture both the light and dark side of the city and elevated the story with such great visuals and is a great looking book.
Is this book worth your time and money? Who would have guessed that the big surprise this week is that Percy and Schmidt little book would not only be the best of the bunch but blows away more established characters and creators. They wisely keep the book simple and fun that delivers a very enjoyable read that will have you wanting more. They don’t try to reinvent the wheel here just tell a compelling and very enjoyable book that is a real winner. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Rough Riders #3
Aftershock Comics Writer Adam Glass, Artist Patrick Olliffe, Colorist Gabe Eltaeb, Letterer Sal Cipriano
This book has not only been a nice surprise but keeps delivering twist in the story that keep you on your toes. Glass continues to deliver a story that is very nicely paced book that while it’s a slow burn it’s very satisfying read so far. This issue delivers not only some nice action into the story but throws a nice curve ball of WTF into the story that you never see coming. Glass script is a nice throwback to the comics in the 1980’s that was not afraid to mix genres and yet still keep the fun and enthusiasm that can make comics such a unique medium. While some might have issues with the pacing of the book I love that Glass is taking the time to develop the subtle feel for the characters and giving you a reason to care about them. Olliffe’s artwork continues to shine on this book with such great craftsmanship of a true draftsman. Where his artwork really shines is the way that he captures the dramatic facial expressions of the characters and the nice little touches that so many artist fail to deliver a lot of the time.
Is this book worth your time and money? Who knew that having a book about historical figures could be not only surprising but a solid and fun comic that goes against the grain of most comics today. It’s one of those books that doesn’t try to be more than it is. Glass and Olliffe don’t use flash or gimmicks to make this book work, they keep it simple and on the right path each issue and keeping you guessing as to what will happen next. RECOMMENDED!
The Shadow: The Death of Margo Lane #1
Dynamite Entertainment Writer and Artist Matt Wagner, Colorist Brennan Wagner, Letterer A Larger World Studios
It’s been quite a while since Wagner has actually drawn a comic and while the book won’t totally knock your socks off it is a fun little Shadow story that delivers classic Shadow with a nice little mystery story. While I admit that this is not Wagner’s strongest effort it’s still a fun book and has a great pulp story with his wonderful artwork. One of the reason that the book is fun is that he doesn’t try to do a grand opus story. He keeps things simple and sweet and while there are no huge surprises with the book that is one of the reasons that it simply works. On the artwork side of the book there are times where it seems Wagner is a little rusty but overall it’s a nice looking book that has a lot of the classic Wagner touches to it.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you’re a fan of the Shadow or pulp heroes then this is a nice addition to the mythos of the characters. Wagner delivers a good story with nice artwork that while it may not blow you away it does deliver a satisfying read with nice artwork that is worth reading.
Paper Girls #6
Image Comics Writer Brian K. Vaughan, Artist Cliff Chiang, Colorist Matt Wilson, Letterer Jaren K. Fletcher
After last issues cliffhanger ending and the 3 month-long wait brings this book back to a very nice story twist. As usual Vaughan delivers a tight script that picks up where we left the story off. The only minor gripe that I had been with the three-month gap from the last issue there should have been a recap at the front of the book that could get readers back up to speed on the book. I have to hand it to Vaughan that balancing a story that has time travel can be very tricky but somehow he manages to keep it all making perfectly good sense in a very weird way. There is a lot to digest with the story in this issue and yet it ends all to quickly with you wanting more. Chiang delivers solid artwork again this issue and I was very impressed with his interpretations of Erin were very impressive. One thing that I loved was his layouts for this issues story. There was a lot that Vaughn threw at him and he really delivered one of the best looking issues to date.
Is this book worth your time and money? I do recommend that you go back and re-read the first five issues before you dive into this issue because there is a lot of subtle story elements that you might miss if you try to read this issue with the time gap from last issue. This is a great turning point for the book and it continues to impress with each passing issue. RECOMMENDED!