BATMAN / SUPERMAN / GREEN LANTERNS / GREEN ARROW [Rebirth Reviews]: Born Again Heroes.
Considering Bats’ involvement with uncovering the mysteries that are fueling DC’s new rebirth (in DCU Rebirth #1), it’s only fitting that a few of the themes of the whole event are front and center in Batman’s own restart issue. The issue of lost time, and time being messed with, is very appropriately dealt with as Batman has to stop Calendar Man from diabolically messing with the seasons in Gotham. Cal’ Man even talks about them “messing with time” in the first few panels where he’s introduced. Also in step with Rebirth not being a mere reboot, writers Scott Snyder (American Vampire, the forthcoming All-Star Batman) and Tom King (Grayson, Sheriff of Babylon) put Bruce in the want for “something new” with his new partner–who is specifically not another Robin.
Those “event appropriate” aspects hardly take over this issue, however, as the whole book feels more like a singular Batman story. The new elements are set up and done on the side, and we get more character development for Bruce (who we get to see in a lot of sunlight) along with a full-on villain of the week story. The issue lacks any huge radical hook, besides a new partner-in-crime-fighting, but is still a solid Batman story accessible to anyone who even slightly knows the character. 4/5 Bibles.
After Geoff Johns’ spectacular Rebirth of the DC Universe, everyone has been thinking the same thing; can the follow-ups to this magnificent book measure up? And the answer is “kind of”. Peter Tomasi (Batman & Robin) has done an admirable job with Superman and now he’s being handed the keys to the Pre-52 Superman (I’d be spoiling it if I told you who). Do you remember when you first got the keys to your first car and you drove it really slowly until you got the hang of it? That’s how this issue feels.
Tomasi spends most of the issue re-affirming that New-52 Superman is, in fact, very dead. I have faith that he’ll find his footing, but do not compare this to Johns’ Rebirth. Artwise, Doug Mahnke (Green Lantern) has always been solid, but for some reason the smaller panels looked jerky despite absolutely stunning splash pages. Much of the magic Mahnke had on Action Comics returns to the fold. While Superman Rebirth #1 felt more like a calm before the storm, let’s just hope, calmly, that storm is indeed coming. 3/5 Bibles.
In these turbulent times of political uncertainty, I am casting my vote for the one candidate who above all represents my beliefs. He is neither Republican nor Democrat. He does not come from a Red State nor Blue. His Corps is Green and is a beacon, even in blackest night. He is Geoff Johns. Yes, Mr. Johns is back at the helm and we can thank the Guardians for his return. Why such reverence you may ask? Because more than his predecessors, Mr. Johns understands the crucial art of storytelling. It doesn’t hurt that he’s brought along a superb writer who knows intergalactic superhero drama, the one Sam Humphries (The Legendary Star-Lord).
However, before I get into the nitty-gritty of this tale, let us briefly touch up on the artwork. Johns and Humphries are rightly matched by art that looks immaculate and stellar and any other adjective you wish to use. Within a finite amount of panels, Ethan Van Sciver (The Flash) and Ed Benes‘ (JLA) are able to espouse the entire history of the Green Lantern Corps on earth, introduce new soldiers into the fight, recall classic characters and set up a cliffhanger that leads into not one but two intertwining stories centered around the ringbearers.
There are Easter eggs aplenty as well as enough information for new readers to understand what is occurring in this universe–thanks in part to subtle name drops that further the narrative. Fused lanterns, Manhunters and Red Rings provide visual and literary candy that indulges the sweet tooth without bringing on diabetes. In summation, this is perhaps the most clear evidence of efficient storytelling that I can remember in recent comic history. Like a musical sharpshooter, Johns and Humphries hit every beat exactly where they need to be struck, leaving the reader inevitably wanting more. And more we shell receive, though we may have to wait a month or two at a time. 4.75/5 Lanterns.
Following Geoff Johns’ (quite literal) game-changing DC Rebirth, we’re left with a new status quo along with a sense of legacy and optimism. But does the Emerald Archer still have a few tricks left in his quiver for readers, new and old? Green Arrow has long been a staple of DC and his popularity (quite obviously) has never been higher than it is now. The time is now for DC to strike the match and send the character from the comic book B-list to A. Benjamin Percy (Detective Comics back-up, Red Moon novel) and Otto Schmidt (Korvac Saga), writer and artist, respectively, do a bang up job bringing Green Arrow from the dark, grittiness that was New 52 to the goateed, swashbuckling crusader we all know and love.
Page after page the art pops with color, be it an up-close look of a green colored arrow jutting out of a wall or a wide shot of an evil underground lair, it all works so well. Percy doesn’t bog the reader down with years of backstory or flashbacks. His introduction to Oliver Queen is handled well within two pages and we’re off to the mystery at hand. Green Arrow goes about investigating a rash of missing person’s cases that introduces us to some spooky freaks named the Underground Men; sounds like they fit in with #GeekSwag, but they don’t.
As opposed to being a one-and-done story, GA Rebirth #1 expands to a conspiracy network that leaves this reader intrigued to how the story arc will play out. At long last we get the first, albeit tacked on — and ultimately proper – meeting of Black Canary and Green Arrow. The optimism train is riding high for next month. 3.5/5 Goatees.