DC Comics has a new event going on called DC Rebirth. It’s another reset button. Well, maybe not a reset button more like a try to get things back to where they were button. Before I dive into the meat of the article, if all you’re here for is a one word “Should I read it?” answer, then yes, you should definitely read it (bonus, it’s only $2.99 an issue). As for how much of it to read, which titles are worth reading and all of those fun tidbits, that you’ll have to read through to the end for (caution: there will be some spoilers, if you want to avoid them go read Rebirth #1 before continuing).
To really understand Rebirth we’ll first need to do a quick recap of Flashpoint, a crossover event from 2011 and its follow up New 52. Warning, time travel and some comic book geekiness incoming. Flashpoint starts with Barry Allen, AKA The Flash, going back in time to save his mom. The Flash saves his mom from the Professor Zoom, who had gone back to kill Barry’s mom when he was little to ruin Barry’s life because Eobard Thawne is a prick and he couldn’t just kill Barry in the past without causing himself to never gain powers. He hates Barry so much that he has to find a way to punish him. Unfortunately, things don’t exactly go as planned and Barry wakes up with no powers in a very different future.
The Flashpoint timeline is very different, Wonder Woman is a serious baddy, Thomas Wayne (Bruce’s father) is Batman because he survived the shooting in the alley instead of Bruce, Soylent Green isn’t people, all kinds of things are batty. Barry manages, with the help of several DC heroes to gain his powers back and start to restore the timeline, only it’s not really restored, things are still changed, and there was some other hand in the reshaping of the DCU.
New 52 was a complete reboot for DC, 52 new #1’s all starting new story lines. One huge aspect of the event was that costumed heroes had now only been around for about 5 years. Decades of history squashed in hopes of making DC comics more accessible. Sadly, they didn’t pull it off, they really just screwed up a lot of characters. Character relationships were completely blown away and some characters disappeared, including a personal favorite Wally West. I tried very hard to like New 52, I wanted to love it. I’m a DC guy, always have been. Once the dust settled I was down to reading just a couple of DC comics each month. Suddenly I was making mine Marvel.
Rebirth seems to be an apology for Flashpoint. Most noticeably the, in my opinion, consistently terrible Superman. It took a lot to screw up Superman for me, but DC did it in comics (and more recently in movies, that’s another article though). We don’t really know how much is going to change through Rebirth, that’s part of the journey really, characters are back, they’re starting to realize that something is different and things are starting to happen to pull characters back together. Many broken things are being fixed. Rebirth is playing out through not only Rebirth #1 but also through a series of character one shots which will be followed by all new #1’s (or in some cases new #957 and #934 for Action Comics and Detective Comics respectively). The new core titles will ship twice monthly.
I’ve been out of most of the DC titles for a long time now and I’m not up on all of the things I should be. So something that’s really important to me is accessibility, can I just jump in. Right now it’s sort of a mixed bag. Luckily there’s the internet for quick catches when I need to know who the heck someone is or how they got from where I last saw them to where they are now.
Here’s a quick rundown of Rebirth #1 and the character 1 shots. Quick note, these comics went fast, like Wally West overdosed on energy drinks fast, so first printings are few and far between, but they’re all getting second runs and if you can’t find a physical copy, there’s always digital.
Rebirth #1 –Excellent comic, a must read if you’re a DC fan. From accessibility stand point this is really about making the rest of the series more accessible so it’s not too bad. It’s a great recap of Flashpoint and gives a nice foundation for not only Rebirth but the coming DCU. It’s a massive comic with no ads. It’s a bit of a romp through the DCU visiting several characters and spawning seeds that will be the one shots. For fans of the Flash it’s a bit of a tear jerker, or maybe that’s just me. There are a lot of questions here but not very many answers.
The Flash Rebirth #1 – Another excellent comic, but it’s The Flash so I may be a bit biased. I think pretty much anyone could pick this up and not be too lost, it hits the high points in introducing The Flash and sets up what I think will be some pretty important pieces of Rebirth as a whole. For serious comic book geeks there’s a nice Carmine Infantino reference in the background of one of the panels (Infantino was the artist that first brought Barry Allen to comics in Showcase #4 1956).
Batman Rebirth #1 – Honestly, just skip it, Detective Comics #934 is much better, definitely read it. Batman has never been my number one guy, I like him, but I don’t just HAVE to read his comics. This one isn’t one of the best issues in the Rebirth line up, it’s a bit disjointed and it suffers from accessibility problems. If you haven’t read much DC in the last 3 years then you will have no clue what’s going on. So, for those of you who want to read Batman Rebirth #1, the most important piece of information you can have is that the character you’ll be scratching your head about is Duke Thomas, AKA Robin. Although after reading the issue I’m still not sure I can tell you what the deal with him going forward will be.
Green Arrow Rebirth #1 – I like Oliver Queen, I haven’t kept up with him during New 52 but I still like the character, this issue is a pretty good introduction to the character and is very accessible. If you have any interest in the character give it a read. Not the greatest of the bunch but a decent read.
Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 – I really just don’t know what to say about this one. There are some great aspects to it and I want to see where the overall Lantern story is going, but I’m not really sure I dig the awkward buddy cop situation that’s being setup with this issue. I do think both of the Lanterns that are featured are really interesting characters with lots of potential, but it’s a wait and see really. As for accessibility, it’s mediocre at best, they make some pretty big assumptions that you either know about these characters or just don’t care about the details really. They don’t leave in the dark like Batman Rebirth does, which is good.
Superman Rebirth #1 – This one was interesting, it’s really setting up Superman and fills in a lot of holes. Probably the most accessible Rebirth comic so far. After reading this and Action Comics #957 I think they may have some interesting surprises in store for Superman and I may be able to get excited about him again.
Wonder Woman Rebirth #1 – This one deals a lot with the different versions of Wonder Woman over the years and talks about the fact that people just don’t know what to expect from the character. It’s the most on the nose and takes probably the biggest swing at the issues DC has had over the years with the character and seems to be trying to hit it head on. Give this one a read.
Aquaman Rebirth #1 – I think this one is worth a read. When I was a kid I loved Aquaman and Aqualad. There was an Aquaman cartoon in reruns I watched and I really thought Aqualad was awesome. It didn’t hurt that his name was Arthur Curry. This is a very accessible version of Aquaman I think, but they might be leaning a little too heavy on the whole “Aquaman is broken” thing. DC just really has never known what to do with Aquaman, but I have hopes that this version might be able to find his way. It’s a pretty classic take on the character without being too campy.
I’ll revisit Rebirth in a couple weeks after some number ones have hit and we get a little more information. I’m cautiously optimistic, fingers crossed.