Sunday, August 7, 2016

Review- DC Universe: Rebirth #1

There was not true cover image of the second printing online, so I scanned my copy. 

Continuity is the best and worst thing about comic books. The modern day fan hates it with a passion, using the argument that since they are all make believe stories, anything should go so long as they like it and don't deem it to be offensive. The older fans (as in 40+ year olds like myself) believe that continuity is what makes the serial nature of comic books so important and unique. The story never ends because the story never has to. It's all a piece of a giant jigsaw puzzle and it should all fit together neatly.

Unlike television or movies, these characters can age at a fraction of the time that the audience does. The people that bought the earliest adventures of Batman and Superman off of the stands are either dead or are very old, and it is unlikely that they are still following them. Which gives us the argument of change. Characters can change with the times, but the times should not change the core of the character. The New 52 was an attempt at rebooting, updating, and streamlining things. DC's last attempt at this in the 1980s was successful. The New 52 was successful at first but fans left in droves as it went on. The changes to many characters were so drastic that many fans felt like DC abandoned the core of the characters at the expense of the here and now. Comic books have always been an escapist pleasure. Where do you go when the real world, in all of it's ugliness and chaos, becomes the modern day escapist superhero? Deconstruction-style writing destroyed the classic superhero. Now it is time to destroy deconstruction.

DC Universe: Rebirth #1 (DC, Second Printing, cover date July, 2016; Squarebound softcover)

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Gary Frank, Ethan Van Scriver, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Phil Jimenez, Matt Santorelli, and Frank Prado
Colorists: Brad Anderson, Jason Wright, Brad Anderson, Hi-Fi, and Gabe Eltaeb

I was in a comic shop the day that the first printing came out. 80 pages of stories for three bucks? Nah. Pass. Lots of hubbub ensued over the next few days online, and I thought about going out to snag a copy, only to find it sold out. A sqarebound second printing with a $5.99 MSRP was announced to go on sale two weeks later. It's like a skinny trade...for six bucks. Why not? Apparently this too has sold out, as there is a third printing available as well.

S-P-O-I-L-E-R-S from here on out. If you haven't had this spoiled yet elsewhere and still don't want it spoiled by this late date, then turn back now.

The story is divided into four chapters and an epilogue, with the thread of it all being The Flash, the Wally West version. He uses the Speed Force to break through into the world as it currently stands, trying to get everyone to remember what was been wiped away. He starts by enlisting the help of the world's greatest detective, Batman. We see various heroes from various Earths (Johnny Thunder as an old man in a nursing home, for example), and things are all tied together with Flash/ Kid Flash/ Wally West.

The cliffhanger, of course, is in the apparent integration of the Watchmen into the main DC Universe. Alan Moore will undoubtedly be casting spells and doing hexes on Geoff Johns over this.

I'll admit that the initial reports that DC is going to ret-con the New 52 continuity away by integrating the Watchmen into a new/old continuity sounded like the most godawful idea that I've ever heard. It still sounds like a terrible idea after reading this. Much like Spider-Man making a deal with the devil himself, Mephisto, to save his Aunt May's life in exchange for erasing his marriage with Mary Jane Watson in One More Day was a terrible idea that resulted in a lot of good comics, let's hope that the uncomfortable, awful excuse that Doctor Manhattan created the New 52 and made people forget the real DC Universe is quickly swept under the rug and never mentioned again so that things can move forward so we can have classic continuity with modern sensibilities. In short, how you get back there is unimportant, so long as you get there.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.

The OCD zone- Is it a comic? Is it a prestige format book? Is it a skinny graphic novel? 80 pages, squarebound...I don't know what you would call this.
Paper stock: Good weight glossy coated stock.
Binding: Perfect bound.
Cardstock cover notes: The laminated cover is super flexible, more like a very thick paper or a very thin cardstock. I like how the books lies flat in your hand like a big comic book. 

1 comment:

  1. OK, so...Dr. Manhattan created "The New 52", and now we're back in the pre-FLASHPOINT DC Universe? Because everything I've read about "REBIRTH" until this review has been maddeningly coy about just what this entails. If you're right, my interest just went waaaaay up.
    As usual, great review, Kris!