DC Rebirth Impressions Part 2: Justice League and the Titans
And here we are with part 2 of our DC Rebirth impressions. Last time we covered the Trinity since they had so many books that needed to be done, this time we knock out the remainder of the DC Rebirth launches.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artists: Carmine Di Giandomenico, Neil Googe
I've been dodging the Flash for a couple years now. Not that I think anything in particular is wrong with it, I just haven't heard or seen anything being done with the character that demanded my attention. And if I'm being honest, Josh Williamson (Ghosted, Nailbiter)'s pitch of a Speed Force storm suddenly hitting Central City and granting multiple people powers sounds interesting, but not quite enough to snatch me back just yet. But what I DID like about it was how enthusiastic he sounded about having plans for the character. Though I'm still of the opinion that Flash isn't quite whole until he has his family back.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artists: Ethan Van Sciver, Rafa Sandoval
Full cards on the table, Venditti lost me a long time ago with the concept behind Relic. Now I can hardly look at the Corps without thinking no matter how much good they do they're causing the eventual end of the universe. But he's one of the only people staying on their respective books post-Rebirth, so he must be doing something right. Still, I'd skip this book as a whole but one of the primary artists for the comic is Ethan Van Sciver, the other guy you think of when you think of Green Lantern. His ultra-detailed designs and strong linework is forcing me to give at least the first issue a shot.
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artists: Robson Rocha, Ardian Syaf
Sam Humphries actually wrote a little-known favorite comic of mine back in 2013 in Avengers A.I., so seeing him on the Rebirth stage made me quite excited. And having a comic book focused on the most recently created Lanterns feels like a long time coming. There's a lot of potential in a Lethal Weapon-esque comic book like this, and while I don't think Red Lanterns are interesting enough to deserve a book of their own (*cough*), I definitely think they make great potential antagonists to the newbie Lanterns.
Artist: Brad Walker, Jesus Merino, Phil Briones
I've been a Dan Abnett fan since the mid-2000's when I first picked up The Legion with him and Andy Lanning on it, so this is honestly more a case of my being willing to read anything he does. But to be fair, Aquaman's been largely consistent over the past five years--from Geoff Johns to Jeff Parker. With this upcoming story, Aquaman will be attempting to connect Atlantis to the rest of the world, which is a pretty great hook for a story if it actually happens and they don't just "whoops, the two just aren't ready for each other" the whole thing. And on top of that, the artists involved are all great so this book is going to look gorgeous too.
I also understand that Dan's working with Geoff to get that Rise of the Seven Seas story done too. Been a long time coming (since 2013 or so?), so it'll be great to finally get that story done so we can see the other underwater "tribes" and hopefully expand Aquaman's mythology even further.
Artist: Will Conrad, Paul Pelletier
I'm mostly here for this one because John Semper helped write one of my favorite cartoons ever in Spider-Man: TAS. But also I'm with the idea of having a black superhero with a comic (who's powers aren't electricity based), and since no one seems interested in making Steel cool again, Cyborg's probably the best we have. But seriously, I'm not sure how onboard I am with the whole "Am I human?" story, as I feel like it's the only one we ever try to tell with Cyborg. There has to be more to the guy at this point, or at least I'd hope. Still, if nothing else, we get Paul Pelletier's gorgeous art to drool over once a month.
Artist: Otto Schnmidt, Juan Ferreyra
No lie, this is where the bubble kind of popped for me. They did a lightning round featuring this and a few other comic books and the tagline for this was "Green Arrow meets Black Canary". I'd been under the belief that Rebirth was restoring a lot of the history that had been thrown out with the New 52, but this is where we find out that...nope, this is just a revised New 52. It's frustrating to be reminded that one of the most well-known relationships in the DC Universe hasn't even gotten off the ground.
Granted, I've got nothing against Ben Percy and hopefully he can be the guy to make me like Green Arrow again.
Artist: Carlos Pagulayan, Igor Vitorino, Felipe Watanabe
Man, when they showed this image I was totally fine with ignoring it at first...and then suddenly I noticed that Christopher freaking Priest was doing the writing. So even though I hate the character, it's still Chris Priest back in comics and I just can't not support it. Dude made Black Panther awesome. He created Quantum and Woody. He's a freaking legend, and if we're all lucky this will get the guy even more work at DC.
Artist: Scott Kolins
The last time I saw Jaime Reyes, dude was out in space trying to avoid being killed in a space reality TV show of some sort. It was a good comic, but I don't ever recall the character being brought back to Earth, so I'm wondering if that's going to be left up in the air or not.
Either way, one supposes it doesn't matter. This book is about Ted Kord teaching Jaime Reyes how to be a hero--if you wanted to see the comic book version of a slam dunk, that's what this looks like. Though I do think "Blue Beetles" would've been a stronger title. That's just me though.
Artist: Brett Booth
You know who's missing from this? Wally West. Dude was as much a part of the Titans as he was the Justice League. People complaining about him being half-black are missing the point. This was the one bit of actual proof the DC Universe could grow and change. He went from being Kid Flash to Flash. From a Teen Titan member to a full-fledged Justice Leaguer. From a teenager to a grown man with a wife and kids. And they basically retconned all of that to take us back to running in place.
Of course, this doesn't make Dan Abnett any less of an amazing writer, Brett Booth any less of a great artist, or me less likely to pick this book up. But it does leave a sour taste in my mouth.
Artist: Jonboy Meyers
Ugh. Here's where I run into some issues. They spent all that time talking about how DC's Rebirth was about restoring classic elements to the universe. Well, here's something classic: Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy are twentysomethings who belong with their contemporaries Donna Troy, Dick Grayson, and Roy Harper. I don't know why they're bumming around in the Teen Titans.
And I'm especially not about the idea of "Damian Wayne tries to lead the Teen Titans" thing, unless the entire team summarily ignores him every issue to go be proper heroes.
Artist: Tony Daniel, Fernando Pasarin
I don't actually have an opinion on this yet. Hitch is a great artist, and his opening arc on Justice League of America was good enough, but I'm not sure he's quite good enough to carry what should be the flagship book of the DCU. But what do I know? I didn't think Francis Manapul would be amazing on Flash and yet my jaw dropped every month. I would love to know more about what they have planned, though.
Overall, my initial feelings on DC's Rebirth are about 50-50. They absolutely nailed it getting the Trinity books right. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman should all be at the top of any superhero fan's reading list in one way or another for the forseeable future. But the rest of their universe feels kind of hit-or-miss. For every Aquaman, there's a Teen Titans. There's a lot of elements to the DC Universe that feel missing, and without them this is mostly just the New 52 (which had a lot of hype behind it at the beginning) with a new coat of paint. We're not out of the woods yet...