And on that note, that's why this second part of Broken Man's story is a bit more interesting than the first--to learn that Astro City/Romeyn Falls once had a protector that was a living personification of the music of the time. Of course, that leaves the question: what would that protector have looked like through the eras of rock-and-roll, or hip-hop? And what would they look like now?
The next Astro City comic is a two-parter starring the Hanged Man, so obviously we won't get that answer today. But I'm absolutely hoping we're not left hanging for too long. (Ugh, I do apologize for that awful end pun...)
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey
It's still a little unsettling that we're basically starting from scratch with Huntress. I mean, she's one of the oldest members of the Birds but with her new origin it's like she's basically never known them at all. Still, this issue goes a long way towards showing how she's both nearly as capable a fighter as Black Canary and nearly as intelligent as Barbara, basically explaining why she deserves a spot on the team. And though we are starting at zero, it adds a necessary point of conflict that just wouldn't otherwise be present with such a small team that (usually) has such a storied history.
What's most interesting, though, is that Chris Priest seems completely devoted to building an actual world around Deathstroke--telling a non-linear story that jumps between past and present to fill out both parts of the villain's life and give us an idea of just how terrible a person we're choosing to read about from month to month. This month, we're shown the previously thought unseen Doctor Ikon--someone who's so disgusted by Slade's willingness to murder anyone in his way that he actually decided to, seemingly, become a Christian superhero.
This gives me hope for future adventures in Slade's world--him and Wintergreen are already making themselves out to be quite the evil Dynamic Duo, and I'm pretty sure all hell's going to break loose whenever Slade's new wife debuts in the modern part of this story.
...Or at least, that's what the world thinks. In what's my favorite Rebirth-related twist since DC Universe: Rebirth special itself, Tim Drake finds himself teleported off to the realm of the mysterious Mr. Oz, who people seem to believe is Ozymandias. That remains to be seen (but is becoming more likely), but if true would confirm the idea that the Watchmen universe is a "higher plane of existence", as the completely human Ozymandias now seemingly has godlike powers. Either way, he decides to take Tim Drake out of action because he was helping to restore some of the ties that have been torn from the DCU.
Granted, this raises a question: was Tim actually going to die, here? If he was, then this is a bit of a plot hole--Oz has no reason to take him if that's the case, since how many ties could he restore as a dead man? But perhaps he had some sort of miracle play? (Probably not.)
Either way, this raises another question: we've seen Oz kidnap Doomsday, so this isn't something new to him. How many other characters have gone missing because of him? And where's this all lead, because I can't see this ending without some sort of soft reboot that restores all these characters in a grand sweep.
New Super Man
The "Justice League of China" has their existence finally unveiled to the world. To me this feels like a thing that's been missing from the "New 52" version of the DC Universe--China's Great Ten, Japan's Super Young Team, even the global Justice League International. As we approach an era where people expect their heroes to come from places not just in America, New Super Man has found what I'm hoping is DC's way back into exploring those strange, unique characters that are another country's twist on what is so intrinsically an American idea.
Reasons to love Superwoman:
1.) Lana Lang is front and center in the DC Universe once more, and a proper bad-ass in it at that.
2.) Phil Jimenez will never not be one of the greatest artists of our time, and he's a pretty damn good writer to boot.
3.) It's embracing the theme of Rebirth, where we get to see connections start to come back. Pairing her up with John Henry Irons is brilliant, and allowing the original black woman inventor to come back and design a friggin' Insect Queen armor is both a neat reference and perfect timing. I've been saying for years DC beat Marvel to the punch on diversity, and I'm glad Rebirth is finding ways to bring back some of my favorite characters from that Infinite Crisis to Brightest Day era.
4.) It's been a while since Metropolis felt like a living, breathing world with more things happening in it than Here's What Superman's Doing This Month.
Anyways, on a superficial level I'm loving the almost anime-like way Godspeed and even nu-Wally have been armoring up. They're literally layering themselves in the Speed Force, which is something that Mark Waid had Wally doing as early as the mid/late-90's, but it's never quite had the visual flair that it does when artist Carmine Di Giandomenico does it.
Having said that, after two years of The Flash's television series, I'm a little tired of seeing characters introduced that are faster than him. It kind of makes Flash's "Fastest Man Alive" tagline a bit of a lie. Wally faced plenty of speed-based villains in his day but it wasn't very often at all that any of them were outright faster. Still and all, I'm fine with letting things play out to see who ends up on top. If Barry has to "trap" Godspeed in the Speed Force, Phantom Zone-style because he's realized he'll never be able to beat him? I'll end up kinda bummed. But the story doesn't necessarily have to play out that way, so let's see.
In any case, with this arc nearly done I'll say that I've come around on Josh Williamson's Flash. His willingness to develop the mystery of the Speed Force, allowing characters to have different abilities that don't all manifest in something as blunt as pure speed, has given a unique spin to the character and his world that I haven't really seen very often in the ten years I've been reading the character.
Plus to be honest it's about time someone gave Wonder Woman's origin a proper re-telling. We keep calling them the Trinity, but Wonder Woman always gets the short end of the stick. Bats and Supes get a revision of their origin every few years (Superman's had something like four in the last decade or so), but Wonder Woman always remains shrouded in darkness. Watching this tale of how she meets Etta Candy, Steve (ugh) Trevor, and even her nemesis Barbara Minerva feels like a long (yet deserved) time coming.