The Editor’s Notes is an opinion column allowing our writers to express their truest feelings about comic books, the comic book industry, and all that it inspires. The views expressed within belong solely to their author.
We’re about four months into the wildly successful DC Rebirth – a universal relaunch of sorts of the entire DC Comics line. This major overhaul was a move to fix the narrative problems and sales troubles the company found themselves in at the five year mark of the New 52. What does this mean to somebody whose monthly comic pull list didn’t feature many DC titles?
I have been a passionate comic book fan for as long as I can remember, leaning more into the Marvel camp than DC. However, I have always loved and appreciated the characters that DC has to offer, having read most of their essential comics. But by the end of the New 52 era, the only books I found myself keeping up with were Batman and Justice League.
When DC announced Rebirth and everything it was to entail, I was totally on-board and saw it as a chance to fully dive back into their universe. Having a (mostly) unbiased opinion on characters not named Batman, I welcomed fresh takes and met them with an open mind. Now with that little introduction, here is the reaction to DC Rebirth from the perspective of a Marvel fanboy.
Starting with the brilliant and massive issue of DC Comics Rebirth #1, I instantly found myself looking forward to Wednesdays more than ever. Almost four months in and I went from subscribing to three DC Comics titles to 22. Only three of those books are Batman titles. There is actual competition for my favorite book from titles not about the Dark Knight, which I have never even come close to saying before. I can safely say that, at this point, DC firmly has their hooks in me – but why exactly?
First thing’s first, the talent behind these comic books consists of a deep roster of today’s best creators; Tom King, Scott Snyder, James Tynion, Greg Rucka, Sam Humphries, Josh Williamson, Peter J. Tomasi, Robert Venditti, Tim Seeley, Dan Abnett, and Lord Geoff Johns just to name a few. I find myself getting emotional over characters (i.e. Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Superman) that I have never cared much about before outside of the Justice League cartoons. Every issue has done exactly what it was designed to do and I am now invested in almost every Rebirth title (even Green Arrow has gotten better since its shaky start). Characters are being given the right voice and thrown into stories that don’t feel like re-hashed comic book trope vomit.
My biggest change of opinion has to be my complete 180 on Superman. I always mocked fans of the Man of Steel before, but now find myself among them. I haven’t caved and bought any shirts sporting the “S”, but I’ve come close and experience a racing heart any time Jon Kent is in danger. There’s an overwhelming feeling of love I feel, on a universal scale, for all these characters that I struggled to find a connection to for years.
A collectively smart move from a creative standpoint was not starting off with a big event – especially in light of the flood of Civil War II titles coming out of Marvel. This has allowed each title to breath and gain its own identity as they establish what this new era is for each character. But if that isn’t enough and you want large scale hero collaboration, there’s Justice League. This book has been an event in itself as new members combine their efforts with classic members and tackle a global threat; DC has all their bases covered.
For the first time in a very long time, the best product coming out of DC Comics is their comics. Their animated universe may have taken a step back, but if that means we get top notch comic books every week, I’ll take it! The company is struggling mightily in getting their cinematic universe going in the right direction, but that that makes these books look even better in comparison. The more distance, tonally and thematically, they put between the movies and the comics is all for the better. Most Marvel titles right now are trying to reflect their on-screen adaptations, and that has hurt more than helped (see #2 on my list of 5 Terrible Things Happening In Comics Right Now).
Another huge factor in DC winning me over has been the schedule and pricing. Double-shipping can be overwhelming and readers can easily fall behind due to there simply being more books released every month than before. However, I refuse to see more comics (especially when they’re really good) in any way being a bad thing. The frequency of releases plays a tremendous part in holding my interest on books that don’t start with “Bat” or “Detective”. There is a noticeable void in my pull list on weeks that don’t feature many Rebirth titles (which does give me more time to stay current on Marvel and other publishers). The cheaper cost of each comic (at $2.99) also helps keep my interest in titles that I usually give a shorter leash. For example, I would not have stuck with Green Arrow had it retailed a $3.99.
DC Rebirth has been a major home-run financially and creatively, but it also did something that is hard to admit: it has exposed some flaws in the overall slate Marvel is currently producing. Don’t get me wrong, I still read about 65% of what Marvel releases each week, but certain titles are just getting pushed further down my reading priority list. Right now Marvel is mostly focused on Civil War II, re-imagining classic heroes, and their impending relaunch (which DC’s success has totally forced them to do). By sheer volume of excitement, DC has the edge on Marvel right now, but that will hopefully make for a healthier comic book industry as the rivalry heats back up.
In no way am I jumping ship on Marvel for DC, but I am totally won over by Rebirth. Nothing is better for comic books than when the big two companies push each other, and there’s a whole lot of that happening right now. I will always love both companies and their characters to death; my heart is happy and full now that both of them are thriving again. I will also try to keep myself in check as we are still in the “honeymoon phase” of DC Rebirth. (Don’t forget how promising the New 52 looked at first!)
Cheers to DC Comics and its Rebirth, they have gotten this Marvel fanboy to open his heart back up to them.
How do you feel about DC Rebirth so far? Follow me on Twitter and let’s talk comics!