Here we go! DC is at it again. In a continued effort to both retain readers and appear enticing to new fans, DC Comics is rebooting their entire line – again. In May, the DC Universe as it has existed since 2011 will be retooled. The New 52 is now good and dead and the DC Universe as it existed prior is reborn. This is the Rebirth of the DC Universe as imagined by the publisher’s resident visionary, Geoff Johns.
As far as we can tell, Rebirth aims to establish a universe which will, presumably, retain the best bits of both the New 52 and the pre-Flashpoint eras of the DC Universe. A tall order, to be sure, but an exciting one nonetheless. Below are our thoughts about which of the newly announced titles we’re most excited to read, and a few we’re not.
Erik: The mothership one-shot special that kicks off DC Rebirth has a lot riding on it, but if anyone can shoulder the burden it’s Geoff Johns. Over the years, Johns has proven to have a sort of preternatural talent for being able to take the various cogs of DC Comics history and fashion it into something fresh, new, and exciting. Coming in at 80 pages with a cover price of $2.99, DC is making returning to their universe an easy proposition for lapsed readers.
Matt: It’s Geoff Johns writing with some artists I like. Besides, I want to see how this all starts.
Sarah: The $2.99 pricetag is actually mind-boggling, especially for 80 pages worth of content. Still, anyone interested in the future of DC Comics will be required to check this one out, and since DC is establishing a line wide price point of $2.99, it’s very smart and enticing to start that right out the gate. Also, I’m convinced that’s Geoff John’s hand reaching from the light and towards this cavalcade of capes and cowls. He’s the architect of the Rebirth, after all.
Byron: I am very excited for the Rebirth event. I never really got into the New 52, and by the time I was ready to, there were so many stories that I felt the time needed to invest would be too great. A reset, so to speak, or a reboot or whatever it is they are calling it nowadays, is a good opportunity for fans like myself to jump on board. (Could it also have something to do with the launch of the cinematic DCEU?)
Erik: Let’s be honest, Batman has pretty much kept DC afloat during the choppiness of the New 52. DC knows this, we know this, everyone knows this. Rebirth will see Scott Snyder get the appropriately named All-Star Batman, teaming the Batman scribe with his choice of artists for a story that sounds to be a blend of Mad Max and Gotham City. The entire line of Bat Family books sports a strong lineup of creators, and the post-Rebirth status quo brings back a host of familiar faces, like a very Robin-y looking Tim Drake, the Huntress, Batgirl, Batwoman, the Birds of Prey, and more. Batgirl by Hope Larsen and Rafael Albuquerque looks particularly fresh, moving the character out of Burnside for an adventure in the larger world.
Matt: Well, it isn’t Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher writing, so that’s a step-up already, much as I was hoping for the second coming of Gail Simone. I’m not familiar with Hope Larson but I loved Rafael Albuquerque’s work on American Vampire.
Marcus: Scott Snyder could write a Bouncing Boy title and I’d read it. I loved his run on the main Batman title and can’t imagine he won’t continue his excellent storytelling in All-Star Batman. Adding John Romita, Jr., Jock, and Sean Murphy into the mix as artists just sweetens this series for me. With Batgirl & The Birds of Prey, I’ve followed the characters’ ups and downs, so I figure I’ll see how this one goes for a bit at least.
Sarah: Looking at the line of upcoming Bat-books, I too will follow Snyder wherever he goes and will of course be picking up All-Star Batman. I may jump on Batgirl, I may not, but I’m probably more interested and invested in Batgirl & The Birds of Prey anyway. But honestly, it’s Detective Comics that has me the most excited because BATWOMAN. What happened to her solo title was travesty and I’ve been missing Kate Kane like mad.
Matt: I don’t know anything about the new creative team on Birds of Prey but if they’re taking this series back to the classic line-up, I like them already. The preview artwork looks great. And it looks like they’re bringing back the Helena Bertinelli-Huntress. As for Detective Comics, James Tynion IV is always worth a read. I loved his recent work on the back-up Batman stories and co-writing on Constantine The Hellblazer. And I want to support the return of Cassandra Cain, even if I’ve never been her biggest fan, I know what it is to have your favorite character booted into limbo.
Erik: Dan Jurgens, who for my money gets Superman better than any working comic creator, jumps onto Action Comics and it sounds like he will be leading the charge as the title makes its way to a historic issue #1000. Jurgens has been doing great work on the current Lois and Clark series, and he lends a much needed stabilizing voice to what should be DC’s flagship character. On the other end of the spectrum, writer Gene Yang is bringing us New Super-Man, an original character from China who suddenly finds himself infused with some of the power of the Man of Steel. This new hero could be an exciting addition to the tapestry of the DCU.
Matt: My favorite DC monthly right now is Superman: Lois and Clark. This book is set around the pre-Flashpoint Lois and Clark, and their son Jonathan, and is written by Dan Jurgens, so it looks like this is where that series will be continuing. Sold! As for Superman, it’s the pre-Flashpoint, married to Lois Lane-Superman. And it’s Peter Tomasi writing. Two reasons to give this a look. Lastly, I like Phil Jimenez and I love Emanuela Lupacchino. Wish they were doing the main Supergirl book, but this Superwoman title looks interesting.
Marcus: I don’t really care about Super Sons #1. I feel like the Rebirth is way too saturated with Super-titles, and have longed for quality over quantity across comics for a while. With that in mind, this is an easy title to ignore.
Erik: Greg Rucka is back writing for DC, and he’s taking on Wonder Woman. It’s one title but available twice monthly, and in an interesting twist the title will toggle back and forth between storylines. Essentially, the format delivers two ongoing Wonder Woman books. Nicola Scott joins Rucka on art for a “Year One” style story, with Liam Sharp providing the artwork for the “current” timeline. Wonder Woman is property that has bounced around wildly in quality over the years. Here’s hoping the steady hand of Rucka and the talented artists announced will right the ship and steer Diana to a new era of greatness.
Matt: I’m probably the only person in the world who thinks Greg Rucka is overrated as a writer. That being said, he did do a good job expanding the Amazon culture during his run on Wonder Woman and the gods know that Wonder Woman needs that after the hatchet job Brian Azzarello pulled on them during his run. I’m still mostly giving this a look-see because I love Nicola Scott’s artwork.
Sarah: I am pumped for Rucka on Wonder Woman! Super pumped, in fact. Though of the titles she’s appearing in, Trinity has me most intrigued. I really do love seeing the Bats, Supes, and Wondy interact and already that cover art from Manapul has me swooning!
Erik: The Justice League books and associated titles fell short for me. Justice League is being written by Bryan Hitch and drawn by Tony Daniel. We weren’t shown anything particularly compelling about the book, and it’s hard to get excited about the classic gathering of DC heroes due to almost yearly relaunches. Show me something different than the big seven throwing punches.
Erik: It’s easy to forget, but the New Teen Titans once stood toe-to-toe with Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men in sales, excitement, and energy. The Titans corner of the DCU has been wobbling along for years now, with some recent takes being not terrible, but never getting close to the white-hot days of yore. DC Rebirth aims to reaffirm the Titans corner of the DCU, with an adjective-less Titans starring older legacy characters like Nightwing and Donna Troy. The second title, Teen Titans, features Damian Wayne-Robin working with or possibly against a cast of the next generation of superhero protégés, with what looks to be the New 52-version of Wally West as Kid Flash and few other familiar characters. Maybe with this one-two punch of old and new DC can bolster the Titans family back to its former perch in comicdom.
Matt: I’m not the biggest Titans fan, but I’m willing to give anything by Dan Abnett a try based on his previous work. As for Teen Titans, see my Green Arrow entry below for my thoughts about Ben Percy’s writing. We’ll be lucky if Beast Boy isn’t asking Raven if she’s into furries. Ignoring that, I loathe Damian Wayne and Jonboy Meyers’ artwork. Pass.
Erik: Writer John Semper, a veteran of the animation world who worked on the ‘90s Spider-Man series, jumps into comics with Cyborg. Semper quoted the theory of the Singularity, where human consciousness blends with machinery, and also promised an exploration of Cyborg as a black man living in Detroit. The combination sounds like a super-interesting take on a character that has often been lacking added dimensions.
Erik: Aquaman hasn’t been interesting for me since the Peter David-era in the 1990s, and that looks to be the case still. Give the man a hook!
Matt: Dan Abnett’s Hercules is the best book at Marvel nobody is reading. It will be interesting to see what he can do with the mythology of Atlantis and another underrated hero. I’m a little underwhelmed by the covers but I can usually tough that out for a good story.
Sarah: The New 52 was a godsend for Aquaman. I had always been intrigued by the character, but Geoff Johns made me fall in love with him. And more importantly, Johns made Mera an equal partner for Aquaman, transforming the King and Queen of Atlantis into the power couple of the DCU. I’m hopeful the Abnett will continue the trend, seeing as Aquaman suffered greatly after John’s depature, and I’d like to see Walker, Merino, and Briones depict Aquaman as the dreamboat I always. Yes, I have huge crush on Aquaman thanks to the work of Ivan Reis. But even if this new Aquaman creative team doesn’t wow me, there are still plans for Johns and Reis to return to Aquman with the Rise of the Seven Seas event.
Byron: I have always liked Aquaman so I am excited to have a series I can jump into from the start and enjoy. I am a bit nervous about Dan Abnett being on the writing team as I had many problems with his comic Predator: Life and Death. But his work on Warhammer has earned him at least some leeway.
Matt: The biggest problem with the Green Arrow post-Flashpoint was a lack of cohesive vision. That’s still a problem. A bigger problem is Ben Percy’s writing, which turned Green Arrow from a superhero title into an urban fantasy à la Anita Blake. They already tried bringing back most of the classic elements of the Green Arrow series with ‘The Kingdom’ storyline and Percy’s first action as a writer was to throw all of those changes out along with all the elements meant to appeal to fans of Arrow, so I’m not hopeful about him turning this title around. Particularly in the wake of news that Oliver’s newfound social activism is spurred by Black Canary! The whole thing sounds like a regression for Dinah and as much as I love the classic GA/BC romance, I wish it was coming back under the pen of someone like Tom Taylor or Gail Simone.
Sarah: I’m pretty stoked to hear Black Canary will be joining Green Arrow, though I’m withholding judgement on whether it’s a good idea or not until we learn more. Still, I’d love to dive back into a GA title. I enjoy the Arrow-verse, but it just isn’t the same Green Arrow I fell for in the animated classic, Justice League Unlimited. This version may not be that either, but my interest is piqued.
Erik: Green Lantern is splitting between Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern Corps, and two new Green Lanterns for Earth. It strikes me as the problem Green Lantern had 30 years ago, where no one character feels particularly central or special.
Bryon: I’m excited for the ethnic diversity being displayed in Green Lanterns #1 and also for the writers who are involved. I enjoyed Sam Humphries work on Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men.
Matt: I dropped out of the Green Lantern books a few years ago because there was no way to read just ONE of them – you had to commit to four or five books to understand the story and only half of them were worth reading. Robert Venditti’s writing is hit-and-miss with me (I’m not sure how much of that is due to editorial interference at DC because I like his independent work) but for Ethan Van Scriver artwork, I’ll put a toe in the water.
Sarah: In my opinion, Harley Quinn is the best thing DC is publishing right now. Palmiotti and Connor have nailed Harley’s complicated characterization perfectly and I simply cannot wait for more!
Marcus: I’m picking this because I love the current Harley Quinn series and it’s one of the only titles that I love not affected by Rebirth. Consistency wins. But as for Red Hood and The Outlaws, I’m so tired of Scott Lobdell’s take on Red Hood and adding a “twisted Trinity” aspect to the title (with Bizarro and Artist) isn’t going to make me feel any better about it.
Matt: Yes, this book is still going on. Yes, Scott Lobdell is still writing it. No, we don’t have any proof it’s because Scott Lobdell is blackmailing Jim Lee. The disjointed artwork of Dexter Soy is one more reason to avoid this one. And as for The Hellblazer, James Tynion IV and Ming Doyle are out. Strike One. Simon Oliver, who is writing it, wrote one of the worst Hellblazer stories of all time – the Chas Chandler centered mini-series ‘The Knowledge’. Strike Two. The art is by Moritat, whose fill-in work on Batgirl and Black Canary was less than impressive. Strike Three. I’m out.
For a full list of all the new titles coming in DC Rebirth, visit Inside Pulse for their complete write-up.