SO FAR…so good

By Kelvin Kariuki

DC Rebirth was a breath of fresh promising air to comic book readers as soon as the project was announced. It set out to fix the major problems that plagued the new 52 but not as a reboot, rather as an injection of new life to the story telling. Right from the start, it promised to be something more dynamic and true to the DC characters as we have known them. The first book was DC universe Rebirth by Geoff johns giving us bits and pieces of the different titles, teased us of appearing characters, brought back Wally West who was trapped in the speed force and introduced us to a presence who tampered with the universe erasing a decade from these heroes’ lives. Feels long? That’s cause its 80 pages.

 After that the different titles started rolling out and kept rolling out. Two years later, they don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. So how has the Rebirth experience been?

1. Continuity

It’s worth mentioning again that rebirth was not a reboot of the universe. It was a continuation of what already was from the preexisting new 52. However, it was as complete as one. New 52 readers continue from the Darkseid war but that doesn’t mean new readers can’t start off by reading Rebirth. On the contrary, Rebirth is a perfect start for a new DC reader. Throughout the Rebirth books, there has been subtle mentions of past issues and appearances of characters from before the rebirth, but none of them can really cause much confusion. That’s the beauty of it. The writers have done an incredible job of explaining the pre-rebirth comics as flashbacks and less like a must read. Books such as Wonderwoman even go further and give a whole origin story for Diana. Rebirth has held on for so long mainly because of good writing that has kept the readers glued on for so long.

However, currently most of the major titles have past the #50 issue mark and the monthly ones past #20. This might be a good thing for a person who started from day one but for newbies, it’s a disaster. This is considering most new readers see a comic on the 40th issue and worry about the time it will take to catch up. The closer the comic is to #1, the more it appeals. This limits the growth of fan base these titles acquire now.

2. Story wise

Rebirth promised a more grounded approach to the characters and boy did it deliver. The crossovers and ground breaking events have been kept to a minimum, while focus shifting to depth of the characters. From Batman becoming more relatable and less godlike to Superman learning to be a perfect dad, characters are less trying to save the world and more developing to better heroes to look up to.

Furthermore, smaller characters have had a better go in terms of story. Books such as Green Arrow, Deathstroke, Supersons, The Terrifics, Aquaman and Green Lanterns to name just but a few are considered as good as Batman and Superman and to some even better. The writers had a really elaborate vision of these characters before taking the pen and the reward has been fulfilling. They made Aquaman cool before his solo big screen break, that’s something.

A long run is great but it also has its upsets. Sometimes there is a change in writers or artists that make the flow inconsistent. Case in point, Wonderwoman had an amazing start where a team that had a specific goal in mind and after it ended and they left, the continuation lacks the fluidity it once had.    

With a big roster of comics also comes the chance that some smaller ones get overlooked and on the long run, are cancelled. Bluebeetle was cancelled before hitting the 20th issue which was sad for fans.

3. Characters

DC has a lot of characters, and most of these characters have a fan base. Obviously, some bigger than others hence some get a biweekly title, others a monthly and others have to sideline on other peoples. Rebirth does a really good job squeezing characters into the existing titles. Not all feature in every issue but its good they appear ones in a while to assure us they are still kicking butt somewhere.

Wallace West makes his presence felt throughout the universe from Flash and Titan, Ted Kord and Doctor Fate return in Bluebeetle, Boostergold is running around in Batman and Action comics to whenever, Batman creates a team in Detective comics with Spoiler, Red Robin, Orphan, Batwoman, Azrael, Batwing and Clayface, there is a Titan and Teentitan meaning every sidekick is featured somewhere. Bottom line is, most of your favorite characters are somewhere in Rebirth, but I can’t promise all.

Not only are fan favorites returning, but new fan favorites are being made. Characters such as Silencer, an assassin who just wants a normal life but when has that ever happened, Sideways, a teenager who gets the power to creates rifts (doors) ­­­­­­­to anywhere, Green Lanterns Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz who are left in charge of Sector 2814(earth and neighbors) by Hal Jordan, and best for last, a Kenyan technomacian (not sure if this is a word) who is recruited into the Suicide Squad. These and many more like damage and Emiko queen are sure to entice you to join their fan base in future.

4. Mini-series and graphic novels

For rebirth to keep the stories flowing consistently for this long, it has stepped down from those ground-breaking stories that essentially force titles to start again. The mini-series have been toned down to feel more like regular series such as all-star batman, ragman and deadman. However, four books have to be talked about.

The biggest talking point of 2017 was Scott Snyder’s Dark Nights Metal. This was the first major event in Rebirth and it became bigger than anyone could imagine. A dark world with all of batman’s nightmares tries to replace the world as we know it and though stopped, it left a hole that opened the universe to bigger and more powerful threats. The book is packed page to page with more action than you can digest. If batman is your guy, then this book is your cup of tea.

The second book is Tom King’s Mister Miracle. The ongoing series is outstanding and I would personally consider it one of the best DC books if not the best. Scott Free is a brilliant escape artist battling to escaping from the one thing he can’t, death. Watch him struggle with his past in Apokolips, family feud, his love with his wife big barda, and the exhaust of leading a never-ending war between New Genesis and Apokolips. This right here is writing at its finest.

The third book is the just concluded Batman; The White Knight. This is a book out of continuity that basically answers the question, what would happen if the Joker was sane. Every Batman fan knows that Joker and the Batman are yin and yang, like Heath Ledger's Joker said in The Dark Knight, they're "destined to do this forever." So how exactly will batman react when his antithesis is no more? And is Jack Napier really sane and are his intention pure? Let me not spoil you the fun.

The last book is Geoff john’s Doomsday Clock. Teased in the big book DC universe Rebirth, then some more in a Batman Flash crossover, the series is basically uniting the worlds of the DCU and Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Someone tampered with the universe and all fingers point to doctor Manhattan. He came to the universe and disguised himself as someone we don’t know, or do we? Back in the 80’s Watchmen universe, Veldt’s secret plan to save the world is discovered and there is chaos everywhere. He enlists the help of a new Rorschach and a crazy couple to find doctor Manhattan to fix it all. The series is still ongoing and it’s living up to its biding.

5. Future

Past the two year mark, where is the train heading to?

Some runs have ended completely such as Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps at #50, The Justice League of America at #29, and already the characters have gotten space on other teams. Some runs started off completely or regrouped after the completion of metal and No Justice (small event after metal) such as Superman now with a new writer Bendis, Justice League with new members and a new writer Scott Snyder, Titans and Teentitans have newer characters going forward. That in mind, most runs continue with no intention of stopping soon, with Batman writer promising to continue till #100. The culmination of Doomsday Clock which is currently set a year ahead of continuity, will surely bring a lot of change to the universe as we know it.

As for newer projects, Geoff johns has announced he is continuing the Shazam run which went cold in 2013. Tom King has a new mini-series called Heroes in Crisis which looks into the PTSD after crime fighting dropping in September. Justice League Odyssey, a league in deep space, is also planned for September. Bendis is planning to release a few original mini-series since he has tied the knot with DC comics. Vertigo comics, a DC branch for more mature content has launched the Sandman Universe that will include a set of books such as House of Whispers, Books of Magic, The Dreaming and Lucifer.

If you ever thought DC was dark, prepare to be surprised even further when they finally release DC Black Label, not the liquor but maybe should be read with one. This is a publishing imprint that will feature unique, standalone stories set outside DC continuity. Books set to be featured included ‘Batman: Damned’, ‘The Other History of The DC Universe’ and Batman: The Three Jokers (yes, there are 3) the last one written by Geoff johns himself.

It’s hard to argue that DC Rebirth has not been a success. Some stories are meant for you and some for the other guy. The beauty is that there is something for everyone. If you aren’t on the rebirth bandwagon yet, you definitely should hop on now before it’s too late. Batman fans have Detective comics, Batman, All-star Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl, Batwoman, Red hood and the outlaws, Batman beyond, Batgirl and the birds of prey. Superman fans can read Action comics, Superman, Superwoman, Supergirl, new Superman and the JLC and Supersons. Team runs include Justice League, Justice League of America, Hal Jordan and the green lantern corps, Titans, Teentitans, Suicide squad, the Trinity, Injustice (from the game) and Justice League dark. Some of the solo runs are Wonderwoman, Flash, Green arrow, Aquaman, Cyborg, Deathstroke, Hellblazer, Green lanterns, Bluebeetle, Mera, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Hawkman, Plastic Man, Raven. The new age of superheroes releases are Silencer, Sideways, The Terrifics, The Unexpected, the Curse of Brimstone, The Immortal Men, New Challengers and Damage and if you have a thing for the weird, check out DC Young Animal books Eternity girl, SHADE the changing girl which leads to SHADE the changing woman, Doom Patrol, Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye, Mother Panic and Bug: The Adventures of Forager

If you don’t have an idea on where to start or what will suit you, hit me up. Until next time you nerds...

Keep calm and read comics.

facebook: Kelvin Kyle
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By NAICCON on Oct 11, 2018

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