Don’t call it a reboot, because they’ve been to that well a bit too often for that to work again. As DC describes it, “Rebirth” is simply the company getting back to the basics of their characters and focusing on what works best for them. While most of the titles and creative teams weren’t that surprising, there were a few notable ones: Gene Luen Yang giving us a Chinese Superman in “New Super-Man,” Scott Snyder one-upping Frank Miller with “All-Star Batman,” and Greg Rucka actually working with DC again with his return to “Wonder Woman.” These strike me as the must-read titles for the relaunch with most everything else falling into various shades of “We’ll see.”
This is also old news, but most of the titles featuring A-list characters will be double-shipping every month. The thinking here is that instead of throwing a lot of stuff at the wall in the hopes that it’ll stick, DC will earn greater profits and marketshare by putting out more issues of titles that are guaranteed to sell better. Of course, the fans buying these titles will have less money to spend on other titles and standard attrition will mean that these double-shipping titles will lose more readers in a shorter amount of time. I don’t mind this development. As an avowed trade-waiter, this just means that we’ll get the collected editions that much sooner!
DC Universe: Rebirth #1: Written by Geoff Johns with several of his favorite collaborators, Gary Frank, Ivan Reis, and Ethan Van Sciver (and Phil Jimenez) along for the ride. There’s no information about what this giant-sized issue (80 pages for $2.99!) is about beyond the declaration that, “It all starts here!” Does DC have a plan to give their universe an ongoing narrative much in the same way that Marvel has managed to with their events over the years? If they are, then letting Johns do the driving is a smart move seeing as how he has given the company many of its most memorable events over the years.
Superman: Rebirth #1/Action Comics #958: Peter Tomasi writes “Superman” which has the Man of Steel dealing with the perils of… fatherhood? Meanwhile, Dan Jurgens has Lex Luthor declaring himself to be the next Superman in “Action Comics.” The idea of Superman as a father has potential, but it’s also not something that I’ve ever really wanted to see in his ongoing adventures. Now that the kid is here, he kind of has to be acknowledged in every story. As for “Action Comics,” seeing Luthor step up and try to compete with Supes on equal terms sounds like a great hook for a story. I haven’t read Jurgens work as a writer since the 90’s, but I may see about giving his work here a shot. (Also, going back to the original numbering for “Action/Detective Comics” is cool. It’ll be neat to see the #1000th issues of both titles.)
Batman: Rebirth #1 & Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1: Notable because both of these titles are being co-written by people who are responsible for the most creatively and commercially successful runs involving these characters in recent memory. Scott Snyder and Geoff Johns, respectively. I think the idea behind having them as co-writers for these issues is to provide fans a “good housekeeping seal of approval” for incoming writers Tom King on “Batman” and Sam Humphries on “Green Lanterns.” I don’t think it’ll work, but it’s cute that DC thinks it will. As for the writers themselves, I still have yet to read anything from King — though that will change when the first volume of “The Sheriff of Babylon” arrives with the other titles in these solicitations (or if the first volume of “The Vision” from Marvel arrives first). Humphries, on the other hand, did a decent enough job with “Uncanny X-Force,” but he largely fumbled the handoff on “The Ultimates” from Jonathan Hickman. I’ll likely pass on the new “Green Lanterns” title here unless the word of mouth turns out to be particularly strong.
Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1/Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka vol. 1: Greg Rucka doesn’t write bad comics. Well, except for that one time that the Punisher entered the war zone, but that was clearly an exception! The fact that he’s back at DC after several years of bad blood between him and the publisher suggests some combination of having another “Wonder Woman” story he really wants to tell and being offered a really sweet deal to do so. I, uh… actually missed out on buying his “Wonder Woman” the first time around for reasons that currently escape me. Fortunately my error is being rewarded by DC re-collecting his run in fewer volumes.
Justice League #’s 51 & 52: Because all of the other titles that were still running since the launch of “The New 52” made it to their 52nd issues, this one will too! It’ll just do it without original writer Geoff Johns as two Dans — Jurgens and Abnett — take over writing chores for an issue each. What’re they about? Who cares! This version of “Justice League” now has 52 issues and that’s all that matters here.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles HC: In all honesty, it’s more surprising that we only got this series recently as opposed to the “Turtles’” 90’s heyday. I’m all for checking it out, as the involvement of veteran Bat-scribe James Tynion IV and artist Freddie Williams suggests that it’ll be a solid read if nothing else. Am I going to do it with this hardcover? Unless I can find it for half off somewhere, then no. Regardless of how this turns out to be quality-wise it doesn’t strike me as the kind of thing that warranted the hardcover treatment.
The Demon vol. 2: The Longest Day: Collecting the rest of Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s run on the title. Chances are you already know whether or not you’ll be picking this up when it comes out. However, if you’re still on the fence about it, I have it on good authority that you can expect to see the demon Baytor crowned as King of Hell and all of his minions bellowing in unison, “ALL HAIL THE MASTER… BAYTOR!!!”
…Or was that cut because the editors figured out what Ennis was doing right there. Well, even if that gag isn’t there, it’s still eminently representative of the kind of humor you can expect to see in this collection. And in Ennis’ less serious works as well.
DC Elseworlds: Justice League: Among other things, this volume collects the “Titans: Scissors, Paper, Stone” one-shot by Adam Warren. This makes it relevant to my interests, but not quite to the point that it justifies the $35 cover price by itself. Yes, there are other stories collected in this 424-page volume, but this is the only one that I really want to read. Maybe it’ll come on sale digitally at some point…
Superman: American Alien HC: Did we really need another look at Superman’s formative years? Even if it’s from “Chronicle” screenwriter Max Landis? According to what I’ve read, the answer is “Yes!” Rather than the work of a Hollywood writer indulging himself, “American Alien” is apparently a heartfelt and illuminating look at young Clark Kent’s life. The fact that it features great art from the likes of Nick Dragotta, Joelle Jones, and Jae Lee is just the gravy. Now this is a project that warrants the hardcover treatment it’s getting.