This week's standouts include a TITANS reunion and Doomsday's final stand against the Man of Steel in ACTION COMICS!
The DC Comics big event of the warm weather season, which was timed almost in conjunction with the blockbuster premiere of the major cinematic effort Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and to also run similarly in conjunction with the primetime season finales of The CW cliffhangers for Arrow, The Flash, and DC's Legends of Tomorrow is named "Rebirth". In terms of the importance of what that means to the imprint behind the strategy, DC Comics had to reassess the state of its publications especially after the dramatic resetting of 2011 that was introduced as “The New 52”.
Some of the folks at DC Comics didn’t “The New 52” worked very well after all, and that a return to the legacy stories that had defined the imprint for its more than 75 year history was desperately needed. Borrowing a page from their Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns the new push to re-inspire the overall line would be called “Rebirth”. Johns had used that moniker to reinvigorate the contemporary histories of two DC Comics favorites: Green Lantern and The Flash with great success.
Again. A little backstory. On paper "The New 52" reboot of the DC Comics Universe, following the events of the FlashPoint miniseries seemed like a good idea. Basically the intention had been to give audiences a fresh perspective on favorite characters, dust off some longstanding icons, give them a new paint job and make them more contemporary for new readers looking for an "in" to the universe. After several crisis-level storylines including Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, 52 and Final Crisis -- DC heroes needed a break.
That break meant a retooling and re-editing of more than 75 years of legacies to more manageably approximate a timetable that established the DC Comics pantheon as having emerged entirely in the new millennium. Essentially the greatest heroes gathered defending the earth from an inter-dimensional invasion to establish the Justice League in the last decade, establishing Batman as the elder-statesman, and both Superman and Wonder Woman as otherworldly phenomenon.
Following the climax of FlashPoint the super-speedster The Flash reset the timeline, forcing "three" imperfectly fractured versions of the universe to realigned into the one currently in existence, the "Prime" continuity of what has been determined as Earth-0 or Earth Prime. Since relaunching the main line publications have had some moderate success, but many fans felt that a major disservice had been order as several very popular characters and situations were retconned out of DC Comics overall continuity.
Back in a Kid Flash! To appease the weary DC Universe: Rebirth #1 threw everything for a loop by reintroducing Wally West, the original Kid Flash (later turned Flash) was effectively erased from continuity after the events of FlashPoint — effectively opening up a whole other can of worms! Where had Wally been all this time? Why is it that it isn’t until his return that anyone remembers who he is, and who is responsible for the gap — 10 missing years — of history that is still unaccounted for?
During the course of the last several weeks, DC Comics has been working to answer those mysteries, bringing many longtime comic book arcs to an end, starting others from scratch and bringing back some very important players, while saying good-bye to several other anomalies (the death of “New 52” Superman is still vaguely mysterious). Rebirth titles have purposely served as prologues to reinitialize titles going forward helping to bring readers up to speed (so to speak) on what’s been going on, or more precisely: what’s been missing all this time.
There have been some serious hits and misses along the way…
This past week DC Comics continues on its path to "Rebirth" revisiting legacies with some very interesting results as the theme continues to evolve, and the curtain is pulled back on a potentially greater threat that has tampered with our heroes realities with some nefarious intent...
Titans #2 by Dan Abnett and Brett Booth is beyond a doubt the “lead” title to be digesting at the moment, especially since most of the initial arc deals with the return of Wally West, who has rejoined his teammates, and childhood friends, after they found each other at the conclusion of last year’s Titans Hunt miniseries. Wally has reassumed his place as a “Flash” sporting a familiar costume but with a darker color scheme. Now that the Titans (formerly the original “Teen Titans”) are back together it turns out that several enemies from their past are remounting vendettas targeting (who else) Wally West! The issue reveals that the time-hopping techno-magi Abra Kadabra is plotting to bring down the Flash, and if he can take out a Titan (or two) along the way so be it! ☛ If you’re only reading one book post-Rebirth this should be it! Abnett and Booth are really on target to recapture the feel of what made the Titans one of the most beloved team-players in the DC Comics line. With Wally West at the center of the arc hopefully it will lead to the ultimate reveal: Who is behind the missing time or Who has been watching the DC Universe?
Action Comics #962 by Dan Jurgens and Stephen Segovia wraps up the cataclysmic return of the rampaging Doomsday (and not just any Doomsday, the Doomsday). Since the “death” of the “New 52” Superman, we’ve learned that another Man of Steel has been living among us. The Convergence crossover event left several open ended storylines open, chief among them the existence of the post-Crisis Superman, his wife Lois Lane and their son Jon. Taking up where his predecessor left off, Superman finds himself in the middle of Metropolis battling his old foe, alongside none other than another arch-nemesis Lex Luthor, who has himself emerged as Metropolis newest “Superman”. In the midst of all the chaos a mysterious stranger with more answers than he may be insisting upon is watching all the action carefully, and a another “Clark Kent” (without super powers) has also appeared! ☛ The Doomsday arc has proven interesting, and the “return” of Superman having to integrate himself into this new world also has its charm, but if the various threads ultimately don’t lead to somewhere that makes some sense, audiences may easily grow wary.
Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1 by Keith Giffen and Scott Kolins sure showed great promise when the characters in the legacy made their (re)appearance in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 but this Beetle is far less enigmatic than its previous incarnation, and why has Doctor Fate mysteriously made an entrance, standing in front of a resurrected Ted Kord (yes, the billionaire industrialist is back from the dead) nonetheless, but offered no answers? In all honesty, Jaime Reyes never really struck me as an innovation in the Modern Era of DC Comics. The character always came off as the imprint’s answer to the competitors famously headlining, friendly neighborhood web-slinger. This time around Giffen and Kolins are promising to get to the bottom of the beetle scarab that’s attached itself Jaime Reyes, and ultimately answer its link to the legacy of the Blue Beetle, but accept for the slap-sticky one-liners, it all feels a bit old-hat and the art work is too Saturday-Morning Cartoon to boot. ☛ The Blue Beetle emerged as one of the more interesting heroes of the post-Crisis continuity and now that Kord has re-emerged, after a fatal head blow at the beginning of Infinite Crisis perhaps this retcon may ultimately be worth sticking out.
Another title out this week worth exploring… Deathstroke #1 features the mercenary with a penchant for termination that was first introduced in The New Teen Titans and was created by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez on a new mission. More streamlined and as merciless as ever, this may prove the sleeper hit of the Rebirth renaissance.