Last week I made it a point to try out a new comic book store after being disappointed with the way my old “home” store handled FCBD last month. When I walked into the new place I immediately knew I had found a new home for my comic book needs as the general vibe of the place was much more friendly and welcoming than the place I had been picking up my comics from.
I felt so welcome that I walked out with not a bad little haul.
In the time since I’ve managed to take in the two Rebirth books, books that I have been anxious to read ever since the Rebirth announcement weeks back.
One of the books delivered and the other I found mildly disappointing.
Batman: Rebirth is a passing of the torch issue as the reigns are handed over from Scott Snyder to Tom King. Snyder has done a largely excellent job with the main Batman book since the start of the New 52, his only misstep being the Zero Year arc which wasn’t bad by any measure but did go too long for my tastes. Snyder is now moving on to helm the All-Star Batman series while Tom King will be taking over duties with the Batman title.
This particular book was fairly disappointing to me. I’m not all the way through the New 52 Batman run, a little more than halfway through Snyder and Greg Capullo’s amazing Endgame story, and that may account for some of my disappointment. Characters show up that I’ve only briefly seen before if at all and in capacities as allies to Batman that I’ve not seen them in before. The conflict is largely limited to a brief fight with Calendar Man over the release of spores of some sort but no explanation is given. Batman gives Duke, a guy I first encountered in Endgame (I think), a yellow and black hero suit that looks damn near like a motocross get-up with zero explanation of what is going on with him (I am guessing Duke is part of the “We are Robin” series but I’m not certain).
After twenty some odd largely unsatisfying pages the book ends with Alfred dropping avocado halves into the cave beneath Wayne manner while Bruce and Duke kick a tree together. Maybe it is because of where I am in the chronology of the Batman series but this story felt really disjointed and left too much unexplained.
Final Verdict: 5 out of 10.
Batman Rebirth is nothing more than a painfully average book. It sets the stage for King’s run on the series but it doesn’t do anything to make me excited for it, which is a shame as the departure of Snyder and Capullo from the book definitely meant the book needed to be enticing. I know plenty of people who are upset about the changing of the guard and this book will do nothing to make them feel excitement or optimism about the series. Maybe All-Star or the other Batman books will be better but this was not a good first step.
DC Universe: Rebirth is literally and figuratively a completely different story.
Geoff Johns is at his absolute best here, crafting a tale that spans decades of DC history. DCU Rebirth touches on everything from Crisis on Infinite Earths to Flashpoint and beyond. Much like the Batman book there are plot points I was unaware of or were mildly confused about (namely certain characters being dead while alternate universe versions are not only alive and well but are discussing the death of the other version or a scene early on with Batman acknowledging that 3 versions of The Joker are on the loose) but these lapses in my personal knowledge are ones that will be corrected in due time and aren’t of a nature that hurt the book in the way the Batman book was.
Johns has masterfully found a way to tuck the post-Flashpoint New 52 continuity, a continuity that altered timelines and relationships, into the larger long existing DC continuity and then teased one hell of a bombshell explaining why the continuity was altered so drastically as Flashpoint resolved itself.
When I started reading comic books again several years back Flashpoint was where I made my re-entry into DC fandom. I had not been following the books for a long time and felt that a major event like Flashpoint was the perfect point to leap back in. Having the post-Flashpoint continuity suddenly fleshed out like this makes it feel a lot like coming full circle and the way in which it has been done could not have been more perfect. I really want to discuss it here but I absolutely do not want to spoil how DC has managed to retroactively explain the New 52 in a manner that I would have never expected (and absolutely love). Characters long removed from mainstream continuity return, while other characters you would never expect to see are teased. There is a lot to talk about here in this extra long issue but I do not want to spoil a word of it for you.
Final Verdict: 9 out of 10
If you are a DC fan you owe it to yourself to get your hands on this book and with its $2.99 asking price there is no good reason not to. Go get it, read it and come find me because if you love DC like I always have I can’t wait to talk to you about it.