My first issue of the Flash changed the way I looked at comics. It was during the Geoff Johns run, and the Flash was teaming up with Nightwing, fighting against Gorilla Grodd in the Flash Museum. It was an immediately exciting issue, but there was something more to it that hooked me; The Flash Museum itself. The Flash was smashing through exhibits focused on his villains, while Grodd tore through statues in his quest to vanquish his foe. There was a history to these characters, and their world. Nightwing and Flash were best friends, and referenced their past. It was a whole world of curiosity and adventure. With DC Rebirth, I feel this same sense of adventure. I feel a history, I feel a curiosity, I feel a smile creeping across my face as I turn every page. And it’s a feeling I welcome.
It all starts with the DC Universe: Rebirth Special. Written by Geoff Johns himself, it reflects on everything that has made DC so fantastic for over 75 years. It honors the legacies of characters past and present, feeling like a tour of the DC Universe. We see the heroes we know and love, and our narrator tells us a tale of wonder and hope. Even with doom looming on the horizon, there is greatness in the future. Love is blooming, possibilities are opening up. It’s a reflection on a universe that is filled with heroes and potential. They have nothing but a world of opportunity ahead of them, and we are welcome to witness their greatest days.
However, it’s easy to write a single great comic, especially for the masterful Geoff Johns. The real worth of Rebirth comes from the strength of the individual titles, which are now pouring onto shelves. With a string of Rebirth Specials for the different books, DC is showing the different tales that we will have the privilege of reading for the foreseeable future. And they too are truly masterful. Batman Rebirth sets the Dark Knight down a familiar path, taking in a troubled youth with the potential for greatness. Duke Thomas, star of We are Robin, finds himself welcomed into Wayne Manor, brought into the master detective’s inner circle of trust. Batman says “I’m trying… something new.” It is both familiar and different, as Batman himself rarely welcomes “New”. But with the co-writing duo of Scott Snyder and Tom King, the former writer and the new, we see a commentary on the title itself. For anybody who has read Grayson, they know the title is in great hands, with the potential for another legendary Batman run.
Where Batman Rebirth heads into a new direction, Green Arrow Rebirth reflects on what has worked in the past. By bringing Black Canary into the title for the first time for years, Ben Percy and Otto Schmidt are able to capture that sense of adventure that has at times eluded the series. The two characters have had next to no interaction in the New 52 and watching their first interactions, knowing the great history of the two, creates possibilities for the future. It is enthralling and enough to make your heart race. Not to mention that Green Arrow finally has his trademark goatee back, which is a treat in itself.
Green Lanterns Rebirth and Superman Rebirth are layered with legacy and history, something key to both franchises. Lanterns remembers the heroes that have embraced the mantle beforehand, while understanding that a new path must be forged. Superman reflects on the man who has pioneered heroism for so long, and how he must question his place in the world for the first time in years. He must honor the legacy of being the Last Son of Krypton, and face the hard truths of the world that nobody else can endure.
Rebirth has the extreme advantage of learning from the past few years of DC’s line shifts. The New 52 redefined the comic book industry. It completely changed the way that every major publisher does business, and was a huge influence on the Marvel NOW! direction. DC You was a creative darling, focusing on bold new directions with classic properties, exposing them to new markets. Rebirth in many ways combines the best of both of these approaches, taking the flagship properties of DC Comics and sending them in new directions with new creative teams. By streamlining the number of titles, they strengthen their narratives. It is more important to have less books and have them be fantastic than to have a multitude of mediocre books.
To me, Rebirth means hope. DC has thoroughly planned this relaunching of their titles in a way we haven’t seen from the publisher in years, even decades. In addition to the editorial staff, Geoff Johns is personally overseeing the directions of the new line of titles. There is a palpable sense of curiosity in their titles with an influx of new characters and new directions, but there is also a respect for the legacy of the company and its history. This is wonderfully embodied by New Superman, Kenan Kong, and classic Superman, with a wife and family.
When I read that first fateful issue of the Flash, I was taken aback by the idea of a hero living up to this great history. A hero always trying to be the best he possibly could be, trying to achieve the greatness of the past. DC Rebirth is DC reclaiming their great history, and trying to live up to the greatness we all remember so fondly. With an immeasurable wealth of talent behind the new titles and a great sense of possibility, I cannot wait to witness the DC Universe unfolding in front of us. I may not have been witness to the dawn of the company, but I am honored to be here for Rebirth.
You can pick up all of the DC Universe Rebirth titles at any of our three NYC stores (Times Square, Grand Central, Downtown) or online HERE.
The views expressed herein are solely those of the writer, and not Midtown Comics. Additionally, Midtown Comics makes no representations as to the accuracy of any of the information expressed herein.