When Michael asked me to write a piece for My Comic Relief he suggested it should be on DC comics. His request came right at the start of DC Comic’s Rebirth launch so unfortunately it’s only at this point, as we reach week 6 of that process that I feel I have acclimatised enough to the new titles to give some thoughts.
I’ve now read every single title published under the Rebirth moniker to date. As a process I think it has been healthy for DC Comics and has been a positive change for fans. Up until Rebirth launched I was a (much richer) regular buyer of only Batman, Detective Comics, Justice League and The Green Lantern and then supplemented from the DC line as I felt necessary. Those selections were what remained of a reignited passion for buying comics sparked by 2011’s New 52 “soft reboot”. Although much maligned, I have to say I recall the early publications from the New 52 era fondly, with the exception of the early Action Comics titles (this is sacrilege in some quarters but I’m afraid I will never be a fan of Mr Grant Morrison’s work and have given up at this point). Later issues in that series were more my scene.
Now I will admit that of late those themes have become a little more routine. They have also been drummed into comic book readers during their cinema-going now too – both Civil War and Batman v Superman reiterated similar themes – and there are similarities with the Marvel Civil War titles. So I can fully appreciate why DC Comics wanted to go down a slightly different route. So what did we get in the JL Rebirth #1? Well in my opinion it was a disappointing issue for a number of reasons. Firstly the art left a lot to be desired especially character’s faces (I’m not a fan of the team I don’t think I ever will be) and panel to panel sequencing was just plain odd. Jessica Cruz looked nothing like the character I have come to know and love (see below) in previous months since her introduction under the old pre-Rebirth dispensation. Likewise look at the clumsy “team photo” panel towards the end of the book. This is not how I want to see these characters look – it appears to me that they lack the elegance and stature which has come to be expected. There I said it.
I also detected an inconsistency of appearance for characters throughout the actual book, and plot-wise the positioning of Superman was also problematic for me. As if it was in any real doubt that he would rush to the League’s assistance! Surely Lois was thinking “thou doth protest too much Clark?” in JL Rebirth #1. Artwork aside the plots did nothing for me across the two issues to date with the exception of the cover art and most of the variant cover art which was actually pretty fine work. JL #1 was marginally better both in terms of its plotting and its art work. That issue on my reading had a nicer span of activity and a better degree of co-ordination between all the activities of the members of the team, so I’m hoping we’ve seen the start of an upswing and that the upcoming issues will be interesting once the “Rebirthing” process is settled down. Incidentally I do think that many of the actual one-off Rebirth #1 issues could probably be skipped by long term fans. There is an element of easing us in that they seem to share. Most fans could skip straight to #1 proper for the titles they want to get.
On a more serious note the title has continued to touch upon wider social issues relating to Baz’s background, false imprisonment, family context, etc, as well as Jessica Cruz’s struggle with pronounced agoraphobia, etc. In summary, to date the title has been action-packed, great artistically, has a positive diversity of featured characters, is funny and witty. Although not perfect I love it and it will be a mainstay of my pull list as long as the present formula doesn’t change too much.
Thanks for reading this post and I hope to become a regular, if perhaps slightly sporadic correspondent for Michael, on all things DC in the months ahead. I look forward to it, and anyone who wants to continue the conversation with me can do so on Twitter – on @andrewinbelfast
[Michael’s Note – Thank you Andrew for writing this. I couldn’t be happier with my first guest post! Yay! I’d also like to encourage everyone to follow Andrew on Twitter. You should also check out his incredible Star Wars Blog The Astromech Journal. Seriously, this guy loves Star Wars and comic books and he, clearly, writes about them with depth and elegance.]