We’ve got a new number 1 issue today and another Rebirth issue… Man, they are dragging out all of these new titles, aren’t they? It’s The Hellblazer 1 and Blue Beetle Rebirth 1 today on Subway Shorts!
Blue Beetle Rebirth 1
Written by Keith Giffen
Art by Scott Kolins
One of the more confusing things about the DC Comics Rebirth initiative is the company’s determination to continue the legacies they’ve set up, so when they reboot their continuity, they have multiple characters to juggle and SOMEONE is going to get upset when the focus is on someone else. DC Comics went through this with the New 52 and Blue Beetle, when Ted Kord – who was killed violently during the Countdown to Infinite Crisis Special – was left out in favor of the relatively new Jaime Reyes version.
So, here, DC Comics is trying a course correction. Sure, Jaime Reyes is still the Blue Beetle, with a weird scarab attached to his back, but now he has billionaire tech genius Ted Kord following him around in his Bug Ship and trying to help Jaime fight crime. Of course, the results in this Rebirth issue probably leave a bit to be desired. But that kind of slapstick comedy is a hallmark of Keith Giffen. So where another writer might cause this to be more groan-inducing, Giffen’s writing makes everything work.
And once we establish the new status quo with Jaime and Ted, we get a sense of the threats they’ll face in the new book – a villain and a mystery. The villain is set up with a battle inside a SunDollar – the DC Comics version of a Starbucks – while the mystery is introduced via a cameo from Dr. Fate, telling Ted Kord the scarab that’s merged with Jaime isn’t extraterrestrial. It’s mystical.
This could be interesting, and with Giffen writing and Scott Kolins on art, the book has high potential for enjoyment.
The Hellblazer 1
Written by Simon Oliver
Art by Moritat
When DC Comics took John Constantine away from its Vertigo line and into the DC Universe proper during the New 52 changeover, a lot of what made the character unique was toned down in order to fit with his new surroundings. The new Hellblazer series they created when the Constantine book was cancelled was a step in the right direction, but John was still in New York City and away from one of the central tenets of his character – being in England.
Now, with Rebirth, John is back in The Smoke, and things begin to return to normal for him – which is really weird for everyone else. We kick things off with a cameo from Swamp Thing, looking for his former girlfriend Abby Arcane. So John sets him up with another old friend (meaning someone who hates John), in the form of Mercury, a powerful mystic who John met when he was on the run from police and joined a hippie commune.
We also get a framing sequence of two powerful characters who were involved in the events that kicked off World War I, who we can only assume will be part of the first story for The Hellblazer.
This new number 1 – after getting a new Hellblazer number one not too long ago – is a lot of set-up, but it is more promising than anything we’ve gotten for Constantine since the New 52 started 5 years ago. He’s away from the capes, he’s back in London. The character at least feels like Constantine again, which is a good start. We’ll see where writer Simon Oliver goes from here.