rebirth

While we’re about 15 weeks into Rebirth, DC Comics didn’t roll out the new universe in one fell swoop. New books are still being scheduled and released. Several books are just hitting their first or second issues now, almost four months later. So today, we’ll be looking at the books I’m still forming an opinion on.

Leaning Positive

Some of these are fairing better than others, so let’s examine the ones I liked to start off.

Superwoman / Supergirl

The Superman family of books has really been mostly great since Rebirth hit the stands (as long as you don’t count New Super-man, it’s basically perfect) and the women are getting in on the action, too.

Superwoman, written by Phil Jimenez, is following the New 52 versions of Lois Lane and Lana Lang, who were given powers by New 52 Superman’s solar flare in the Final Days of Superman, much like Kenan Kong over in New Super-man. Unlike New Super-man, however, the protagonists of this book are in fact likable. Lana and Lois are trying to figure out how to use their powers – Lois has the traditional Super-powers while Lana seems to be channeling Electro-Supes from the late-1990s.

Now, we’re only one issue in here, but Jimenez got a lot into that one issue and readers were left with a shocking ending as Lana and Lois went up against what seemed to be a Bizarro. There IS probably a reason why the book is Superwoman and not Superwomen, but we’ll see what happens.

On the younger end of the age spectrum, DC Comics has FINALLY gotten around to putting out a new Supergirl series. The TV show has been out for a whole season without a comic book counterpart, which is insane. But DC Comics has overcorrected a bit and released a new Supergirl book that looks more like the TV show than any previous incarnation.

Hello, DEO and “parents” Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers. Hello National City.

The Rebirth issue last month showed a lot of promise, with Supergirl battling a Kryptonian werewolf. The first issue of the series is out this week, so we’ll see if the book continues to deliver a lighter tone that was prominent in the Rebirth debut.

Blue Beetle

Another book I have high hopes for, mainly for the promise of a lighter tone and enjoyable stories. The Rebirth issue for Blue Beetle showed off the relationship between Jaime Reyes, a teen who was bonded with a scarab and given powers, and Ted Kord, a young billionaire inventor who wishes he was the one with the powers. Obviously, Kord’s history as Blue Beetle (including his very violent death at the hands of Max Lord) have been wiped away.

Writer Keith Giffen is no stranger to Ted Kord and the Blue Beetle, and I generally love everything he does, so I think the new Beetle should be a fun ride

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey

Batgirl and Black Canary are all over the place post-Rebirth, and the new book by Julie and Shawna Benson puts them together with Helena Bertinelli – The Huntress – to reunite probably one of the most popular teams of the last 20 years. To kick things off, Batgirl and the Canary are on the trail of someone who has been calling him/herself Oracle – the codename Batgirl took on when she was a paraplegic – to organize Gotham bad guys. Barbara Gordon does not take kindly to this.

The pair’s paths cross with The Huntress – last seen as the head of the spy group Spyral over in Grayson – who is not as nice a person as Canary and Batgirl. So everyone is trying to work together – and not kill anyone – to hunt down the big bad. The initial issue was a lot of fun and I foresee good things from the sister writers.

Leaning Towards Uncertainty

Two books I have no idea how to feel about.

The Hellblazer

I am a huge John Constantine fan. I have pretty much every collected edition from his time as Vertigo’s resident British bastard, but when DC Comics cancelled the Vertigo book and brought him into the DC Universe proper with the New 52, something was lost in translation. They course corrected at the end, took him out of the mystical superteam that was Justice League Dark and had him face mystical threats of his own in New York City, but something was still off.

Now, with Rebirth, Constantine still isn’t back within the confines of Vertigo – that ship has probably sailed – but he’s not really within the DCU proper, either. Swamp Thing has made appearances so far, but he’s dealing with more mundane mystical issues than he was as a “superhero.” I really am hoping writer Simon Oliver pulls this off, because despite being around for 30 years and dealing with the dregs of humanity and demonkind, there’s still a lot a Constantine book can offer. It just needs to strike the right tone.

Titans

The Titans right now are a continuity nightmare usually reserved for The Legion of Superheroes and Hawkman. And since both are absent from the slate of comics in Rebirth, we have a grown-up group of former teen heroes trying to figure out what the hell is happening with the changing timelines.

The book right now is centering around the return of the original Wally West, who disappeared into the Speed Force shortly after Barry Allen returned. West was central to the DC Rebirth debut issue and he went off to gather up his old friends to try and find out why everyone is different than he remembers. But before they get to Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias (maybe?), the group is going up against Abra Kadabra.

I don’t know if Titans will keep on being important to the Rebirth plot that will apparently build over the next two years, but I do hope that writer Dan Abnett finds a way to keep the group interesting until that plot thread gets pulled. Right now, he’s off to a bit of a weak start.

Leaning Negative

Red Hood and the Outlaws

Advertised as a “Dark Trinity” team-up, as Red Hood, the Amazon Artemis and a Bizarro go around trying to infiltrate the criminal underground. Red Hood and Nightwing are essentially running the same scam, but the Nightwing book is so far a much more enjoyable read.

After a couple of issues, we still haven’t even encountered any Bizarros! That’s the whole reason why I was willing to pick up the book!

The main culprit in making this a probably miss is the decompressed storytelling of Scott Lobdell. He essentially copied the Rebirth issue into the debut, focusing completely on Red Hood in both issues instead of bringing the team together and getting the story going. I’m honestly not sure I can make through one full story arc before ditching the book. Hopefully, once this book is cancelled, we can move on from Lobdell making any significant contributions to DC Comics’ output.

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