A nice variety of books today, covering three different facets of DC Comics publishing – Supergirl for the Rebirth line, The Flintstones from Hanna-Barbera and Everafter representing Vertigo comics.

Supergirl 1
Written by Steve Orlando 
Art by Brian Chang

For the first part of a story called “Reign of the Cyborg Superman,” you would expect that the Cyborg Superman would show up on more than just the last page of the book, but we only get the one panel of the villain. Of course, calling him a villain is an assumption, since he’s no longer Hank Henshaw, scientist and space explorer who lost his friends/family on a mission (yes, Henshaw is a DC Comics analog for Marvel’s Reed Richards). No, the New 52 switched things up and made Kara Zor-El’s father, Zor-El, the new Cyborg Superman.

Zor-El’s appearance in the book comes after a full issue of Supergirl doubting whether she belongs on Earth, because she felt like everyone was berating her. She’s a teenager, filled with angst about her differences. She feels ostracized from the students in her high school; she was lectured about not being trusted by the head of the DEO, the government agency where she works and trains; and Cat Grant gave her an earful after Supergirl saved Cat and other commuters on a train during a robbery.

Oh yeah, introducing Cat brings us another step closer to the Supergirl TV show (now available on Netflix!). Now all we need is the son of The Toyman and Martian Manhunter.

Introducing Zor-El into the mix pretty much guarantees that the first arc will force Supergirl to question her place on Earth and her status quo as a hero working for the Dept. of Extranormal Operations. I just hope that the book maintains the light tone it’s had for the two first issues. Angsty Supergirl got kind of old in the New 52, and I hope DC Comics realizes that isn’t the way to go this time around and gets it all out of their system with the first arc.

Everafter 1
Written by Dave Justus and Matt Sturges
Art by Travis Moore

Fables was one of Vertigo Comics’ best books for more than a decade, and its continuing story of the characters we’ve known all our lives finally came to an end last year. But they’re story book characters, so the tale is never actually finished. And without a new breakout hit from the line that produced Sandman, Hellblazer and Preacher, Vertigo has gone back to the Fables well with Everafter.

The first issue, released last Wednesday, sets the premise: magic has permeated into the mundane world and a team of Fables are the ones that come together to put down magical threats secretly.

Writer Matt Sturges did a lot of work on Fables with creator Bill Willingham, so he’s no stranger to Fabletown or its characters, and there’s a familiar tone to the book right off the bat because of it. The appearance of Snow White and Bigby Wolf puts us at ease in this new world before we continue on with the craziness of a covert mission being conducted by Little Bo Peep, Peter Piper and Hansel. Things don’t really go well for Hansel, who carries his Puritanical views from the Fables book into Everafter. That’s likely to be the thing everyone is dealing with in the second issue.

There’s a lot of potential for craziness here, as the idea that the new stories created by the mundane world are becoming Fables on their own, which of course means zombies in the first issue. I’m looking forward to how the first arc plays out.

The Flintstones 3
Written by Mark Russell
Art by Steve Pugh 

Good grief, this book is dark. Not in a grim and gritty, the hero kills and everyone has no conscious kind of way. More of a dark comedy from the Coen brothers kind of way. I would never expect it from The Flintstones, but it really works here. And all the absurdist parts of the original cartoon get turned into parts of every day life and how they come about shows are a little sad and very weird.

In the third issue, a bunch of aliens on galactic spring break come to Bedrock and bring all kinds of chaos, eventually resorting to vaporizing people and leading Fred to organize his fellow Water Buffalo – who are all Veterans of the Paleolithic Wars – to fight the aliens. One of Fred and Barney’s compatriots is seen on hold with a suicide hotline before he gets drafted back into battle. His story comes to a close in a fairly predictable manner.

As I’ve already mentioned, writer Mark Russell has been introducing some of the more well-known aspects of the cartoon in new (and sometimes depressing) ways. This time, Russell tells us the secret origin behind the well-known phrase “Yabba-Dabba-Doo” and – surprisingly – the Great Gazoo. I wasn’t expecting that so early in the series’ run, but maybe I should have…

While I thought the second issue last month was a little weak, Russell and artist Steve Pugh came back strong with this issue, and The Flintstones has the potential to be the break-out hit of the Hanna-Barbera line.

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