Geoff Johns (Writer), Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Phil Jimenez, Brad Anderson, Jason Wright, Joe Prado, Hi-Fi, Matt Santorelli, Gabe Eltaeb (Artists)
Cover By: Gary Frank and Brad Anderson
Publisher: DC Comics
Original Price: $2.99 (second printing is $5.99)
Before I start, I want to apologize for the lateness of this review. This past week has been very busy, and I would have liked for this to be up sooner. By now, most have you have probably already bought it or at least heard about the quality of this book from many other sources. However, I still want to give my thoughts, so here we go.
It feels appropriate that the first emotion that comes to mind after reading DC Universe: Rebirth is a feeling of hope. As many of you probably gleaned from my “Batmanification” article, DC Comics and I have been on the outs recently. Many of their comics have become monochromatic in tone and content, and they just haven’t been giving me much variety. Consequently, I haven’t really been excited about the future of DC Comics.
Rebirth has certainly changed that. I am actually looking forward to what the future holds for DC Comics This is the first time I have felt this since the early days of the New 52.
What you’ve heard is true. This comic is great and actually really uplifting. It was a joy to read. This is the kind of comic that gave Geoff Johns the reputation for quality that he deservedly has.
For those who don’t know yet, the plot is as follows. The New Age Flash a.k.a Wally West from the old DC Universe is lost in time and space. Everyone has forgotten about him, and he is adrift in the Speed Force, the dimension from which all speedsters draw their power.
He knows there is something wrong with the current DC Universe. A darkness has infected it, and much has changed. He and other heroes have been lost, friendships have been broken, and lovers have become strangers. He believes some greater power used the “Flashpoint” caused by Barry Allen, the Silver Age and current Flash, to steal 10 years from the universe, and this has caused all that is wrong with the heroes of the world.
Throughout this comic, Wally West attempts to make contact with people that are either important to him or will be important to the future to warn them of the impending threat to the universe.
That’s as far as I’ll go for now with the plot. I will talk about the big twist later on in this review, but, for now, I just want to talk about the quality of the comic itself.
To start, the art is fantastic. That long list of artists at the top of this page really put their all into this. What’s more impressive is just how coherent the art is with the number people that worked on it. They really deserve a round of applause. They rocked this comic.
It was really nice seeing old Wally West back. The new Wally that has been in the Flash comics is a good character, but there’s nothing wrong with the two of them coexisting in the same universe. The comic gives a reason for this that feels a little strained, but it can be forgiven as long as we get to have both Wally’s around.
There are many great character moments with Wally and others in this comic. The greatest of these are with Ted Kord, Barry Allen, and between Wally and Barry. As someone who calls himself the B-List Defender without a hint of irony, it was great seeing the Silver Age Blue Beetle once again. He’s energetic, upbeat, and a little wacky, just how I like him.
Geoff Johns really gets the character of Barry Allen. There’s a sequence where he saves everyone from a burning building, gives them pizza, and then tips the pizzeria by cleaning their kitchen, and it was awesome. The big emotional moment where Wally and Barry finally meet again is genuinely heartwarming. Barry feels guilty for having forgotten Wally, and they both tear and hug up.
I was also ecstatic that we got some hints about the return of the Justice Society.
I really appreciated the themes of optimism and hope that drove the narrative of this comic. Many DC Comics have lost this lately, and Rebirth aims at bringing this back. Character complexity is king to have in all narratives, and there’s nothing wrong with having some “dark” heroes. However, why read comics about people who fly around and save people if you don’t want something of a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s possible to have complex characters that are also upbeat optimists. DC has heroes like Superman, Batman, the Flash, Green Arrow, and the Teen Titans who all used to fight for a better future. This comic is bringing DC back to that.
Hope versus cynicism is the main conflict of the comic. That sounds like a very broad theme to work with, but it’s actually really fitting for the world we live in at the moment. This generation’s greatest struggle is trying to overcome its own cynicism, apathy, and feelings inability to change the future. Geoff Johns is trying to tip the scales with Rebirth.
Here is where we’re going to move into spoiler territory, though the big twist was publicized so much, many of you probably already know it.
I was initially a little put off when I heard the big bad for this story was going to be Doctor Manhattan of Allen Moore’s Watchmen graphic novel. However, when I read the comic and thought about it, it actually makes a lot of sense for the story. Plus, DC is not the kind of company to just let a big property like Watchmen to just sit around and gather dust.
If the conflict of the story is about preserving hope and optimism, what comic story is more cynical and despair-inducing than Watchmen? And, in that story, who represents all of this better than Doctor Manhattan? He lost hope and any sense of connection with humanity, so he left it. I am curious to see what his motivation for bearing a grudge against the heroes of the DC Universe is, but, for now, I am willing to wait it out and see.
This comic is awesome. It’s a great starting point for a redux of the DC Universe. I am excited to see where their comics go from here. I do think it’s kind of crummy that the second printing is double the original price, and I can understand if you don’t feel like paying that price for a comic, even if it is 80 pages. However, if you can afford it and haven’t picked this up already, do so. It’s a fantastic read.
Final Score: 10/10