Comics Reviews

Review: “Green Arrow,” “Superman” and “Green Lanterns” Rebirth issues are all setup, but bring tons of greatness to the table

DC's Rebirth is off to a solid start as some of their icons undergo much needed changes

Green Arrow - Rebirth 1Green Arrow: Rebirth #1

  • Written by: Benjamin Percy
  • Art and colors by: Otto Schmidt
  • Letters by: Nate Piekos of Blambot
  • Cover by:Juan Ferreyra
  • Available June 1, for $2.99
  • Published by: DC Comics

The goatee is back. That’s all that really needs to be said when it comes to the Rebirth for Green Arrow.

Okay, there is other things to talk about. When it comes to Rebirth, a lot of the changes are really not huge. Unlike New 52, where they tossed aside continuity and changed tons about various characters, Rebirth keeps what has already happened to the characters since they were rebooted in 2011 but begins to tack on some of the traits, scenarios, costumes, relationships, etc that were the core of many of these characters previously.

Green Arrow gets a couple of those with the classic goatee coming back and his costume taking on a closer appearance to some of the ones he had in the past, as well as somewhat like the television series, and begins to sow the seeds of a rekindling of the most major relationship the character had in the comics. Of course, I’m talking about Black Canary, who guest stars and teams-up with Ollie in this issue.

The two have a nice rapport, and a nice ability to poke at one another just like fans will remember about many of their adventures previous to 2011. In fact, their chemistry is so perfect that you forget that this is really the first time they have had extended interaction with one another since the reboot. Which is exactly the point.

Green Arrow - Rebirth 2The same can be said of Ollie suddenly being much more political than he as previously in the New 52 because him being one of the few heroes that wears his political feelings and thoughts on his sleeve was just common with the previous DC universe. So when it pops back in during this issue, it’s like Green Arrow is wrapped up in a warm blanket of the past.

With politics being as toxic as they are nowadays, time will tell if this is something that will be able to be pushed for the long-haul with the series.

The return of so many former aspects of Green Arrow, including the great relationship with the great Black Canary, was the highlight of the issue. The rest of it was really well done, but as with many of the Rebirth issues, it was just set up for what will happen in the first issue going forward.

That’s the beauty of the issues though. They are all set up, trying to put the pieces onto the board where they now will belong, but that works. It gets you interested in the changes and what this means for the DC Universe without going off into some wild and crazy story plot. They stay simple and stay to the point.

Green Arrow moves into a new direction that is an old direction, perfect for a series bound to have new eyes on it thanks to the hit TV show.

Green Lanterns - Rebirth 1Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1

  • Written by: Geoff Johns and Sam Humphries
  • Art and colors by: Ethan Van Sciver and Ed Benes
  • Colors by: Jason Wright
  • Letters by: Travis Lanham
  • Cover by: Ethan Van Sciver and Jason Wright
  • Available June 1, for $2.99
  • Published by: DC Comics

Right off the bat, this was the title I was most looking forward to reading and dreading at the same time. The dread was not because I don’t like Green Lantern, quite the opposite. Dread rose because the Green Lantern line has been one that can be hard to just jump into.

That comes a lot from the fact that, just like Batman, all of Green Lantern’s continuity from Geoff Johns run before the reboot (and much of the stuff from before his run including things that led to all four of the Earth lanterns) carried over instead of being rebooted for the New 52. During his run, both pre and post-New 52, Johns was building up a huge overarching story that was done in arcs that all led up to one thing.

When he finally reached that conclusion, Johns signed off and moved on to other projects. Instead of taking a new road to fully do their own thing, the following creative teams copied that aspect where every story arc became a huge overall story that just continued on from the next. New things were done, but if you didn’t read what came before it could feel like a daunting task to jump in, which is the opposite of the feeling that should come from a rebooted comic line.

So seeing that this would, at last, be a break in the ongoing story that would allow for a possible change in directions, it was easy to jump into the story. It was great to see Jessica Cruz from John’s Justice League run carry on as an actual Green Lantern, opposed to having the villainous Power Ring on, and for Simon Baz finally getting a chance to headline a title.

Green Lanterns - Rebirth 2Baz was introduced previously by Johns in his Green Lantern run but didn’t seem to ever get the chance to really be in the big spotlight. Now is that time.

One complaint is that there was a pretty jarring change between the art of Van Sciver and Benes as pages changed, their styles similar but also quite different. There was also a very unnecessary shot later in the issue of the Justice League with Wonder Woman turned so that you get a butt/up skirt shot while all the men are turned facing forward.

Seeing Jessica and Simon have to learn to work together, as the fifth and sixth Earth Green Lanterns (man there are a ton of rings making it to the Earth sector) looks to be something that will be very interesting to follow with their very different attitudes, personalities and backgrounds.

Seeing that the villains are going to be the Red Lanterns is a little disappointing because Johns created rainbow color corps have been way over used as villains and antagonists since his run (as Sinestro and his corps are to be villains in the sister title Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps). This would seem to be the perfect time to try something different and new, but Humphries might do something good with them. Time will tell.

Superman - Rebirth 1

Superman: Rebirth #1

  • Written by: Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
  • Art and colors by: Doug Mahnke
  • Inks by: Jaime Mendoza
  • Colors by: Will Quintana
  • Letters by: Rob Leigh
  • Cover by: Mahnke, Mendoza, Quintana
  • Available June 1, for $2.99
  • Published by: DC Comics

Just look at that spread. Superman is back.

There was a Superman here, the New 52 one, but this is the Superman that we all knew for almost thirty years. Since the Crisis was used as one of DC’s previous ways to streamline their universe. New 52’s Superman is dead.

Killed off right before Rebirth began, that Superman becomes part of the focus for this issues as the Pre-New 52 Superman, having been living on the New 52 Earth for nine years thanks to all the universal time related stuff of last year’s Convergence, and the New 52 Lana Lang deal with the loss.

Beautiful artwork, including the above flashback scene to the iconic Death of Superman story, is the draw of this issue. Not that the story isn’t good, as Tomasi and Gleason put a lot of work into the issue as they prepare to take over as the regular writers on Superman.

As mentioned with Green Arrow, the issue is very by the numbers setup. Unlike the others it becomes a little too much about that as the issue has to go out of it’s way to hammer home why this Superman will stay as the main Superman and why the New 52 Superman won’t be coming back.

Superman - Rebirth (2016) 001-016 2The flashbacks are part of Pre-New 52 Clark telling Lana why he believes Superman will return to life because he had done it himself in the past. Lana on the other hand comes into the story believing that Superman is dead dead and won’t ever come back. Hope being put into her mind by the new Superman, they take off to see if it could happen.

Hitting with a hammer comes in with the talk of the plot way that DC was able to bring Superman back to life back during that event in the 90’s, through use of a Kryptonian Regeneration Matrix, which of course does not exist in this universe making it clear that for the time being New 52 Superman is dead and gone.

It’s clear setup, but in this day and age it’s needed. There was no way that DC could just kill the Superman that readers have been following for five years and just not talk about it. Now the issue has been dealt with in the one-shot, opposed to taking up page space in the first issue of the new series.

It’s almost crazy that bringing the old Superman back brings about this almost energizing quality to the future of the Superman titles, but it makes sense when the line has struggled at times over the last five years to find a steady tone and direction. There have been bright spots, and there have been dark spots as well.

Bring on more bearded dad Superman!

What did you think of all of these Rebirth one-shots? Let us know by commenting below or through Facebook or Twitter, and check back Monday for more Rebirth reviews alongside reviews of more of last Wednesday’s comics!


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