How has DC’s Rebirth line becomes suddenly and almost universally so good – so much better than virtually all of DC’s reboots and re-adjustments of the last, oh, twenty-five years or so?
I’ve been following pretty much all the new DCU books for decades, through thick and thin, and I admit I held out little hope for Rebirth, particularly after the train wreck that was Convergence. But I’ve just finished the September 14 releases – including a number of the brand new titles, with brand-new casts – and damn it: one after another is terrific. Even the ones that seemed like such a bad idea.
The New Super-Man, about a China-based version of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, had all the signs of a single mediocre joke told over and over. But no: there’s actually great humor and cleverness in here, even after an origin and a couple of issues, that’s reminiscent of the early days of the Blue Beetle reboot where Jaime Escalanta was introduced (a book I still miss).
Superwoman sounded dumb from the outset, especially when word got out that Lois Lane – well, one of the Lois Lanes – was going to be the eponymous heroine. Wrong again. The book is entirely unexpected, full of energy (as well as a ton of smart, strong female characters that look and act like actual women). And whoever came up with the idea of calling he Luthor’s failed super-clone project B-Zero (Bizarro? Get it?) should get some kind of special Eisner Award. Another one worth following.
The new(est) concept for Detective Comics sounded kind’a lame as well – a new Bat-team with an unlikely bunch of secondary or poorly handled Bat-characters, from Batwoman to Clayface to the tragically botched Tim Drake. But in its first few issues, it’s manage to explode the Batwoman origin in a wonderfully unexpected way, rehabilitate Clayface in a Killer Croc kind’a way that makes him both endearing and unsettling, and breathed new life in Tim after literally decades of mishandling … right before they give him a vivid and actually effective hero’s death (read it. Seriously).
The new story line in Flash is unexpectedly wonderful as well. So is Wonder Woman, and even Superman’s books are pretty terrific (it’s impossible not to love little Jon White, Superman’s son and the new, sneaker-footed Superboy). Every week is a happy new surprise, and thank God sales are reflecting that as well. The last couple of weeks have been the best in comics retailing for decades. Let’s just hope it lasts a while. And whatever made DC so suddenly smart — some kind of alien ray from Oa or somethin’ — keeps shining down.