Wednesday, August 3, 2016

DC Rebirth (Salvo 2) Rapid-Fire Review

Hello brothers and sisters!!

    It's me, TEX, back with a quick review of DC Rebirth, wave 2!!

1. "DC Universe Rebirth: Nightwing" #1 and "Nightwing: Rebirth" #1 - Dick Grayson is between a rock and a hard place. A bomb has been implanted in Damien Wayne's head, and the Court of Owls is using that fact to make Grayson do their bidding. However, Grayson's got a plan; but when the Owls give him an unbelievably deadly new partner, Raptor, Grayson's plans might be dead in the water...And Grayson just might be dead. Period.

   Tim Seeley is a great writer; it's no wonder that these look to be the beginnings of a great Nightwing story. Grayson is coming into his own, taking all the risks, becoming his own man and loving it. It feels new, but kind of classic too. Paquette provides nice pencils, and Fernandez's are good, but miss the mark a bit - in some panels, his pencils look like cartoony John Totleben imitations.

RATING: 8 out of 10.

2. "DC Universe Rebirth: Justice League" #1 and "Justice League: Rebirth" #1 - The Justice League is without a Superman. In the wake of Clark's death, the JL struggles to find it's footing, and matters go catastrophic when a new alien threat comes to take the Earth. The Post-Crisis Superman reluctantly joins the fray, but can he ever win the trust of this Justice League full of strangers that look like old friends? And who, or what, is the supernatural menace that seeks to destroy them...A menace calling itself...The Kindred?

  Bryan Hitch cranks up the action to eleven in these rip-roaring issues of the Justice League. The art team, led by Henriques and Daniel, have made these books gorgeous. But while these books look great, and are long on action, they are short on plot. They really just seem like the same book both times with small changes. However, it's good to see the Post-Crisis Superman back in action; Hitch seems to know just how to use him. The appearance of The Kindred in "Justice League: Rebirth" #1 made it the more interesting and compelling book.

RATINGS: DCUR: JL #1, 7 out of 10 (because of what Superman brought to the story).  JL: R #1, 8 out of 10.

3. "DC Universe Rebirth: New Superman" #1 - Kenan Kong (Kong Kenan), is a bully. After the death of his mother, he's chosen a bad path. He's brash, arrogant and he wants the limelight. When he accidentally saves the kid he was bullying from a super-villain, he gains instant internet fame...A fame which gets him the offer of a lifetime: be a part of a dangerous experiment that will give him the powers of Superman himself.

  Gene Luen Yang takes a shot at creating a new Superman...Unfortunately, this is a swing and a miss. The Rebirth folks must have missed the fact that in "Justice League 3000/1" there already was a self-centered, butthole, Superman (of Asian descent). This just seemed like a copy of an already derivative character (and a lot less fun than JL 3000/1's take on Superman). By the time the Batman and Wonder Woman of China make their debut, I was well into thinking about the next book on my reading list. I had high hopes for this series because I thought it'd bring something new to the table.

RATING: 6 out of 10

4. "Hellblazer: Rebirth" #1 - John Constantine is back in London, and ready to take on the demon who sent him packing to the USA...With a little help from an old friend. But will John risk all of London just to be able to return to his old stomping grounds. Yeah. He will.

  Simon Oliver writes this new Constantine offering that tries to show Constantine at his best as a trickster. Unfortunately, while the story has its moments, it is missing something. Constantine just doesn't seem quite right, not the right bastard we know and love - more like a dude doing his best to show he's a bastard - contrived is the word I guess I'm looking for. And the minimalist artwork by Moritat? It just didn't appeal to me at all. Appearances by Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel? No, thank you. Constantine needs to stay away from the capes and tights community. He needs to stay in the dark.

RATING: 6 out of 10

5. "Red Hood and the Outlaws: Rebirth" #1 - The Red Hood has returned to Gotham and he's going down into the depths of the underworld to eradicate it once and for all. How? By masquerading as hardest villain that Gotham has ever seen. But will Red Hood's tactics put him at odds with Gotham's greatest protector, his mentor...The Batman?

   Scott Lobdell writes what is, BY FAR, the best comic in this entire 2nd wave of Rebirth titles! The story is compelling, action-packed, and Lobdell actually pulls the reader into caring about the protagonist with well-written flashbacks. And the artwork by Dexter Soy is top-notch! It looks like Red Hood just might out-Batman The Batman!

RATING: 10 out of 10.

6. "DC Universe Rebirth: Hal Jordan and The green Lantern Corps" #1 and "Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth" #1 - The Sinestro Corps are the universal police force since The Green Lantern Corps disappeared long ago. But one remains: Hal Jordan. He forges a new ring and sets forth to find the lost Green Lanterns; an act that will put him in direct conflict with a newly revitalized Sinestro and his fearful force.

   Robert Venditti has written what looks like may become an interesting journey into a possible future of the DC Universe. The premise is fascinating - it will be fun to see how things work for the GLs when the roles are all reversed and they are essentially the bringers of a revolution. This book has a lot of potential, but it lacks oomph; however, add some art from Van Sciver and Sandoval, and you've got some books with art that POPS.

RATING: 7 out of 10.

    All in all, this 2nd wave of DC's Rebirth titles was rather disappointing. The only titles I'd recommend without hesitation are the Nightwing and Red Hood titles.

   What did you think about these comics? Whether you agree with me or not, I'd love to hear from you.

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  1. Let's get to it.
    I've read every book you've reviewed except "Justice League" and "Hellblazer". Don't care for "Hellblazer" as I feel nothing could beat the stories that have come before and Bryan Hitch on "JL" is very good artist trying "really" hard to be a writer. Maybe with a better editor...?
    I'll agree on "Grayson" but I want new ideas from Seeley not Court of Owls crap.
    I think you were too kind on "Redhood" and I'm taking a wait and see on "Green Lantern".
    The "New Super Man" book is an ploy by DC to sell books in China. Big country with a big untapped market. Gonna wait and see how this unfolds and just how many Justice Leaguers will show up.
    All and all, ya did some fairly nifty reviewing.

    1. I feel exactly the way you do about Hellblazer, Otto.

      But I find myself hoping against hope that someone will prove me wrong because Constantine is such a great character. Is it a lack of the right talent, or has the world moved on from the punk-rock rebel age that Constantine embodied so well?

      You hit the nail on the head with Hitch's writing. He is a great artist, but maybe he's a bit out of his depth here. "Justice League" is supposed to be DC's premier book, and it needs a premier writer. Hitch's last run on JL left me nonplussed.

      I hear you on Grayson - the Court of Owls is old news...But Raptor isn't! Wow. What he did to Grayson left my mouth agape. I have an idea on his identity, but I'll hold onto it. I do like how Seeley showed a definite contrast between Grayson and Wayne. Nighwing just isn't Batman - and that is okay.

      How do you rate Red Hood? I might have been too kind - flooded by the overall mediocrity of the DC Rebirth wave 2 offerings, it's possible that my barometer was off a bit. I loved the art, the backstory, all that action, and the tenseness of the end moments that Red Hood and Batman shared. And we got to see just what Red Hood could do one on one with Batman. I was shocked, and very surprised that I loved that book so much. I HATED the last volume of the book with every fiber of my being. Starfire was just...yuck.

      I think DC missed the mark with "New Superman" so horribly that I'm jumping ship with issue #1 (I couldn't wait to reach the back cover) - but let me know if it gets better. I could be wrong. I'm curious to see if the sales for this issue were bolstered by buyers in the Chinese market.

      Thanks for your thoughts, and for your readership, Otto.