“DC Universe Rebirth” #1
Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Various
Oh what a day to be alive. It has been five long years of terrible stories and ill conceived “events” but at long last New 52 is dead, killed by DC’s hand. In the relaunch this week, “DC Universe Rebirth” we get a walking tour of the new world we’ll be exploring. Well, that’s not actually true. It’s still the same universe as New 52 but this time classic Wally West is there to point at all the things that are weird and stupid so they can fix them. Really it’s the best way to usher in the new world, by roasting the old one.
So this is the 80 page monster DC is serving up to atone for its grievous mistakes. And if New 52 was “We’re the Cool Guy Comics”, Rebirth is “We’re Sorry, Fan Service Should Fix This”. I mean we start the book with Wally West, the character everyone has been clamoring for since they erased him from continuity. And it isn’t even the Wally West from this current universe—he’s in it too! Just to make continuity more convoluted. So now there’s two Wallys, Wally West and White Wally. Okay DC, what else do you want to give me? Well, open up to page three and it turns out Rebirth is giving not one, not two, three Jokers. Because if you like something, you may as well gorge yourself on it until you get sick and throw up.
There’s a whole bunch more DC wants to give me to say sorry. First off, Ryan Choi. You remember him? He was the Atom when Ray Palmer was getting stale and then Ray showed up again and DC brutally murdered Ryan? Remember that? They killed one of two Asian characters they have. Then there’s Jamie and Ted Kord but for some inexplicable reason the scarab is magic. Okay, then there’s Green Arrow and Black Canary. Remember how back in the day they were a really popular, dysfunctional couple? And then DC threw that out despite vigorous protests? Well, all that’s back. Not because they came together organically but because DC just pushed the two together and said, “Oops. There, no harm no foul?” So far this Rebirth thing is giving me all kinds of presents—oh… what’s Pandora doing here? The literal embodiment of New 52, does she have a new evil to unleash on the worl—You killed her? Geoff Johns you beautiful man.
Let me be clear, I had nothing against Pandora. As a plot device, she served her purpose. As a character, she was flatter than matzah bread, which was probably why they quickly ushered her off stage left. She never did anything wrong or offensive but she stands for everything wrong with New 52, a plot device that DC holds up like a gold plated Ferrari but nobody gives two craps. But in Rebirth they corner her in an alley and disintegrate her. Yeah I suppose her grisly end was a bit excessive, then again, don’t bring her back. Now if only we could convince DC not to touch some of their other comic book properties.
This last paragraph is kind of a huge spoiler so skip to the end if you’re not up to date. Remember back like a year when DC decided that since they had the rights to Watchmen that they should use them? Remember how badly those books did. No you don’t because you ignored them the instant they were announced. See at the end of Rebirth, Batman finds a strange button in the Batcave. As he holds it up we see it has a bright yellow smiley face on it with a stain of blood. Guys, stop trying to make Watchmen a thing. The reason that book is so iconic is because those characters work well within the confines of the story they inhabit. Anywhere else these characters just seem like a gaggle of lunatics. And unless every character in the DC universe is going to see them and call them a gaggle of lunatics, these characters are going to stand out like a basketball player at a jockey convention.
While it’s true that “Invincible” hasn’t done a true blue reboot—yes I’m including the current arc where he went back in time, the status quo has been shaken up from time to time. I think the closest example is that time Mark Grayson found his father Nolan living a second life on a planet full of man sized Praying Mantises. You could see there was incredible emotional turmoil, not only had his father abandoned him but he’d picked up a new family. But Mark eventually came around, simply happy that his father was alive and no longer wanted to kill him. It set a new precedent because up to that point we all thought of Nolan as the conqueror, the bad guy who Mark had to stop at any cost. But he quickly changed into the Nolan who was his father and his last hope of fighting the Viltrumites.