There’s so much coming out from Rebirth this week that you might find the sheer amount of comics dizzying. Luckily for you: we at Pop Culture Uncovered are always happy to indulge our readers with an idea of what they may be interested in:
Deathstroke #1 (Priest/Pagulayan)
In case I didn’t gush enough about this comic with my previous Rebirth review, here’s your second chance to read me doing so. Deathstroke is unequivocally one of the best comics coming out of the relaunch. While it does require some degree of investment in the last issue, you can pick this up and still enjoy it. What makes the current Deathstroke so great, is that it does everything it can to subvert the quick fix of tedious violence the last two volumes brought, rebuild the personality of Slade Wilson, as well as the messed up family line that’s surrounded him for so long. Carlo Pagulayan can draw a really mean action scene but what makes the book stand out is the dry wit, and the melancholy that Christopher Priest can wring out of his characters. This book goes a long way to remind us that the Terminator hasn’t really changed, we’ve just chosen to ignore what made this character so appealing in the first place.
4 out of 5 Ikons
Action Comics #962 (Jurgens/Segovia/Thibert/Arreola)
Action is a comic you really want to like, but ultimately seems to only be lurching forward. Just about everything you expect happens, and in a fairly pat manner. Considering Jurgens gave us the fairly close to classic Superman: Lois & Clark, it’s honestly a shame that this comic hasn’t hit anywhere near those same heights. The Superman book has done a great job using other Death of Superman alumni, but Doomsday has the same diminishing returns as ever here, and it doesn’t help that Lois and Jonathan are out of focus as compared to the other book. The rapid inconsistency of the art team has not helped either. Fill-ins are part and parcel for the business, true, but the lack of coherent style has helped deflate any real energy that carried over from the prior Jurgens Superman book.
2 out of 5 Doomsdays.
Batgirl #2 (Larson/Albuquerque/McCaig)
As someone who didn’t really read much of Batgirl under Burnside, the conceit of taking the character as far away from Gotham as possible was an interesting one to me. Hope Larson and Rafael Albuquerque have taken what was a very specific book with a defined style and made it their own. Something I’ve always enjoyed with superhero comics, in particular with Batman, is tossing the character outside their normal boundaries. While I’m more of a fan of Barbara Gordon’s Oracle identity than Batgirl, this book allowed for the character to have flexibility, using her huge brain and librarian skills to play a role in the plot, as well as exploring the actual mechanics of learning new skills beyond hitting up Batman. The physicality invoked by Larson’s story with Barbara learning MMA, as well as the correlating shift in Albuquerque’s rendition of Barbara root the story in a straighter version of reality than a typical bat-book. If you’re looking for a smart and fun book, this may be the one for you.
4 out of 5 Fruit Bats
Titans #2 (Abnett/Booth/Rapmund/Dalhouse)
I had fairly decent hopes for Titans, but honestly it isn’t that great of a book. It’s the equivalent of having a specific and weird pizza you were thinking of in your head: having that pizza may sound good on paper but in execution getting it may not have been your best decision. I loved Abnett’s run as one half of DnA on writing duties in Guardians of the Galaxy, but his work thus far on both Titans and Titans Hunt has been journeyman. I’m a huge fan of Wally West as the Flash, yet this book has felt like a return to the Teen Titans of the Silver Age, mixed with the more boring runs that followed the Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans. Having these characters together again is great but that’s all there is to say. The plot is the same as Titans Hunt with another villain making people forget about the past, and is, at best, a waste of the potential the Rebirth special gave for the original Wally West’s return to comics. The art by Brett Booth doesn’t help in this regard either as the designs carry over the worst aspects of the pseudo 90’s aesthetic that defined the bottom rung of the New 52. This is a comic that I want to like, one that does have some familial sincerity, however it’s not a comic that has a specific appeal to anyone but diehards.
2 out of 5 Wally Wests
Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1 (Giffen/Kollins)
This is another comic that I just want to love that has a lot working against it. Anyone who knows me can tell you how much I adore both Blue Beetles, but while the Jaime Reyes and Ted Kord here are definitely the ones Giffen has written in the past, the comic surrounding it just doesn’t quite gel. The focus on family is always welcome, and the art by Kollins is perfect for a book as fast-paced and funny as this can be at its best, but the honest truth is the comic focuses on the wrong things. Giffen and Kollins can sell a great conversation between the two Beetles but the focus is on an extended battle with z-list villains. While any superhero comic worth it’s salt is gonna have a battle this drowns out the best parts of the comic. Hopefully there’s improvement, but for now it’s not coming out of the gate.
3 out of 5 Bugs
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #3 (Vendetti/Sandoval/Tarragona/Morey)
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps has been fairly serviceable as a comic so far. Albeit this is another comic that’s essentially an extended fight scene continuing from the previous issue. There really isn’t anything new to report, which has been true for every issue thus far. The only thing really notable is that the book is following up on Cullen Bunn’s immense run on Sinestro, turning the dial to something a little more palatable to give the Green Lantern book a decent villain again, which is a shame. However, the highlight of the book is Rafa Sandoval’s art, and he is giving it his all here. While Hal Jordan is fairly straight laced as far as chances for a different sort of action scene can go, Sandoval makes it really look gorgeous.
3 out of 5 Fear Engines
Flash #5 (Williamson/Watanabe/Currie/Albert/Plascencia)
This was a fantastic issue of the Flash. I’m not a huge fan of Barry Allen, or of the comic up until recently, but Joshua Williamson has changed all that. Under his hand, it’s brought back a lot of the elements that made me fall in love with the book back when Wally West was in the boots. The sense of family, the generational aspects, and of course the high-octane fusion of mystery and sci-fi. While both previous writers opted to reintroduce some aspects of the Flash mythos in a… different light, Williamson goes for something rather different and gives us a mystery surrounding Godspeed, as well as a litter of new speedsters, and thankfully makes the Flash family a lot less monochromatic. The issue focuses on one of the new characters and give us a look at Barry from the outside in, builds up the typical suspect pile, and then supports all of it well. Felipe Watanabe does a great job of continuing the energetic offbeat art that’s been par so far for this run, and extends it further outside the typical house style for superhero comics. If you’re looking for a Flash comic that captures the spirit of the TV show, while maintaining its own feel, you’re in for a treat here.
4 out of 5 Godspeeds