With many books now hitting their eighth issues, the Rebirth web is drawing a little closer. Action, Superwoman, and New Super-Man all have thematic ties, and The Flash hints at some multiversal weirdness. Let’s look closer.
Action Comics #965 (Jurgens/Segovia/Thibert): Lois Lane may be Superman’s better half, but she’s still a whole person. Following the last two issues, Jurgens again seems to be stepping away from decompressed storytelling to tell a shorter story which focuses on Lois while still advancing the mysteries in this series. Lois needs something to do, so she impersonates her apparently dead counterpart in order to find out why she’s appearing in her dreams and leaving her notes. After that annoyingly long opening arc, Action is finding its place as the book for Superman’s supporting cast, and it’s working. Rating: Four capes out of five.
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #2 (Benson/Benson/Roe/Antonio): The Birds of Prey are trying to figure out who “Oracle” is while fighting off a bunch of snake-people, all of which is intermingled with Dinah’s backstory. You’re definitely in the thick of an ongoing storyline here and it’s not easy to jump into this if you haven’t read the prior issues. Also, Dinah’s background is very different from her pre-Nu52 version, and to boot, it doesn’t really marry up with the main story in any meaningful way. Rating: Two and a half birds out of five.
Detective Comics #942 (Orlando/Tynion/MacDonald): Gotham gets absolutely trashed in the conclusion to “Night of the Monster Men,” but presumably it’ll look like normal next week. It’s overall not a terrible story, but Batman’s been through plenty of mass disasters and psychological torment of the kind presented here, and he always wins. That’s probably the weak link here: the key to defeating Hugo Strange’s plot has been done elsewhere. It’s done well here, but it’s not new. Rating: Three bats out of five.
Earth 2 Society #17 (Abnett/Redondo/Albarran): The old Earth-2 title quickly spiraled out of control when James Robinson left, so it’s surprising to see that Society is still around in the wake of “Rebirth.” Well, here it is, and the story’s not that bad even if it’s clearly setting the stage for a Rebirth do-over of its own. Fury accidentally destroyed the entire world, but there’s a “blueprint” for the original Earth-2 still there and the surviving members of the Society need to figure out what to do with it. The art and story are pretty clean, so this isn’t a bad point to jump in if you want to get ready for the next version of this book. Rating: Three and a half stars out of five.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #6 (Venditti/Sandoval): The main Green Lantern story continues to be one giant fight as how plows his way into a one-man battle with the Sinestro Corps. Six issues in, these feels like it should be the story’s climax, but it’s still only 20 pages and ends on what looks to be the setup for the final big fight. There’s also a lot of shouting. Meanwhile, the book’s title continues to mostly be a misnomer: it’s about 90 percent Hal and a mere 10 percent GL Corps. Rating: Three rings out of five.
New Super-Man #4 (Yang/Bogdanovic): It’s more Chinese analogues as the Chinese Justice League fights the Chinese Freedom Fighters with hilarious results. (“Folding Paper Man” is just adorable.) This book continues to delight with its ongoing theme of Kenan being a guy in a Superman suit who just doesn’t understand Superman’s character…though he’s learning. This issue also ends with a twist worthy of Kurt Busiek’s Thunderbolts #1, though it’d have a bigger impact if more of you were reading this book. Rating: Three and a half stars out of five.
Scooby Apocalypse #6 (Giffen/DeMatteis/Porter/Alves/Hanna/Eaglesham): This book continues to totally not be your childhood Scooby. Velma gets the spotlight for an issue, and while she’s still the nerdy brain, she’s also essentially Bruce Banner. Giffen and DeMatteis essentially reinvent her as the quiet genius with a raging beast within, except her monster appears on the outside. Also, if you hate Scrappy Doo, too bad—he gets a backup story with fearsome consequences and a visual trick that nods to yet another classic cartoon element. Rating: Three and a half Scooby snacks out of five.
Suicide Squad #4 (Williams, Lee, and four different inkers): This is a comic that exists out of necessity. A movie was made; it’s playing off residual sales of that movie. The Squad fights Zod and wins with a move that’s pretty much lifted from that movie. Seriously, there’s not much else we can say about his book other than reminding your friends that if they liked the movie, this has more of that, minus that guy they killed. Oh, and there’s a backup which further illustrates that Conner and Palmiotti’s Harley isn’t exactly the same as Suicide Squad Harley. Rating: Two bullets out of five.
Supergirl #2 (Orlando/Ching): Here’s another comic born out of necessity, with Supergirl manifestly being rewritten to be a reasonable facsimile of the television show. At least this has the added bonus of brining in Supergirl’s dad as the Cyborg Superman which…in this continuity, they’ve found a plausible way for that to make sense. Still, this book is kind of dry with the story vacillating between Kara fighting her dad and Kara trying to get a job at Cat Grant’s media empire, and neither being all that compelling. Rating: Two and a half out of five capes.
Superwoman #3 (Jimenez/Luppachino): Read this before Action Comics, as these books have been seeping together more than any other Super-books have been since Rebirth. Anyway, Jimenez and Luppachino pack a lot into each page here, packing a surprising amount of story into 20 pages. Superwoman ties together a lot of plot threads going back to Rebirth and even Forever Evil, with Luthor’s sister Lena now awake and taking revenge on Lex. Lana should be putting a stop to this, and to answering the Atomic Skull’s cries for help…but they’re villains, so she struggles with giving a damn. Are you getting the sense among the various Super-titles that something’s not quite right in Superman’s world? This and Action seem to be the books to watch. Rating: Four capes out of five.
The Flash #8 (Williamson/DiGiandomenico): This issue heralds itself as “introducing the new Kid Flash,” but didn’t we meet New-Wally years ago? This is like Supergirl reintroducing us to Zor-El as the Cyborg when that concept came up back in 2011 as well. That aside, The Flash continues to explore the meaning of what it means to be a speedster, and whether a person uses the powers to be their idol (like Wally), or to be a twisted villain (August), or just because it makes you feel special. This issue also hints at what it means for two Wallys to coexist in one DCU, and we’ll have to keep an eye on how this ties into the larger Rebirth conspiracy. Rating: Three and a half bolts out of five.
This week’s winner? It’s close, but the edge goes to Action over Superwoman, with the former giving us the Lois Lane story that the latter isn’t. The loser: Suicide Squad, which desperately needs to find its own voice instead of being DC Cinematic-lite.