DC Rebirth Roundup for October 26, 2016
It’s not quite Halloween, but let’s see whether we should be terrified of where DC Comics is going some five months into “Rebirth.” (Has it really been five months?)
Action Comics #966 (Jurgens/Segovia/Thibert): This issue isn’t quite as Lois-centric as #965, but it’s close. Jurgens and Segovia—perhaps inadvertently—explore whether Lois Lane can ever really be an independent character. She’s Clark’s wife and Jon’s mom, and she’s also stepping into the shoes of her deceased otherdimensional counterpart, who had her own friends and family. Family isn’t shown as a bad thing—she’ll always be a part of Clark and Jon’s lives—but Lois does need the chance to breathe and be the journalist at her heart. Again, read this if you’re reading Superwoman. Rating: Four Pulitzers out of five.
Batgirl #4 (Larson/Albuquerque): Babs’ oriental adventure continues as she learns the secret behind what Kai’s been hiding. Batgirl continues to be a decent female-led globetrotting adventure which apparently has nothing to do with the larger “Rebirth” part of the DCU so far. It’s weird how divorced this title is from Birds of Prey and we’ll just have to wait and see how those two titles connect, if at all. Rating: Three and a half computer hacks out of five.
Blue Beetle #2 (Giffen/Collins): I’m still not sure what’s going on in this book. Sometimes Giffen’s got it and sometimes he doesn’t, and Blue Beetle seems to be a case of the latter. Jamie is off on some quest with a bunch of other teenage metahumans, including a female teleporter who’s got an excessive case of the hots for him. It’s tolerable, if you can get past the unfamiliar characters and confusion over what the heck is going on. Rating: Two and a half scarabs out of five.
Detective Comics #943 (Tynion/Martinez/Fernandez): Normally, Batman is DC’s lead title and Detective takes a backseat despite being the company’s premiere book. Tynion’s current run on the book could give Batman a run for its money with solid art from Martinez and a full view of Batman’s supporting cast that doesn’t shortchange any of them. This month, the team is trying to get over Tim Drake’s “death,” while a new threat pretty much cements the old theory that Batman inspires new villains. This could be the Bat-book to read if you’re not liking King’s Batman. Rating: Four batarangs out of five.
Doctor Fate #17 (Levitz/McCarthy): Hey, Doctor Fate is still going, at least until next month. Unfortunately, it’s suffering from the same problem that many magic-based books have: they don’t know how to make a magic-based character interesting. Khalid gets caught fighting some interdimensional predators who feed off hopes and dreams, and he doesn’t really know to do much more than zap things and complain that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. The art’s pretty, but the story just can’t carry it. Rating: Two and a half helmets out of five.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #7 (Venditti/Sandoval/Tarragona): Hal Jordan has probably had the largest of “Rebirth’s” opening arcs, going eight issues from the “Rebirth” issue until now. It seems to be about halfway successful, as we do get an impressive “final fight” between Hal and Sinestro, the downside being that it’s been issue after issue of punching. This book does need to work on the “…and the Green Lantern Corps” side of the story, as the GLC seems to have spent the entire arc flying through space without actually contributing to the story. Rating: Three rings out of five.
Sixpack and Dogwelder #3 (Ennis/Braun): I can’t tell if this book is supposed to be a comedy or not, especially since this month’s issue makes some tragic revelations about Dogwelder. If you’re going to make a comically awful character, then depressing your audience doesn’t really get you there. Maybe diehard Hitman fans will get this story—for the casual fan, this is just excessively over-the-top. Rating: Two welded dogs out of five.
Suicide Squad #5 (Williams/Lee/Byrne/A Bunch of Inkers): Well, ok, this has gotten a little better. What does the Suicide Squad do when it’s got a Kryptonian captive? Try to stick a bomb in its skull and force it onto your team. In other words: dumb move. Let’s try to blackmail an intelligent atomic bomb into submission. The team, accordingly, splits over whether they should do this. Meanwhile, the backup feature gives us a look into the new character to see what makes her tick. This week’s issue of SS is…actually readable. Rating: Three implants out of five.
Teen Titans #1 (Percy/Meyers): Teen Titans has had more forms than Majora’s Mask in its, what, 60 years in existence? The “Rebirth” run strikes the right balance of old and new, familiar and different. It’s got classic Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy, but also works in Nu-Wally and Damian Wayne as our modern counterparts to Kid Flash and Robin. Even better, it does something no prior Titans incarnation did: reasonably connect the Batman mythos to Titans through Robin as a bridge. The art is a little weak, but Teen Titans looks like it will make a good transition title for younger readers looking to grow out of Teen Titans Go! Rating: Three and a half Titans out of five.
The Flash #9 (Williamson/Corona): The “Rebirth” mystery progresses slightly as classic Wally meets Nu-Wally and the one teaches the other what it means to be a Flash in Barry’s shadow. This is the Flash story we’ve needed since Rebirth started. Too bad it’s bogged down by very weak fill-in artwork which just doesn’t match the tone of the series to date. Which is a shame, because there’s a major revelation on the last page which longtime DC fans have been waiting for. Rating: Two and a half lightning bolts out of five.
Titans #4 (Abnett/Booth/Rapmund): The new Titans series is a little…loud. It seems that in the effort to make this an action-packed title, every one of Booth’s pages screams with emotion and action, even when events are relatively calm. That’s not necessarily a good thing: as a “family” title, Titans could use some quiet, introspective moments to let the story breathe. Still, let’s give Abnett credit for tapping into a plot point from the 1990s Flash comic and using it as a weapon against Wally. I think we know how this turns out, but it’s clever all the same. Rating: Three lightning rods out of five.
The winner: it’s a tie between Action and Detective, as DC’s two longest-running titles (depending on how you count renumberings) actually stand out. The loser: Sixpack and Dogwelder, which…no. Just no.