A few weeks back, while the rest of us were busy enjoying the religious family time of Easter – which, in my case, entails a bucketload of chocolate and no small amount of post-egg sugar-twitching – DC Comics took the stage at WonderCon to announce the creative lineups for their new fangled “not-a-reboot-and-it-never-was-shut-up-now” comic book event, Rebirth.
Much as I ripped into Marvel’s heraldic announcement of new books last year, I figure it’s worth making turnabout fair play and giving DC a similar treatment. Because believe me, some of these titles are worth ripping into for good or ill. Consider this a helpful guide for where (and where not) to spend your ill-gotten gains on DC Comics after Rebirth kicks off this June.
Let’s get this done.
Writer Dan Jurgens pits Clark Kent as Superman against Lex Luthor as…also Superman. Also there’s something in there about hitting Actions Comics #1000. Didn’t we renumber all the books in 2011 to avoid this kind of thing?
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Artwork by Zircher, Kirkham and Segovia probably won’t be anything too amazing, so I’d say no.
ALL STAR BATMAN
I know you got your work bumped from both the ongoing Batman title and Detective Comics, and I know you need to set up your own new series to keep your fantastic run afloat. But goddamn, could you have possibly picked a worse name than one reminding readers of the travesty that was Frank Miller’s 2008 Batman-child abomination All-Star Batman and Robin? Also, where the hell is Greg Capullo, and why did he get replaced by someone as lacklustre as John Romita Jr.?
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: This is one that’ll be decided solely on the strength of its writing talent, so I’m hoping for a yes. Jock and Sean Murphy had better be more than just fill-in artists.
I wasn’t a fan of how Geoff Johns handled the character, so I’m wary of however new writer Dan Abnett will take a crack at him. It certainly looks pretty, but then so does a hormonal flamingo right before it kicks you in the nethers.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Safe bet is no.
Though I’m not familiar with recent Batgirl outside of Gail Simone’s disastrous handling of the character, I’d heard that the recent Stewart/Tarr partnership was yielding sweet fruit. Seems a little odd to shoot a well-received creative team in the feet, but that’s DC for you (remember, these are the guys who ran Grant Morrison out of town after Batman Incorporated wrapped). I’m not familiar with Hope Larson, but the creative direction and art look solid.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Yeah, maybe.
BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY
This is where you start to lose me a little. I know Barbara Gordon, back in her heyday as Oracle, was once in charge of a Birds of Prey team, but this seems closer to a good-girl revamp of Gotham City Sirens than any kind of Birds book. The art looks gruesome at first blush, and I’m not sure how keen I am to check out a tawdry-looking yarn about sisters doing it for themselves against some villain called The Someone (which, ok then).
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Veering towards “not really”.
I was never the biggest fan of future Batman Terry McGinnis, but apparently the creative team is solid. Sounds like it’ll be continuing a previous run, so maybe existing fans will be into that.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: If you like future Batman, sure.
Apparently Tom King’s Grayson run has been fairly well received, and he’s got a solid art lineup on deck (which thankfully means David Finch can just draw, rather than attempt to also write). I’m leery of any writer thinking he has the chops to take over from Snyder and Capullo’s beloved run, but of the options available I guess it sounds ok. Cover art looks pretty sick.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: I want it to be.
Not a fan of the character, but it looks ok if you’re into that.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: See above.
Also see above; not a huge fan of the character, and I can’t figure out why he’s scored his own ongoing. Oh, wait, yes I can – he starred in that new Batman v. Superman movie for all of ten seconds, and he’ll be appearing in the ill-fated Justice League movies. Sometimes capebooks being “helped” (read: influenced) by superhero movies isn’t such a good thing.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Same as Blue Beetle.
Wait, written by Christopher Priest? As in, the guy who wrote The Prestige? Colour me intrigued.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: From the cover, the interesting choice of writer and the lineup of hitherto unknown artists, I’ll say yeah for the same reason that I’d agree to try bourbon made from scorpion venom: could be fun.
A (literal) student of the Scott Snyder narrative school, I find James Tynion IV to be hit and miss. Talon was interesting, if a little bit of a one-trick pony, and he wrote some of the better chapters in Batman Eternal. On the other, his work on Batman back-ups left some to be desired. I’d approach with caution, though the notion of a Batman Boot Camp with Bats and Batwoman has me interested (but then again, anything with Batwoman interests me).
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Maybe as a taste-test.
It seems DC are on a roll with hiring writers and artists who are either brand new or ones I’ve never heard of. As such, I can’t offer an opinion on the new Flash team; as with Deathstroke, the cover seems pretty cool.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Hard to say. I’d wait for some results first.
Another creative team I don’t know. Evocative cover, though. Hopefully not too much is cribbed from Arrow for this one.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: See Flash above.
GEOFF JOHNS IS COMING BACK TO A GREEN LANTERN BOOK!! Ok, sure, he’s co-writing with Sam Humphries, but still!
Sounds like the focus will be on newcomers Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, which has the potential for an interesting buddy-cop dynamic. Not familiar with Rocha’s art, but Ardian Syaf is a solid choice.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Looks like it.
How does Robert Venditti reliably pick up new work? After ripping up most of the carpet Johns carefully laid down in Green Lantern, it seems Venditti is keen on continuing to ruin one of my favourite superhero characters. More power to him, I guess. Let’s hope the wonder of Ethan Van Sciver’s artwork is enough to counter Venditti’s storytelling shortcomings.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Once Venditti (hopefully) gets kicked from the book, sure.
I will never understand this apparent surge in Harley’s mainstream appeal. Was it the sexy nurse outfit from Arkham Asylum, her upcoming appearance in the Suicide Squad film, or just DC overcompensating by shilling a similarly fourth-wall-breaking hilarious character a la Deadpool? This mystery may never be solved, but considering we have Jimmy “All-Star Western” Palmiotti alongside Amanda “Female Artists Can Draw Power Girl’s Insanely Huge Boobs Too” Conner, I’d say it’s a safe bet that…
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: …this one’s best left on the rack.
More creatives that are unknown to me, but I do know it’s a shame Ray Fawkes isn’t onboard anymore. Maybe a fresh artistic shot in the arm is what Constantine needs to stay afloat.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Yet to be determined.
I’ve said before that artists don’t always make the best writers, so I hope Bryan Hitch keeps in mind that his characters need to be interesting as well as look cool. Tony Daniel on art is worrying given his recent track record, and I pray he isn’t set loose on narrative duties if Hitch falls behind.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: The smart money says no, but I’ve been wrong about artist-authors before.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA
The title is literally all we know of this book at present.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: In the (unlikely) event that it turns out Mark Waid will make a comeback to DC with art by Alex Ross, I’ll say hell yes. Otherwise, probably not.
A Shanghai boy, who isn’t some version of Clark Kent, becomes a new Superman. I’m interested.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Not sure art-wise, but the premise is intriguing.
The return of Dick Grayson’s superhero identity – as well as the trademark blue stripe – is a welcome one. I’m hoping Seeley does some great work here, especially with Javi Fernandez and Marcus To on art duties.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Hopefully.
You’re telling me Scott Lobdell still writes this title? And he’s being joined by Dexter Soy, artist on one of the most narratively compelling but visually confusing runs of Captain Marvel?
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Only to line your birdcage.
Oh look, a team book with the same lineup as the movie they’ve got coming out in August. What a coincidence. Sadly, Jim Lee’s art won’t be able to save this one.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Stick to the movie; at least it’ll only be painful for hours rather than months.
Yet more unknown creatives, but at least Kara’s no longer wearing the ridiculous thigh-bearing corset thing she had in the last run.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Fans of the show will probably dig it.
Tomasi and Gleason on a Superman book? Sign me the hell up. These guys did stellar work on Batman and Robin, so I’m game for whatever’s next.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Sweet merciful Darkseid, yes.
No word on a creative team, but the cover art gives me a strong Muppet Babies with superpowers vibe. I doubt the novelty will last long there.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: As a one-shot, maybe. As an ongoing, I doubt it.
Damian Wayne in charge of a new Teen Titans team is certainly an interesting concept, though that interest will depend on how newcomers Ben Percy and Jonboy Meyers do with writing and art, respectively. Thus far the only non-Grant Morrison writer to do Damian justice is Peter Tomasi, so consider my breath held on that count here.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Is Damian a snotty brat or a slightly punky but good-hearted asskicker? Once that question’s answered, the first one will be similarly resolved.
Call this spurious, but my assumption is that this’ll be the story which was initially slated for the failed pitch of the Titans TV series that got nixed last year. Abnett’s a good choice for writing duty, and the art looks pretty great. This’ll be one for nostalgic fans of the old guard rather than the Tim Drake-led millennial superhero wannabes from The New 52.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: I’d say so.
This is an immediate yes for Francis Manapul’s art alone, but the fact he’s tagged for writing duties only bolsters that yes. Sure, his run with Brian Buccellato on Detective Comics was a little wonky, but The Flash was a solid (and gorgeous) book. I wish only good things for his start here.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Most definitely, even if it’s just because it’ll look luscious.
I’ve only recently heard about the controversy surrounding Marguerite Bennett’s unceremonious dumping from the book, so I don’t have much to offer thought-wise regarding that little turnout. What I can say is that Greg Rucka is a fine choice of replacement; given his recent work on the acclaimed and kickass-women-friendly Lazarus, I imagine this’ll be one to check out.
IS IT WORTH GETTING?: Yup.
So there’s the upcoming state of play for DC Comics. The New 52 is dead, long live Rebirth. Remember, neither of these events were or are reboots, ever. They’re natural in the way a packet of M and Ms is natural; those grow on trees, right?
Compared to Marvel’s post-Secret Wars lineup, I’m not as enthused with how DC’s playing this one. The branching out to new creative teams is ambitious, but it leaves a lot of nebulous results above; the Marvel reboot at least had a lot of name power, where one could recognise at a glance whether what was coming would probably be good or bad (the latter mostly relying on whether James Robinson is writing it). It’s truly a brave new world in many respects for Rebirth, though let’s hope that world doesn’t involve Martian tripods and heat rays.