DC Comics, once known as Detective Comics, slowly came to life and prosperity in the late 1930s and early 1940s. While moderately successful in its early days, it wasn’t until the rises of Batman and Superman that the company really took off. Skip ahead over 75 years, and DC Comics is one of the “big two," along with Marvel. Now, they’re about to completely reboot their entire line of comics… again.
After the marginal success of their last reboot, the company aims to refocus on the core of what makes their characters so special. This reboot’s called Rebirth, and as DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns explained in an announcement trailer, “The whole point of Rebirth for all of us is to get back to the essence of the characters.” Because sweeps like this don’t happen very often, this week we’re looking at Batman, Superman, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern. Do they mark a bold new direction for the company? Or should readers steer clear?
The Calendar Man is coming to change the seasons, and that's a bad forecast for Gotham. Batman and a new friend he seems to be training have to stop him before it's too late. The reader’s treated to Batman working out, Batman swimming in freezing cold water, and Batman generally being a sneaky dude. It’s hard to get Batman wrong, but without a strong forward-moving plot in this issue it’s hard to imagine where the series is going. Unlike some of the other comics in this week’s roundup, readers who haven’t been reading previous Batman comics will feel hopelessly lost.
Superman’s dead, but there’s another Superman with a beard from another galaxy, and he’s not dead, so he hopes to resurrect dead-Superman using Kryptonian technology. While this issue doesn’t offer much action, and really asks the reader to have read previous Superman comics, it’s exciting to see where this one could go. The idea of a (bearded) Superman who’s not actually from this world is interesting. Will he care as much about this adopt Earth, if this isn’t his home planet-adopted Earth?
One of the better entries in this series of Rebirth one-shots, Green Lanterns follows two new Green Lanterns who are given cosmic rings to help fight injustice and generally be cool and powerful. Having both Lanterns as complete rookies, jockeying against each other for their positions, is a great touch, and sure to lead to some very “comic book” moments. There’s a lot of room for the new Lanterns to grow, and readers should definitely keep an eye on this one as it rolls out.
Green Arrow’s a very interesting character. Imagine if Robin Hood, when he took off said hood, was a multimillionaire. It’s a strange dichotomy, and in Green Arrow: Rebirth #1, the authors play with that dichotomy. He calls himself a social justice warrior (nice touch), fights for the needy, and generally tries to explain why he’s not a bad person for being rich. He comes off as defensive, but with his heart in the right place, and his old flame Black Canary’s asking all the right questions. Of the group of these new comics, including Batman and Superman, this comic feels the most inspired. It also benefits from readers needing not know anything about the character or his backstory.
Check these comics out at your local comic shop, or online at DC Comics.