In this week’s Rebirth Roundup we have a sexy Riddler, three fascist futures, and a tribute befitting a King. There was no Scooby-Doo this week, so there will be less punning in this column. No Detective Comics this week either, but there will still be Spoilers. (Okay, I swear that’s the last time I use that joke). This week I’m happy to say that the Rebirth Royalty is The Sandman Special.
The Sandman Special #1
Written by Dan Jurgens and Steve Orlando
Art by Jon Bogdanove and Rick Leonardi
Cover by Paul Pope
I have to confess, Jack Kirby’s Sandman is the one bit of his DC output I’m not very familiar with, because it was a different corner of the universe from most of the rest. But the very aspect where Newsboy Legion and the Boy Commandos failed last week, Sandman shined. This book was an incredible and respectful applause of Kirby’s legacy. Bogdanove did a great job of channeling Kirby’s style, which is one of the things Bog has always been good at. There was an issue of Superman: The Man of Steel where he mimicked the styles of every notable Batman artist to wonderful effect. The inclusion of the Thor analogue in the Jurgens/Bogdanove story, and the happy twist ending were both wonderful ways to honor the King. In the Orlando and Leonardi story, we got the other side of the spectrum with Kirby. While Jurgens and Bogdanove celebrated Kirby’s creativity and art, Orlando and Leonardi celebrated his lasting impact and legacy. Jack Kirby was one of the most creative and influential forces to shape comics as a medium, and this entire issue was an amazing tribute to his everlasting memory.
Written by Dan Abnett
Art and cover by Stjepan Sejic
Variant cover by Joshua Middleton
If going to a monthly schedule is the price we have to pay for Stjepan Sejic’s beautiful art every issue of Aquaman, it is a more than fair price. Every issue he’s drawn has been absolutely gorgeous. This arc has also been fantastic and timely. The parallels between our own reality and Aquaman’s are powerful.
Written by Tom King
Art and cover by Mikel Janín
Variant cover by Tim Sale
This is quite possibly the most bizarrely interesting issue of any comic I’ve ever read. The entirety of the issue takes place during a fancy dinner Bruce Wayne is hosting for the Joker and the still inexplicably sexy Riddler. He asks them to convince him which side to back, and they each make their case. The War of Jokes and Riddles continues to be a well crafted and interesting arc with absolutely gorgeous art by Mikel Janín. He even makes Penguin look good. When asked about the unforeseen sexiness of the Riddler, Janín had this to say:
Tom’s words: ‘a Riddler who’s been in prison and working out for a year… buff, dangerous, sexy. He should be as seductive as the devil.’
So there you have it, Janín may provide the visuals, but Sexy Riddler™️ is all Tom King’s fault.
Written by Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV
Art and cover by Eddy Barrows
Variant cover by Michael Cho
Can’t say I’m all that thrilled with another alternate future with yet another evil Tim Drake. I trust in Tynion enough that I feel this will be done well, but I’m tired of seeing villainous versions of my favorite characters. It was nice to finally see Rene, I’ve missed her. Would have been nicer had she not been fridged.
Gotham City Garage #1
Written by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing
Art by Brian Ching
A digital first book, so we get this in ten page chunks instead of 22 pages a month. It’s mostly an issue of world building, showing us Governor Luthor’s Garden, a fascist state patrolled by law enforcement in Batsuits, known as Gardeners. Kara breaks out of the Garden, after her dad, Jim Gordon (!!!!) drops the bombshell–wait, wrong fascist punching AU–that she was found and not born to him. And as she’s about to be executed she meets up with the other Garagers (we need a name like Bombshells tbh). Big Barda in particular looks rad as hell.
Green Arrow #29
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Juan Ferreyra
Covers by Otto Schmidt
Variant covers by Mike Grell
Green Arrow has been a consistently fun series during Rebirth, but that had a hiccup here. This issue didn’t live up to the rest of the arc, nor the previous few arcs. Green Arrow and Batman don’t work particularly well together, but that’s not to say it can’t work. Mostly this issue served as nothing more than filler to lead to the next issue. It was boring and parts were cliche. The rest of the arc, especially the Wonder Woman and Superman issues have been fantastic, and I hope the Green Lantern issue can pick that back up.
Green Lanterns #29
Written by Sam Humphries
Art by Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira
Cover by Brad Walker and Drew Hennessey
Variant cover by Brandon Peterson
Green Lanterns was a series I was ambivalent about, because I didn’t really care about either lead character. Kyle’s always been my Lantern, and so I had no real desire to start Green Lanterns. Oh boy do I regret that. This book is among the best things Rebirth has to offer, both in terms of story and art. And while I didn’t care about Jessica or Simon before I started, I sure do now. Jessica has sky rocketed to the top of my Lanterns list, resting just below Kyle. The way Humphries has written her anxiety is effective and powerful, and I find myself rooting for her more and more with every issue. The current arc is an interesting premise, and I enjoy the bits of foreshadowing we’ve seen. Having the two rookie Lanterns in charge of training the very first Lanterns is a very nice twist, and I absolutely love the fact that the first Lanterns were plucked from worlds familiar to DC fans.
Justice League #27
Written by Bryan Hitch
Art by Fernando Pasarin and Oclair Albert
Cover by Bryan Hitch
Variant cover by Nick Bradshaw
This arc is a confusing mess of time travel, paradoxes and out of character moments. I know time travel stories in general tend to be confusing, but this is a step beyond. The worst thing is the completely out of character moments. They abound, from Wonder Woman being cold and unwelcoming, to Jessica quickly shrugging off her anxiety. I can only hope the next issue can clear some of this up, because I’m utterly lost at this point.
Written by Tim Seeley
Art and cover by Javier Fernandez
Variant cover by Casey Jones
So this arc is a little bit lost on me, because I never read Grayson, but it’s still been a lot of fun, continuing the string of hits Nightwing has had since the Bludhaven arc. Seeley has me invested in Nightwing’s supporting cast in a way I haven’t been for years, and even the side plots with the secondary characters have me deeply interested. Javier Fernandez continues to be making a name for himself as one of the definitive Nightwing artists, right up there with Scott McDaniel. Nightwing continues to be one of my favorite books of Rebirth.
Written by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason and Keith Champagne
Art by Doug Mahnke and Jaime Mendoza
Cover by Ryan Sook
Variant cover by Jorge Jimenez
An issue all about the fear of a father, as Jon Kent has gone missing, along with several other kids. It turns out that the culprit is Parallax, the yellow entity of fear, looking to spread that fear throughout Metropolis to grow in power. I won’t spoil it, but the last couple of pages are absolutely chilling.
Super Sons #7
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art and cover by Jorge Jimenez
Variant cover by Dustin Nguyen
This issue was a lot of fun. It was nice seeing a glimpse of what Superboy will look like when working with the Teen Titans. Jon and Damian’s relationship continues to be one of the best things in today’s comics, as Damian is always best balanced by someone bright and optimistic. It’s also nice that Tomasi is the consistent voice of Jon, through both Super Sons and Superman. Jorge Jimenez’s art is as always cartoony and dynamic, a perfect fit for such a fun book.
Written by Rob Williams
Art and cover by Clay Mann
Variant cover by Bill Sienkiewicz
We get not one, not two, but three trinities in this issue. There’s the traditional big three who headline the book, there’s the anti-hero trinity that star in Red Hood and the Outlaws, and then there’s the supernatural trinity of Deadman, Constantine and Zatanna.
Wonder Woman #28
Written by Shea Fontana
Art by David Messina
Cover by Jesus Merino
Variant cover by Jenny Frison
I’m so glad Shea Fontana is getting a shot at a huge book like Wonder Woman, as her work on DC Superhero Girls has been incredible. Her Wonder Woman arc has shown how deep her understanding of Diana is, and how to respect all aspects of her. Diana is a beacon of hope and peace, but sometimes that means fighting. Her Diana is a warrior, but not one without compassion, as the scene in the hospital showed. David Messina’s artwork in this issue is stunning, and reminds me a lot of the Dodsons.
Well that’s all we got this week. What do you mean something’s missing? Something big? Something epic? Something Metal, perhaps? Don’t worry, Dark Nights: Metal #1 was important enough to warrant it’s own piece, coming your way Monday morning.
See you next week.