Welcome back to Rebirth Roundup. We have reached what is known in the comics industry as the dreaded “Fifth Week”; comics publishing typically operates on a four week schedule, with books shipping the same week every month. When a month has five Wednesdays though, like this one, we get a week where they don’t have anything normal scheduled. In this case we get to see a lot of annuals and specials! We also got a look at the first full issue of Bombshells United. Royalty this week is Steve Orlando and Steve Pugh’s Supergirl Annual, read on to find out why. Spoilers ahead, as always!
Supergirl Annual #1
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Steve Pugh
Cover by Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques and Michael Atiyeh
People who don’t understand Supergirl find it hard to tell stories that challenge her. They just think you have to throw world shattering enemies at her over and over, and those stories do indeed get boring. Luckily, Steve Orlando is not one of those people. Steve gets that the best Supergirl stories don’t necessarily involve grand climatic fight scenes, but focus on the people she can’t save. The House of El’s biggest weakness isn’t Kryptonite, it’s their empathy. But it’s also their biggest strength. Steve uses that to his advantage by playing that trait against Supergirl, using the fact that she’s always willing to rehabilitate enemies instead of just punishing them to seed distrust with the people who still fear that enemy. The story in this issue was excellent, and the art was a perfect balance to the story.
All Star Batman #13
Written by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, and Rafael Scavone
Art by Rafael Albuquerque and Sebastian Fiumara
Cover by Rafael Albuquerque
Variant Cover by Rafael Albuquerque
This is a brilliant story of fathers and sons, and telling it mostly through the eyes of Alfred is an amazing choice. All Star Batman has been an amazing experiment for Snyder’s writing, and this arc is no different. Albuquerque does an amazing job conveying both the emotional scenes and the action. I look forward to the conclusion of both the arc and the title next issue.
The Black Racer and Shilo Norman Special
Written by Reginald Hudlin and Jack Kirby
Art by Denys Cowan, Ryan Benjamin, Bill Sienkiewicz, Richard Friend, Jack Kirby, Mike Royer. and Vince Colette
Cover by Cowan, Sienkiewicz, and Cox
I really enjoyed this issue. Denys Cowan’s art was perfect for the story, and harkened back to his Milestone Comics days. The idea of using two lesser known Kirby characters to explore many of his creations was great. Through the eyes of Shilo we got to see OMAC and Kamandi, and the rest of the New Gods. I also enjoyed the villain, billionaire Travis Donald, who was drawn to look very similar to a certain politician. What billionaire would take glee in depriving orphans of a billion dollars? I can’t think of any that would be that heartless, can you? Wait–maybe just one. The essay at the back of the issue discussed Kirby’s original plan for the Black Racer; that he wanted to give the character to a black creative team, and how much this book by a predominately black creative team would mean to him. A fitting tribute to a man who always hoped that his characters would exist beyond his own reach.
Bombshells United #1
Written by Marguerite Bennett
Art by Marguerite Sauvage
Cover by Terry and Rachel Dodson
Variant Cover by Babs Tarr
This was a book I desperately needed right now. It may be set during World War II, but it says truths that need to be said today. The issue is set around the issue of Japanese Internment, and the dark period of U.S. history that was. “It can’t happen here”– but it can and it has. The Wonder Girls, Wonder Woman and Dawnstar fighting injustice at home is just as important as the Bombshells fighting it abroad.
Written by Mark Evanier, Paul Levitz and Jack Kirby
Art by Scott Kolins, Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Jack Kirby, Vince Colletta
Cover by Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn
Kirby dots! Kirby dots everywhere! I really liked the Darkseid story, and the hope it instilled when fighting an oppressive tyrant. Darkseid will forever be one of Kirby’s most used and lasting creations, and deservedly so. With Darkseid, Kirby created the ultimate villain, one that represented everything he hated. While not every Darkseid story uses him correctly, this one absolutely does. Showing him to have fear, and that that fear is that others will stand up to him, makes him seem as an intimately real threat.
Justice League of America #13
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Ivan Reis and Julio Ferreira
Cover by Ivan Reis and Marcelo Maiolo
Variant Cover by Doug Mahnke and Will Quintana
This issue was fun and interesting, giving us a lot more detail to the woes of the microverse. But the best things in this issue were all the little character moments. That’s definitely Steve Orlando’s strongest quality in his writing. The tender moments between Dinah and Ray and between Caitlin and Ryan in between explosions were wonderful. Ivan Reis has been a favorite penciller of mine for quite some time, and his pencils are always a treat
Red Hood And The Outlaws Annual #1
Written by Scott Lobdell
Art by Tyler Kirkham
Cover by Tyler Kirkham and Tomeu Morey
I have been pleasantly surprised by the Red Hood and the Outlaws series, as I was not a fan of the previous iteration. Scott Lobdell’s writing in general typically leaves me cold, but this series has been consistently good. This issue especially was a treat, because I’m always here for Batfamily relationship stuff. Lobdell wrote Dick and Jason as very natural siblings, In particular the scene of them fighting over a bed was fantastic. The only thing I’m a bit confused about is timeline placement. It says that this took place before issue 12, but there wasn’t really anytime between issue 11 and 12 when this could have worked, because Bizarro was resting and healing.
Wonder Woman #29
Written by Shea Fontana
Art by Maki Miranda
Cover by Jesus Merino and Allen Passalaqua
Variant Cover by Jenny Frison
Well this issue was timely. With James Cameron’s comments last Thursday about how the cinematic Wonder Woman was a step backward for feminism and that Wonder Woman is “an objectified icon”, the opening scene of this issue feels extremely appropriate. Diana monologues, “Ever since I came to the World of Humanity, my flesh has been the subject of intense speculation.” Never has a bit of character writing felt more appropriate than now. Diana is so much more than just her looks, and Shea Fontana and Maki Miranda do a great job of exploring multiple aspects of the character.