In this installment of Rebirth Roundup we have a couple cases of beautiful lettering, a fundamental misunderstanding of a team sport, and our favorite Amazon meeting one of our favorite barbarians. Rebirth Royalty this week goes to Batman: The Red Death, in a book that gives us the origin of our first Dark Knight. Read on for my thoughts and some spoilers for this week’s DC books.
Batman: The Red Death #1
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico and Ewan Plascencia
Cover by Jason Fabok and Dean White
Variant Cover by Riccardo Federici
I am a sucker for Crisis imagery, and this book was full of it. Which makes a lot of sense since it’s the first of the tie-in one-shots and the one that is Flash-focused. From red skies to exploding earths, this one gave me a lot to love. The origin of the Red Death Batman, trying to do the wrong thing for the right reasons probably boils down the core of all these animated fears of Bruce. He fears that in his quest for justice, he’ll go too far, and there will be no coming back. There certainly was no coming back for this version of Bruce, as he brutally ripped the Scarecrow in half. And we did get to see a little bit of the Batman Who Laughs’ machinations, as we build toward the climax of Dark Nights: Metal. Carmine and Ewan did a great job of mixing the brightness of a Flash comic with the darkness of a Batman comic.
Written by Dan Abnett
Art by Stjepan Sejic
Cover by Stjepan Sejic
Variant Cover by Joshua Middleton
I don’t talk about lettering much in my roundup reviews. One reason is my reviews are short snippets, so that I can say something for every book released. Another is that with good lettering, you don’t often notice it. It’s there and it’s readable, and it makes the story easier to get through. You notice bad lettering. It makes a book hard to read, and can be a jumbled mess. Likewise, you notice great lettering. And that’s what this book has. Steve Wands has magical lettering in this book. From the beautiful text of the setting changes, to the narration boxes and word balloons, everything is so wonderful that it makes the story even more beautiful than even Sejic’s gorgeous art alone would. Which is not to take anything away from Sejic; his art still some of the most alluring I’ve ever seen on a comic page. I’m also really enjoying the exiled king story, but the art is where this book is really shining right now.
Written by Tom King
Art by Mikel Janin and June Chung
Cover by Mikel Janin
Variant Cover by Tim Sale and Brennan Wagner
I’m still not 100% sold on the premise of the “War of Jokes and Riddles”. I can’t see Batman ever allowing something to escalate so badly, even at the beginning of his career. I can’t see Batman siding with one killer over another killer, rather than taking both out one at a time. Let them finish their squabble in Arkham, Bruce, rather than letting them burn down the city. I also don’t get King’s fascination with trying to make Kite Man cool. Kite Man is the new Fetch, Tom, it’s never going to happen. The book is still very pretty though, and Riddler is still stupid sexy.
Written by Marguerite Bennett
Art by Fernando Blanco and John Rauch
Cover by Ben Oliver
Variant Cover by Robbi Rodriguez
It’s a shame that the cover of this comic spoiled the reveal at the end, and also a lot of the story. Just from the cover, we’re going to know going in that we shouldn’t trust Kate’s perceptions at all. That really made the whole issue a bit of a bore for me, as I already knew what was going on as I read.
Bug: The Adventures of Forager #4
Written by Lee Allred
Art by Michael Allred and Laura Allred
Cover by Michael Allread and Laura Allred
Variant Cover by Andrew Maclean and Jordie Bellaire
This book is, like every other Young Animal book, wonderfully bizarre. I’m still not 100% sure what’s going on, but I’m enjoying all the nice cameos from the more obscure corners of the DC Universe. Hopefully, everything will click together and make more sense soon.
Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #12
Written by Gerard Way and John Rivera
Art by Michael Avon Oeming and Nick Filardi
Cover by Michael Avon Oeming and Nick Fliardi
Variant Cover by Rosemary Valero O’Connell
This book has definitely been my least favorite of the Young Animal books. Not that it’s been bad, I can vouch that the story has been really bizarre and fun, and the art is what I’ve come to expect from the imprint with its trippiness and bombastic colors. But I don’t really care about the story or the characters. It might just be because I had no prior knowledge whatsoever about Cave Carson. With Shade and Doom Patrol, I at least had a passing knowledge of those characters. Cave’s all new to me, and I just can’t seem to get into him. That said, this was a satisfying conclusion to the the beginning of this book’s story.
Future Quest Presents #2
Written by Jeff Parker
Art by Ariel Olivetti
Cover by Ariel Olivetti
Variant Cover by Mac Rey
It is apparently the week where I talk about excellent lettering. Dave Lanphear’s work in this issue is phenomenal. I especially love how sharp his sound effects look. The only Space Ghost I really know is the comedic one from Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, so I have little opinions one way or the other on the character as a whole. That said, this series is doing a good job expanding the lore of its universe, and the scene with Jan and Jace’s parents was impressive.
Green Arrow #31
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Otto Schmidt
Cover by Otto Schmidt
Variant Cover by Mike Grell and Lovern Kindzierski
I don’t comment on covers that often, but wow, do I love this cover. Otto really makes the collage piece work. As for the story, this will be the issue that launches 1000 new Hal and Ollie ships. You don’t just say those kinds of things, Hal! This was a great end to the “Hard Traveling Hero” arc. It was great seeing all of Ollie’s friends come to make sure he was okay, and really something special to see them offer him a seat at the table. I do take umbrage at Ollie saying he’s good with teen sidekicks, because we all know he’s not.
Green Lanterns #31
Written by Sam Humphries
Art by Ronan Cliquet and Hi-Fi
Cover by Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessy, Jason Wright
Variant Cover by Brandon Peterson
This arc was a wild and fun ride. It came to a very satisfying climax in this issue, and our Earth Lanterns finally got to return home. Jessica ending the conflict through teaching was great, using what had been taught to her to help others. Next issue is Humphries’ last, and it’s been one of the best runs on a Green Lantern book in a very long time.
Harley Quinn #28
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner
Art by John Timms, Tom Derenick and Alex Sinclair
Cover by Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts
Variant Cover by Frank Cho and Sabine Rich
The biggest thing I have to say about this issue is that its pretty obvious that Jimmy and Amanda have never watched a Roller Derby match in their lives. Their “bouts” are just one on one MMA beatdowns on roller skates, not the team sport with actual rules. Otherwise, I guess this issue happened? Harley’s running for Mayor of New York, and announced her candidacy by busting a car theft ring. I just can’t really seem to care about this book. Also, how is Harley simultaneously living in both Coney Island and Belle Reeve?
Injustice 2 #10
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Daniel Sampere, Juan Albarran and Rex Lokus
Cover by Bruno Redondo, Juan Albarran and Alejandro Sanchez
I never thought that the comic tied in with a fighting video game would be the one that is absolutely rich with obscure DC character pulls. I honestly never expected to see Offspring again. Thunder and Lightning make sense to be bringing back in some capacity before Black Lightning airs. Much like the game itself, this series comes as a welcome surprise and I’ve enjoyed it.
Justice League #29
Written by Bryan Hitch
Art by Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert, Andy Owens and Brad Anderson
Cover by Bryan Hitch and Jeramiah Skipper
Variant Cover by Nick Bradshaw and Alex Sinclair
It seems Bryan Hitch is trying to build toward some big, epic climax for his run, tying everything he’s done together, but it mostly feels like a cobbled mess to me. He brings up things from past arcs here and there, but they really don’t feel like they have anything to really do with this arc. The best thing I can say about this issue is that we did get some great scenes, including Wonder Woman showing the kids why she’s in the Justice League and they’re just wannabe Teen Titans.
Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Paul Pelletier, Andrew Hennessy, and Adriano Lucas
Cover by Stjepan Sejic
Variant Cover by Casey Jones and Hi-Fi
Apparently, Tim Seeley has been building towards Dark Nights: Metal almost as long as Scott Snyder has. He’s been laying hints at Nightwing’s role in this crossover from the beginning of his run, and they are paying off beautifully. The Gotham Resistance is such a weird team, but it’s always nice to have Damian and Dick together. Dick comforting Damian, and telling him that they’ve been there before, was heartwarming. Directly opposed to that heartwarming moment was the bone chilling revelation that there are more than four creepy, cannibalistic Robin ghouls. An army of those terrifying monsters screaming “CROW” is one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen. “Gotham Resistance” continues in next week’s Suicide Squad, and we get one more Nightwing arc out Tim Seeley before he trades books with Sam Humphries.
Super Sons #8
Written by Peter Tomasi
Art by Jorge Jimenez and Alejandro Sanchez
Cover by Jimenez and Sanchez
Variant Cover by Dustin Nguyen
This series continues to be a perfect series for both Robin and Superboy. They play off each other so well, so consistently, it’s amazing. I’ve learned that I can only really appreciate Damian Wayne if he has the right foil. He doesn’t work for me when paired with Bruce, but does when he’s paired with Dick, Jon, or his Teen Titans. Jorge Jimenez’s pencils are also a perfect fit for this book, giving it a youthful and animated feel constantly. In particular the panel of Superboy using his super breath was stellar.
Written by James Bonny
Art by Tyler Kirkham and Arif Prianto
Cover by Ian Churchill
Variant Cover by Jonboy Meyers
“I’m Lois Lane. I know things for a living.” This is the kind of fill-in issue that I can get behind. In fact, DC, if you’re listening, give me a Lois Lane solo series. I want to read more stories about her doing her hard hitting investigative journalist thing. Tyler Kirkham still has the style that he helped popularize at Top Cow, a very similar style to Michael Turner. This was a great fill-in, with a very intense cliffhanger.
The Wild Storm #7
Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Jon Davis-Hunt and Steve Bucellatto
Cover by Jon Davis-Hunt
Variant Cover by Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair; Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair
STREAKY! I’m sorry, you expected me to talk about Wildstorm characters when the first page has an orange cat named Streaky? Pfft. Fine. I’m not overly familiar with the Wildstorm stable of characters. I know a handful of them, but not much. Zealot and Grifter, from the old WildC.A.T.s cartoon. Midnighter and Apollo, because reasons. Gen 13, because it was a big thing for awhile. So this series is doing exactly what it was intended for, and introducing me to the universe at large. I’m invested. Let’s see where this goes.
Written by Rob Williams
Art by V. Ken Marion, Ray McCarthy and Dinei Ribiero
Cover by David Finch and Brad Anderson
Variant Cover by Bill Sienkiewicz
I really like how this issue was bookended. Opening with the monologue about how Clark’s parents made him who he is, and ending with him possessed was a great way to open and close this issue. I have a feeling Rob Williams had just watched Star Wars when he wrote this, because Constantine makes both Alec Guinness and Peter Cushing references.
Wonder Woman/Conan #1
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan and Wendy Broome
Cover by Darick Robertson with Tony Avina
Variant Cover by Liam Sharp with Laura Martin
CROM! I am very glad they tapped Gail to write this series. If there’s one writer that excels at writing both the world of Conan and the world of Diana, it’s her. I do wish that it had been Wonder Woman and Red Sonja, but I will happily take Wonder Woman and Conan. I am very intrigued by the premise, and it should prove interesting to see the details unfold. How did Diana lose her memories? How did she get to Conan’s universe? Most importantly, how badly is she going to destroy him in single combat? All things I hope we get satisfying answers to as the series unfolds.