The DC Rebirth has begun! Last week, the new foundation for the DC Universe was set up, a new era that needed real heroes now more than ever. This week, the first batch of comics under this new tonal shift were released. So what’s changed exactly? Find out below, after the spoiler break.
Batman is trying something new
There’ve been a lot of Robins over the years. Right now, two of them have been officially sanctioned by Bruce Wayne in his war on crime: His son Damien Wayne and Tim Drake who operates as Red Robin. Both capable vigilantes, and both on two teams of Titans. Business as usual then? Not quite. Before DC Rebirth, there was another group of Robins running around, who had adopted the symbol of the sidekick to help make their streets safer.
Out of all of them, Duke Thomas was easily the best. A teenager from the inner city of Gotham, Thomas had potential that caught the eye of the Batman, in a manner that feels different to what we’ve seen before. Sure, Batman may be training him right now, but you get the feeling that Wayne sees a lot more of himself in Thomas than he does with previous Robins.
And don’t call Thomas a Robin either. As Batman himself put it, he’s “trying something new”. And that feels better already. In Batman Rebirth, the dark knight doesn’t feel so dark anymore. He comes across as more human than ever, a symbol who’ll stop at nothing to keep Gotham safe. Hell, he even cracks a small smile. After all, this is a Batman who is back in his prime, reborn as a symbol for hope in Gotham and its citizens. But to criminals? He’s still a symbol of something to fear.
Earth has had numerous Green Lanterns over the years, with two new additions to sector 2814 emerging recently: Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. Two new lanterns who embody what it means to be green. On the surface though, they couldn’t be more different. Cruz is an agoraphobic shut in whose fear allowed the Earth-0 Power Ring to infect her and use her as an unwilling puppet. Baz is a Muslim ring-slinger and former criminal who has to deal with daily racism.
But both of these Green Lanterns have managed to overcome impossible odds and emerge fearless in the process. Qualities that make for terrific Green Lanterns. The only problem? They aren’t exactly a dynamic duo, and veteran Green Lantern Hal Jordan needs somebody he can rely on to keep Earth safe while he’s off dealing with even bigger threats. Solution: Taking their lanterns, and merging them into one ring-charging device that requires both of them to be present for it to work.
Hoo boy, now that’s one odd couple in the works. Add in the mystery of a new Lantern ring which can apparently harness the power of the entire emotional spectrum and the Red Lanterns preparing for an event called “Red Dawn” (WOLVERINES!), and it looks like Baz and Cruz have their work cut out for them as they get some on the job training.
Just like Charlie Sheen’s career, Superman really is dead. Well, sort of. Because while the man of steel finally succumbed to his injuries in a cataclysmic battle that hammered the final nail in his coffin, another Kryptonian was present. Specifically, the Superman from the universe that pre-dated the New 52, a world that the Flash had apparently erased in the Flashpoint Paradox.
Thing is, this Superman isn’t ready to be the hero that everyone knows and loves. Kal-El has been operating in the shadows, doing what he can to keep the world safe without revealing his existence or that of his family. But this Superman is as dead as can be, right? Wait, this is a comic book death, you gullible person you! There’s always a way back!
Something the Pre-New 52 Superman is more than familiar with. Remember, he proper died when he fought Doomsday for the first time. Superman was basically punched into a death coma, his body stolen by his faithful droids and placed inside a regeneration matrix to heal. Bringing the New 52 Superman back should be a simple matter of taking his ashes and placing them within the regeneration matrix of his Fortress of Solitude!
Well shit. Looks like we’re in a need of a Superman, and a hard choice needs to be made to step back into the spotlight. Amidst all of that however? This moment, which shows just how human our Superman really was. Touching stuff.
And here’s the highlight of DC Rebirth week one. Out of all the heroes operating in the DCU, Green Arrow might just be the most relatable. Well, previous versions at least. The New 52 version of Green Arrow was essentially a muscled up Steve Jobs test-driving new equipment from his company, with the only real highlight being from Jeff Lemire who brought the emerald archer back down to reality.
But that’s where Green Arrow usually differentiates himself from other heroes. Sure, you can stop Darkseid from turning Earth into a new Apokolips, but what happens after all that? Who is there to stick up for the less fortunate and privileged? And that’s an idea that was explored way back in the 1970s already, when Green Arrow teamed up with Green Lantern.
Oliver Queen is a radical liberal, someone who actually makes a difference with his actions, not pretty words on social media. It’s not just about what you say, but about the action you take that defines you. And Queen is going back to those roots. His first new comic in DC Rebirth sets up his more liberal approach. About how he doesn’t give a damn about his secret identity as he works to save the downtrodden homeless people of Seattle from being exploited in the human slave trade.
That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a few lessons to learn however, thanks to Black Canary dropping a reality check on him throughout the issue. It’s easily the best comic out of the lot, a gritty yet fun single issue that resonates far more than Batman training a new partner or the Green Lantern corps facing a new red menace.
And thanks to some magnificent art by Otto Schmidt, the DC Rebirth of Green Arrow pops right out of the page.