Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wednesday Comics: DC Universe Rebirth - Spoiler Free Review

This review will be very brief because it is almost impossible to talk about this comic book without spoiling its surprises.  And in this case, I think the label "spoilers" is very appropriate.  If I had known what happened in this book before I read it, then my joy would have been spoiled.

DC Universe Rebirth is the potential swan song of Geoff Johns at DC.  I hope that's not the case because he is the greatest comic writer of all time.

Back in 2011, DC rebooted the entire DCU with the New 52.  As a sales technique, it was very effective for a few months.  I enjoyed a number of the fresh takes, but there was also a lot that was lost in terms of DC's history and legacy.  Some beloved characters were either removed or reinvented beyond recognition.  When you spend years with these characters, it can be difficult to see them go.

But DC Universe Rebirth feels very much like Johns way of addressing this problem and fixing it.

The art is fantastic.  I was so thrilled that some of my favorite artists working now contributed: Gary Frank, Ivan Reis, Ethan Van Sciver, and Phil Jimenez.  The visuals are gorgeous and Johns knows how to use them for maximum story and emotion.  And there are clues in the visual design of the comic before the big reveal that comic fans will notice especially on a second read.  Johns and the artists hit some truly iconic images and incorporate them into the story in a way that doesn't feel gimmicky, but organic and evocative.

Thematically, Johns again gets right to the core.  In fact the chapter titles spell it all out: Lost, Legacy, Love, and Life.  The hero who takes us through the narrative lays out the lead up to this problem and the potential pathway going forward.  As a Catholic, I love the idea that beyond all of the fancy mystical and science-fiction elements at play in these comics, it's the universal and transcendent truths that give our heroes their purpose.  What is life without faith, hope, and love?  Johns raises this question and foils it against the ultimate comic foe.

I will have to end my review here because to say any more will rob you of the joy of reading this book for only $2.99.  But one more thing about the big and sure-to-be-controversial reveal at the end.

The revelation and its implications would be stupid and silly in the hands of any other writer.  It would feel forced and cynical, like a gimmick beyond all gimmicks.  But I believe in Geoff Johns.  If he takes the story towards where it looks to be heading, he could have the makings of the greatest DC Comics story ever written.

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