New Comics Week 6/15/16: Rebirth Cannot Be Stopped

Civil War II #2 (or Civil War Tutu, as I’m calling it in my head) is definitely an improvement on the first issue, though still riddled with odd character choices and contrivances. The issue revolves around Tony kidnapping the future-predicting Ulysses to figure out how his power works (aside from its major flaw of not giving him a vision of Iron Man coming to kidnap him). While the Inhumans and Carol’s faction of heroes track down Tony, he and (a very well written) Friday ‘study’ Ulysses. The interaction between the two is the best part of the book as Tony, grief-stricken over Rhodey’s death, is the only person so far to not treat Ulysses with kid gloves, but rather as a potential threat. Of course the rest of the heroes burst in to ‘save’ the day, but are then all treated to a chilling projection of Ulysses’ most recent vision which is set to be the crux of the conflict this time around. The Civil War X-Men Tie-In fairs quite a bit better and makes me with that they’d picked a different event to sequel and gone with IvX, as the Inhumans and Mutants have a conflict that is both more interesting and less of a stretch than the one between Carol and Tony

Han Solo, aside from having Mark Brooks interiors (which is always a good thing) has a nice loose feel to it that’s just what the medical droid ordered. Writer Marjorie Liu just nails the tone for what a Han comic should sound and feel like perfectly. Set between New Hope and Empire, Leia suspects traitors in the rebellion and sends Solo to use a race as his cover to retrieve information from a spy network. It’s probably the most accessible of any of the non-core titles so far and absolutely the most fun.

I’m not going to say much about Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade because I’m running a little long but it is a must-buy. It’s beautiful, heartbreaking, and the most worthy addition to the DKR canon that’s ever been produced.

Justice League #51 (not a part of Rebirth, per se) is a great single issue that hits every note that a Justice League comic should. The issue flashes back five years to the first time that Batman brought Dick Grayson/Robin to meet the Justice League. It’s full of moments that bring a smile to your face as Dick tries to keep himself together in front of the League during a battle before finally proving his mettle. Of course, there’s a reason for this little jaunt to the past as something happens that’s sure to pay off in Titans, Nightwing, or both.

Titans is a bit of a mixed bag as it’s well written and hits all the right buttons, but is the lightest read of the whole bunch so far. The entire issue is basically Wally West finally getting the Titans to remember him, one by one. On the one hand, I see why this is necessary- I’m not a huge Titans fan and have only read the odd story here and there. This issue is exactly what I needed to jump in and start caring, but longtime fans and readers may feel a little shortchanged. Still, the first issue of their regular series will be one to watch as they’re set the go headfirst at whoever (Dr. Manhattan) altered reality in the first place.

Tom King wastes no time in spelling out his philosophy on the Dark Knight in his debut Batman issue as he rushes to stop a plane from crashing in the middle of the city. It’s gloriously paced and impressively rendered by the always-solid David Finch. Though that’s pretty much all that happens, it’s done with King’s signature style which hammers home a theme- this issue’s revolving around the fact that Batman is, for all the trappings, just a man. This is reinforced when the day is saved in the end by Gotham’s newest heroes who are very much meta-humans. This is an interesting place to go as Batman seems to have no problem standing shoulder to shoulder with the League, but the League isn’t moving in on his home turf. Luckily, we won’t have to wait long to find out!

Green Arrow keeps the momentum from the Rebirth one shot rolling with Ollie and Dinah continuing to dig into the human trafficking operation, and it turns out the man in the red mask is a lot closer than Ollie realized. The chemistry between GA and Canary is still strong, and still making you wonder why anyone thought keeping them apart was a good idea. The book wastes no time in quickly and cleanly setting up Arrow’s status quo in Seattle before promptly burning it all to the ground. Otto Schmidt’s art remains dynamic, stylized and expressive- really just a joy to look at. Combined with Ben Percy’s sharp script and forward momentum for the story, this book is staying on the buy-list.

Superman #1 is a welcome and refreshing read, as it’s focusing on the pre-52 Lois and Clark as they raise their superpowered son Jonathan. It initially brings to mind all of those silly Silver Age issues with ‘imaginary stories’ of Lois becoming ‘Mrs. Superman’ as they encounter all sorts of hijinks trying to raise a superpowered baby, though this takes a far more ‘realistic’ look at the scenario. Jonathan is an instantly believable and relatable character and this is a book that definitely has legs. Much like Renew Your Vows, there’s something that feels good about seeing the characters mature in this way while still retaining everything that’s made them so lasting.

Green Lanterns #1 was hands down (and unexpectedly) my favorite Rebirth title of the week. The cop-theme continues to play out as Baz and Jess stumble upon a fairly gruesome alien-related crime scene, which is only a small piece in the story as the Red Lanterns and the rogue Guardian seen in the Rebirth one-shot. The back and forth between our two lanterns is still a pleasure to behold as they bicker through their investigation, but I’m even more impressed by how well the characters are written out of uniform. Jessie is still dealing with overcoming her agoraphobia and Baz is being blackmailed by ARGUS to feed them information about the Corps, making for some fantastic personal drama.

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