DC Universe: Rebirth #1

by Alan Rapp on May 30, 2016

in Comics

“Every second was a gift.”

DC Universe: Rebirth #1It always starts with the Flash. Since 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths every major DC Comics’ reboot, realignment, restructuring, or rebirth (so to speak) can be tied back to the character who gave birth the the Silver Age of comics. This time it isn’t Barry Allen at the center of events, but Wally West. Last seen five years ago, Wally returns to the DCU with a bang.

When DC needed to find a way to write themselves out of the mess Ron Marz had made of Green Lantern they called Geoff Johns. Although it’s led to a never-ending rainbow war of ring-weilders and Blackest Night, Johns was able to find a way to bring back Hal Jordan and right a ship which had been taking one far too much water for far too long.

I’ve been worn down by the New 52. DC’s gritty 2011 reboot chose (seemingly at random) what to keep and what to toss away (including decades of established continuity). DC Universe: Rebirth #1 offers something missing in the heart-shaped hole at the middle of the New 52 – an understanding and acknowledgement that every moment is precious.

Shown to us from Wally’s perspective, forgotten and trapped in the Speed Force following the events of Flashpoint, Johns clues in new readers on Wally’s history as well as pieces of the DCU that have been lost over the last half-decade. Teasing the re-pairing of Green Arrow and Black Canary, the wistful tale is a love letter to a character DC chose to throw away five years ago. Tragic but full of hope, Wally fights til the end as his eventual reunion with Barry Allen proves to be the spark for rebirth.

Unlike in Green Lantern: Rebirth where Johns had to create the entity of Parallax to explain the horrific storytelling of Marz who was given just enough rope to kill off an entire generation of GL fans, here Johns’ choice to incorporate Watchmen into the story offers some intriguing possibilities. Neither hero nor villain, Dr. Manhattan is unlike any character the DCU proper has on its roster. I’ve very curious to see just where this will go.

While the Watchmen integration is getting most of the mainstream press, I’m far more interested in the promise that Johns delivers with embracing the large corners of a wider DCU and giving readers more hopeful tales in the future. I know this is only a single issue, but after putting down DC Universe: Rebirth #1 I’m more hopeful than I’ve been about DC Comics than I have been since Bryan Q. Miller‘s Batgirl run. You lit the spark Mr. Johns, now lets hope the writers and artists to follow have a clear path about where to take this new version of the DCU (unlike what happened five years ago). You’ve delivered the best DC Comics’ issue in years; don’t screw it up. Must-read.

[DC, $2.99]

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