DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK1 of 12Over the weekend, DC Comics finally revealed the details of its upcoming Rebirth publishing initiative. The publisher is relaunching most of its line with a focus on incorporating more classic elements of the characters with their New 52 iterations.
With dozens upon dozens of characters and creators involved, there's a lot to process from the Rebirth announcements - much of it very exciting for fans of DC Comics.
Now, with a few days to process the news, Newsarama presents our first impressions of DC's Rebirth announcements.
TITANS IMPORTANT2 of 12There's more than one Titans book in the Rebirth plan, but perhaps just as notable is the statement by Geoff Johns that the current Titans Hunt storyline by Dan Abnett ties directly into DC Universe Rebirth. So Justice League isn't the only place to look for hints about Rebirth. Then after Rebirth, Abnett will return to Dick Grayson, Donna Troy, Arsenal, Garth and others in the July-launching Titans, which, again, Johns said will spin directly out of Rebirth.
CLASSIC IS BACK3 of 12There are lots of classic returns. From Ted Kord returning to the Blue Beetle mythology to Terry McGinnis back as Batman Beyond to Nightwing in black and blue, readers are getting the return of several fan-favorite names and costumes in roles similar to the ones they wore in the pre-Flashpoint universe. But most of the classic returns also incorporate the new — for example, Wally West might be back in the original Kid Flash costume, but he's the New 52 version of Wally West. And although Wonder Woman is in a more classic-feeling costume, new writer Greg Rucka has implied that the character's origin needs clarification, indicating that some of the New 52 changes might be tweaked toward her classic version. And although Huntress is now in costume, the non-superhero, New 52 Helena as part of Grayson is still in continuity. Overall — only judging from the costumes and early images — Rebirth does seem to deliver what Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns has been advertising: not a reboot, but a return to classics, incorporating elements of the New 52. And speaking of classic combining with new…
WRITER-CHARACTER REUNIONS4 of 12There are a few new creators making their debut in the Rebirth relaunch — including Marvel writers Josh Williamson and Sam Humphries — but they'll be joined by some fan favorites who are returning to characters they helped define in the pre-Flashpoint universe. Keith Giffen will return to Jaime Reyes, the character he co-created, as Blue Beetle, but he'll also be incorporating a new mentor for Jaime, Ted Kord, giving Giffen the chance to write him again after his classic run with the character in Justice League. And then Greg Rucka returning to Wonder Woman and Dan Jurgens returning to Superman are two moves that put familiar names on characters with which they're often identified.
LATE ADDITIONS5 of 12That said, among all these creators, there appears to be some last-minute recruiting by DC to get creators in place for their announcements. Of course, many of these books aren't launching until July or September, so there's plenty of time for these writers and artists to get going on their new #1 issues, but some of the books don't seem to have had creative teams until pretty recently. The Super-Man was changed to New Superman when Gene Yang came on board, and John Semper, who's writing Cyborg, indicated that his involvement is so recent that he hasn't even picked out a villain. After all the creator-shuffling that took place soon after the launch of the New 52, let's hope DC won't hurry its next relaunch with Rebirth, instead making sure the announced creators are here to stick around for awhile.
NOT REBIRTH6 of 12There are a few titles that were solicited among DC's initial Rebirth announcements that apparently don't count as part of the initiative.
According to DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio, both Gotham Academy: Second Semester and Earth Two will maintain their pre-rebirth status quo, presumably with creative teams intact. Similarly, Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner's Harley Quinn will stay its course, though it will be considered a Rebirth title in spirit.
GREEN LANTERN SURPRISES7 of 12It's not surprising that Hal Jordan is still getting the spotlight in one of the Green Lantern titles, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. And with Geoff Johns overseeing Rebirth, it's also fitting that two of his more recent Green Lantern creations, Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz, are included in the Green Lantern mythos. But what is surprising is just how much attention Jessica and Simon are getting. Not only will they be the Green Lanterns that star in the new Justice League title by Bryan Hitch, Tony Daniel and Fernando Pasarin, but they'll get their own title, Green Lanterns by Sam Humphries, Robson Rocha and Ardian Syaf.
LOTS OF SUPERS8 of 12When early images of Lex Luthor in a Superman suit emerged, readers wondered just how many Supermans there were in the Rebirth world. It turns out there are quite a few, and apparently there are multiple Lois Lanes too. The phenomenon arises because not only is Luthor wearing a Super-suit, but there's also a Chinese teenager version of Superman starring in Gene Yang's New Superman. And then there's the pre-Flashpoint Superman (who recently showed up in the New 52) — he's sticking around, and so are his wife Lois and his son Jonathan. The pre-Flashpoint Superman appears to be the main character of Superman and his son is in Super-Sons. He's also in Action Comics alongside the aforementioned Super-Luthor, although there's another Clark Kent (who might be the New 52 Superman?) in that title, too. (No word yet if there are two Lois Lanes, and whether one of them is the new, as-yet-unnamed character Superwoman, who now has her own title that's separate from the new Supergirl.)
QUESTIONS UNANSWERED9 of 12While the Rebirth announcements answered some of the biggest questions about the relaunch, there are still a few blindspots - including some titles that have yet to be revealed.
For example, we know Super-Sons stars Jonathan Kent and Damien Wayne, the sons of Batman and Superman, but we know nothing of the plot. Likewise, we know even less about JLA, including which characters are even on the team.
But perhaps the biggest question is, how will we get back to some of these "classic" iterations? The DC crew is quick to say Rebirth is not a reboot, but from the looks of things, there's some continuity rewriting going on.
THE JOKER10 of 12Remember that story in Justice League #42 when Batman had achieved New Gods status, and he learned the identity of the Joker? Sure, he didn't believe what he heard at the time, but does Batman ever forget anything? Apparently, he's not going to forget this one. Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns announced that, as he and Jason Fabok's Justice League builds toward Rebirth, readers will learn Joker's real name. "It'll all become clear when we get to that story," Johns said. As a teaser for the Joker reveal, DC showed an image that featured several iterations of the character. So does Batman learn only one name? Or several? There was also an indication that this reveal is part of the story of Rebirth — in Johns' 80-page special that kicks off Rebirth, he said the story opens with Batman trying to solve a problem related to the Joker.
MORE TO COME11 of 12There are more titles on the way. According to the folks at DC, the publisher intends to get around to all the classic characters and super-teams that readers would expect, including the Legion of Super-Heroes, Shazam, the Justice Society and the New Gods (interestingly, properties that Johns himself has worked on). But first, DC wanted to focus on the core characters and make sure those are done well, before they spread out to some of the other concepts. So if this batch of announcements has DC fans interested in what Rebirth means for the DCU, just wait! There's more!
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