I try looking for the common threads in comics that I select for review. Sometimes it’s obvious but occasionally it’s a tough one to figure out. However, there’s always some subliminal element that I pick up on that determines my list.
Life’s like that. The commonalities in life are always present but usually we get too caught up in the routines of our daily lives to stop and look for them. Which is one of the reasons why I like my weekly reviews. It forces me to pause and reflect – and reflection is a way in which we learn. I tell my students that and sometimes they believe me.
The list this week has an obvious topical relationship. Look at all the Rebirth titles from DC. That alone should identify the dominant theme. Rebirth is renewal, and there are a lot of issues this week that explore classic ideas or characters.
The Fix #3
What do you do when you are unsatisfied with your present situation? Well, you redefine your values and sure enough, that’s the theme in Image Comics The Fix. Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber are not only providing us with laughs over this darkly humorous book about dirty cops climbing the social ladder in Hollywood, but they’re also laughing themselves about the fact that Issues #1 and #2 have gone into reprint status.
It’s the situational comedy that really reaches out and grabs you. Put our hapless anti-hero, Roy, in a situation that he can spin and twist for his own personal gain and you have yourself an instant hit comedy. It’s definitely worth a read at least to see how Roy can screw over his colleagues and improves his own level of material gain as he is constantly on the prowl for a quick … fix.
Oh … see what I did there?
Of course, when your direct supervising officer at the Police station is the criminal mastermind you work for, it becomes a little more difficult to separate work from … well, more lucrative work.
This is an issue that signals the oncoming of a new age for this book. Warren Ellis has crafted a unique fusion of the supernatural and the internet that must involve a tremendous amount of foresight. This is a harbinger of the stories to come in that we have tested the mettle of these characters, learned their abilities and limitations. The last ten issues of this story have been a very long set-up for the real challenges that lie ahead.
Injection will return at the end of the year, sad to say. However, I’m sure that will provide enough time for the hardcover to come out and give latecomers a chance to read the stories back to back to this point.
I loved the focus on Viv Headland though. He is the consummate strategist and I love that he can look a man armed with a pistol in the eye and say “I unloaded your guns hours ago”.
Sorry – was that a spoiler? Well, at least I didn’t give away the context. You’ll have to check it out now and see what I’m talking about.
Star Trek – Manifest Destiny #4
The end of the story for this mini-series. It ended with a sense of realization that Klingons have a deeper culture than was previously realized. Sad to say, there wasn’t the depth of character exploration necessary to really justify that discovery. However, this illustrates the problem with the new timeline: everything that will be “discovered” by the crew in this reality will be simply a pleasant prod in the nether regions of nostalgia followed by an overall sense of disappointment at the way it’s been altered to make it novel.
Sad to say, NuTrek isn’t a rebirth of Star Trek, it’s more like a gross genetic mutation. However, it is apparently where things will likely end up, in the films at least.
Sorry … sorry. Disgruntled and reactionary old Trekker here. But I can’t find any fault with this comic save the source material. This actually wasn’t a bad story. If you ignore the premise of the altered timeline and try to appreciate it outside of those new parameters, it’s a good old-fashioned donnybrook between Star Fleet and the Klingon Empire. Aside from the relative quickness of the Klingons’ defeat, it wasn’t too bad.
Wonder Woman Rebirth #1
One of the ideas that stands out in Wonder Woman Rebirth is what the “wonder” in Wonder Woman means. Diana, Princess of the Amazons used to think it meant “awe”, but in time she understands that it is actually is a question, in that how did this woman come to be?
In this story, Wonder Woman tries to reconcile the conflicting memories she has of her origins. Is she the daughter of the queen of the Amazons, fashioned from clay, or is she the daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus? Out of the conflict of these two differing stories comes a new fusion of ideas. This first issue sets up those questions remarkably well and prepares the stage for us to discover the new truth in the following issues. This is truly a rebirth saga and one that I have to confess I am looking forward picking up in the future!
The Flash Rebirth #1
Again, another character tries to make sense of the altered timeline that the new DC Universe is forming from. A lot of this comic makes reference to DC Universe Rebirth as that story centres mostly on Wally West; with his close relationship to Barry Allen, that just makes sense. While this is probably the weakest of the Rebirth stories I’ve read so far, it’s still an excellent complement to the other stories. It reinforces the central idea of change and it takes his rightful place beside the other books.
Action Comics Rebirth #957
This one is a bit of puzzler. I hate giving away spoilers but in this case I have to so that you know what I’m talking about.
Two Supermen – one alive, the other dead. All of a sudden, Clark Kent shows up out of the crowd. In this case the theme of rebirth is clouded by too much mystery. Luthor is a predictable foil to the Superman from another Earth and while I like and appreciate that there is still a bit of respect given to the development of Luther in the recent issues of Justice League, I find that this book has obscured its rebirth theme too much for it to make any degree of sense. It’s a bit of a frustrating book, but to be fair to Dan Jurgens, I think there was an awful lot of Superman baggage that he had to slag his way through in order to create a workable story. It will probably become clearer as we get into future issues.
Aquaman Rebirth #1
What a great re-examination of this hero. I love how Dan Abnett presents him as a misunderstood hero or pop-culture joke: the merman that talks to fish. It’s a beautiful acknowledgement of the way that we typically dismiss Aquaman but in the same breath, he turns this idea upside down and reminds us that Aquaman is the king of a foreign state, ruler of over two thirds of the Earth and regards himself without ego that he is the protector of the majority of the planet. The seas are his domain and we fail to take how powerful that really makes him.
However, he ends this issue on a more modest note. Despite these abilities, Aquaman sees himself as the son of a light-house keeper, a loyal husband and a servant to his people. It’s a beautiful presentation and really makes us look at this character with a sense of renewal.
Detective Comics Rebirth #934
I really liked this issue. James Tynion IV and Eddy Barrows do a nice job of crafting a team-building book. That’s a new start and it reminded me of Batman and the Outsiders. Even the addition of Clayface, as improbable as it seems, actually worked for me. I enjoy redemption in a villain and even Clayface should be allowed his chance at saving his own soul. I mean, why not, right? It’s a fresh start and it’s good to see Batman take on a co-leadership role once in a while too. This was a breath of fresh air.
And it’s time for the…
Pick of the Week: Wonder Woman Rebirth #1
I have to give the nod to Greg Rucka and his incredibly bold treatment of Diana, princess of the Amazons in Wonder Woman Rebirth #1.
Before I get into my rationale, I have to stop and acknowledge the artwork of the crew of pencillers and inkers on this book. There was veritable army on this one, which I have say, probably made the coordinating of the story a bit more of a challenge. They clearly had to have a good solid working relationship in order to get this book done. That’s no mean feat. Well done, Matthew Clark, Sean Parsons, Liam Sharp, Jeremy Colwell, Laura Martin and Jodi Wynne on lettering detail.
First, I love the fact that Rucka owns the discrepancy in origins. While other writers try to smooth over the various details of the unification of the multiverse by simply stating it’s a mystery of some sorts, Rucka braces the two dominant Wonder Woman origins and boldly places them in direct competition with each other. Essentially, this is a battle of origins – a survival of the fittest that will play out in future issues.
Like Darwin’s “Origin of the Species”, this is more like an “Origin of the Origins”, if you will.
That’s a true rebirth. The resulting competition between these two stories will create a true rebirth of this enigmatic character and with a writer like Rucka at the helm, Wonder Woman should prove to be one of DC’s most successful renewed characters in this continuum. After all, Rucka knows how to write a strong female character. Just look at Forever Carlyle in Lazarus from Image Comics to get a sense of his skill. If he can do half of what he does with Lazarus for Wonder Woman, DC Comics has a sure winner here.
And that’s a wrap for this week. It’s a great one because it shows a lot of promise and hope. That’s the essence of Rebirth – the promise and hope of things to come. For the most part, that’s where most of these titles seem to go, and I’m looking forward to reading more of them.
Well … hopefully.