DC Comics Rebirth initiative has been a success to say the least. Both critically and commercially, Rebirth has given DC Comics a chance to right the wrongs of the divisive New 52 and hopefully launch the publisher into a new era.
In 2011, DC Comics rebooted all of their ongoing titles in an effort to increase readership by giving people an opportunity to jump into comics without having to worry about getting lost in decades of continuity. The New 52 imprint had a complicated run to say the least. From writers and artists leaving their books, to creative decisions that irked fans, the New 52 wasn’t always running at full speed. However, a lot of the New 52 received overwhelming praise from readers and critics alike. Batman, for example, and without a doubt with the help of consistent creative duo Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, was a best-seller and critical darling from beginning to end. Geoff Johns’s Justice League had a similar reception, as the charm that he instils on all the characters spilled off the page with the help of extraordinary artists like Jim Lee, Ivan Reis, David Finch, and Jason Fabok. These are just a few examples of where the new 52 thrived. However, for every New 52 success story, there’s an example of creative issues that plagued the imprint from becoming a true success.
But that’s where Rebirth comes into play. To appease fans of all sides, DC has decided to keep the best parts of the New 52 and alive while adjusting their comics slate and giving creators new opportunities to tell stories in the ever-expanding DC universe. This has proved to be a great move by DC, as several struggling books have now become successes under the rebirth imprint.
Superman had a complicated relationship with the New 52 to say the least. After writing and contributing to the art of Superman, comics legend George Perez (The New Teen Titans, Crisis on Infinite Earths) departed the series. This was due to creative conflict with the DC editorial staff and continuity issues that no one at DC could explain to him. That was just the start of Superman’s issues in the New 52, however. Many fans reacted poorly to the iteration of the character, which presented readers with a much more moody and impulsive Clark Kent that many fans weren’t used to. Add in constant creative team shake ups and a fairly anticlimactic death for the boyscout at the end of the New 52, and you have a character much in need of a revamp.
Luckily, Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s Superman seems to be exactly what the character needed. As a follow up to Dan Jurgens’ Lois and Clark series, Superman follows the pre-flashpoint version of the character revealing himself to the world as the new Superman. The series greatly differs from the New 52 run mainly in the sense that this new (old) Superman is much more of a family man. He’s married to Lois Lane and is in the process of raising an eager, super-powered son. It’s drastically different both tone-wise and thematically, but the new direction pays off. The book feels like a true return to form for the character. Although it may be an older Superman, seeing him struggling with fatherhood keeps the series from redundancy. Gleason and Tomasi (previously known for their work on Batman & Robin) have crafted an excellent book worthy of the character’s long legacy in the DC Universe.
The Teen Titans are one of the most beloved teams of superheroes in comic book history. They’ve been a fan favorite team ever since Marv Wolfman and George Perez legendary The New Teen Titans run in 1980. Lately, they’ve been struggling to find their ground among the team’s biggest fans. Throughout the New 52, Teen titans struggled with harsh reviews and poor sales. And as with Superman, continuity issues plagued this series as well. Many are yearning for the tone and level of quality present in the 2000’s Cartoon Network Teen Titans series.
Luckily, Benjamin Percy’s recently debuted Teen Titan Rebirth seems to be not only bring back the series charm but add new elements to the team dynamic as well. In DC Universe Rebirth #1, a panel was dedicated to revealing that Damian had turned thirteen years old. Now officially a teenager, he decides to (unwillingly) recruit more young heroes from DC’s roster. In the series first arc aptly titled, “Damian Knows Best,” Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, and Kid Flash reluctanclty band together with Robin to take on a group of assassins sent by his grandfather, Ra’s Al Ghul , known as the “Demon’s Fist.” The series has been a ton of fun so far, as Percy excels at showing the teammates slowly begin to bond and trust one another, despite Damian’s unorthodox methods of bringing them together. Damian’s desire to make friends marks a major milestone for the character, who is seemingly trying to leave his murky past behind him and become a team player. Whether he and his new friends can survive his grandfather’s assassins is yet to be known, but I can’t wait to find out what Percy has in store for the team. .
Red Hood and the Outlaws
The Red Hood went through a few different iterations during the New 52. First, there was Red Hood and the Outlaws, which ran for forty issues. That team consisted of Red Hood, Starfire, and Green Arrow’s estranged sidekick, Arsenal. After that series ended, Red Hood/Arsenal began and lasted for thirteen issues under writer Scott Lobdell. Of all the controversy that the New 52 caused, few gained as much notoriety amongst the comics community than the portrayal of Starfire in the former series. Many different outlets reported that her character was reduced to little more than sex symbol. It gave the book a bad rep, and the 2nd Robin seemed in a desperate need of a rebirth.
Luckily, if the first few issues are any indication, the new Red Hood and the Outlaws series is a total winner. The new Outlaws team consists of, you guessed it, Red Hood, Artemis, and Bizzarro. Together they make what DC Comics is coining the “Dark Trinity.” The book is a ton of fun, as Red Hood infiltrates Black Mask’s criminal empire to tear it apart from the inside. Along the way he meets Artemis, an aggressive Amazonian on a mission to recover a lost artifact as well as the failed Superman clone known as Bizarro. Jason Todd is a character with so much history and lore in the DC Universe, and I’m glad that he now has a book which seems more than worthy the character’s legacy.