Comic Review: DC Universe Rebirth #1 – SPOILERS

First things first, it’s hard to talk about this without spoilers. So this is a full spoiler warning right now. If you are planning to read DC Universe Rebirth #1 and do not want it spoiled – bookmark this post, and then come back.

Review begins now…

DC Universe Rebirth #1 has me wanting to read comics again. For the first time in years, I’m actually excited about what’s to come next. When DC introduced the New 52, part of me was excited. A new taken on classic heroes, new stories, free from years of continuity, it sounded great on paper. Crisis On Infinite Earths, where everything was almost a clean slate (almost). Instead the New 52 was, well it wasn’t my favorite thing in the world. And my biggest complaints were what they had done to Superman, and that, for some reason, they wanted to keep all of the Green Lantern history in continuity, but everyone else gets a reset. Same thing with Batman. He had all the Robins there, except now one was not really a “Robin” and was instead “Red Robin”. Tim Drake fully got screwed over in the New 52 by the way. As much as I find Damien Wayne interesting, Tim Drake needed a bit more love. But no one got it worse than Wally West. The original Kid Flash, and for most of my comic reading life (I was born post Crisis on Infinite Earths), he was The Flash.

For me, the New 52 didn’t take any inspiration from what came before, instead it tried to be “dark and gritty”, thanks to the popularity of Nolan’s Batman films, DC also became “dark and gritty”, and it didn’t work. It turned me off reading comics. In short, my DC Universe growing up was the Post Crisis, pre Flashpoint/New 52 Universe which spanned from the 1980s til the 2000s. The continuity which inspired shows such as Batman The Animated Series, Superman The Animated Series, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Batman Beyond, and my personal favorite, Young Justice. So to my surprise, the issue is told mostly from the point of view of Wally West. Not the New 52 Wally West, but the original Wally West. My favorite version of The Flash. Seeing him on the page immediately thrust me back into a world that I had forgotten about.

To be perfectly clear, DC Universe Rebirth isn’t a reboot. Everything isn’t being set back to zero. It’s not going back to the nice clean original status quo that everyone knew. Instead, it’s a great starting off point. We only saw flashes (pun so 100% intended) of what is to come, but the biggest overall theme which came to me when reading the issue was, there is hope and love again in the DC Universe. It’s only one issue, but it’s as if DC was saying, “Ok, we get it, we got too dark, we got too gritty, here smile and love life again! Be hopeful!” and nothing summed that up better than the page where Barry Allen, the Flash, suddenly remembered who Wally West is and pulled him out of the Speed Force and into the main DC Universe. Best panel ever! Read the issue, I won’t spoil that for you here, but it really did bring a tear to my eye.

Other things that were touched on, briefly, Dick Grayson returning as Nightwing, the older Pre Flashpoint Superman taking over as the New 52 Superman in continuity after the events of Superman #52 (not spoiling that for you either), the mystery of the Joker(s) and what it means for Batman, Ryan Choi’s Atom coming back and looking for Ray Palmer, Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes together, Aqualad from Young Justice, and the return of a lot of the classic relationships. Aquaman and Mera, Green Arrow and Black Canary, and the older Clark Kent/Superman being married to the Pre Flashpoint Lois Lane (under the disguise of the White Family), raising their son Jonathan, who will become the new Superboy.

The biggest reveal had to be at the end, when Wally West and Barry Allen were talking. Wally telling Barry he wasn’t responsible for the New 52, that someone had taken years from their history and robbed the DC Universe of all the relationships and bonds that had made the heroes strong. That the years taken stole the love from the universe (that’s actually the thing he said, I’m not making that up). The next panel then showing Batman holding The Comedian’s pin from The Watchmen, basically implying The Watchmen, are in the DC Universe now, and that Doctor Manhattan used the Flashpoint event to alter the DC Universe and create what we know as the New 52. How this plays out in the future, we’ll have to see, but the fact that there is now a possibility to see Superman taken on Doctor Manhattan, that should have anyone excited.

Overall, DC Universe Rebirth #1 was a very pleasant surprise. It made me want to read the next few issues again. So much so, that I now need to start budgeting for monthly comics, because there are certain titles I will want to follow again. I recommend any comic fan picks this up, allow yourself to experience DC as it should have been during the New 52. DC Universe, welcome home!

 

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