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 DC Rebirth #1

Review by Paul Bowler

Past, present, and legacy begin to realign in DC Universe Rebirth #1, as this major DC Comics event, written by Geoff Johns, and featuring an all-star art team, including Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Gary Frank, and Phil Jimenez, kicks off this epic with a mammoth 80 page story that encompasses virtually every conceivable aspect of the DC Comics universe.

Split into four consecutive chapters, DC Universe Rebirth #1 brings events surrounding the scarlet speedster The Flash to the fore, as the repercussions of Flashpoint which heralded the beginning of the New 52 reboot of the DC Comics line that we currently have today, begins to spiral outwards as one particular characters journey intersects throughout all of the critical junctures of the DC Universe. Sadly, major details of this issue were leaked, so by now you probably already know what’s coming up in this issue. But, if by some miracle or chance you haven’t read any of those aforementioned spoilers, well, don’t worry I’m not going to throw more spoilers onto the fire as it were…

Someone said to me the other day, what’s the point reviewing it if so much about it has already been leaked and spoiled online? Good point I figured. So, rather than reviewing it in detail as such, I thought I’d simply surmise how this issue made me feel instead. Well, I must admit I came to this issue with a lot of scepticism. I’m not a big fan of reboots, relaunches, or big crossover events, frankly there have been so many few really interest me nowadays. That’s where DC Rebirth #1 differs, or at least it seems to. Split into four distinct chapters, and an epilogue, this issue actually felt more like a reinstatement of core values and themes at the heart of DC comics legacy, rather than a reboot as such, the fact that some of the plot focuses on two of my favourite characters in the DCU – Batman and The Flash – is another big plus point for me.

DC Universe Revirth #1 cover

Do you need to know everything that’s gone before in the DCU to enjoy DC Universe Rebirth #1? Well, not necessarily, but it certainly helps. Geoff Johns has done a commendable job of brining together the various elements of DC continuity to entwine them with the context of the New 52 and the premise of Rebirth itself. There is plenty here in DC Universe Rebirth #1 that will reward long-term DC Comics fans, while I think new readers might find it all a little overwhelming, but as for me, well…

Let me put it this way, I’d only just started collecting and reading comics again after a long break when the New 52 started. It was an exciting time, new spins on classic characters, everything was very different, but overall I enjoyed it. Over time though The New 52 didn’t always quite work for me, some of it felt very disjointed. DC Universe Rebirth #1 goes some way to readdressing the balance in my opinion, the main character in this issue makes a desperate timey-wimey voyage through the DCU, touching on numerous key moments and characters, essentially paving the way for many classic characters, and teams to return. DC Universe Rebirth #1 reenergizes the legacy of the DCU, it made me feel like I was rediscovering DC Comics all over again, just like I did with the New 52, only this time it felt right, this time it felt a lot more like the DC Universe that I knew and loved so much from before.

Geoff Johns densely plotted story is brought to life by the four artists; each with their own very distinct style. DC Rebirth is a beautiful looking book from cover to cover, in terms of visuals; this is one of the most impressive DC issues I’ve read of this kind in a long while. With much of the book colored by Hi-Fi or Brad Anderson, their work brings an underlying sense of consistency throughout the issue, which helps ensure the differing art styles never jar with each other or distract you from the story – which can often be the case when so many people are working on one issue. If anything, the attention to detail here is staggering, the sheer emotion, and drama conveyed in some scenes is genuinely moving, particularly towards the end, with a major discovery rounding things off with a bang, before a surprising epilogue knocks it out the park in fine style!

DC Rebirth #1 is set before Justice League #50 and Superman #52, so you might want to check those out first. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by DC Universe Rebirth #1, as I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. At this price point for 80 pages, its really great value for money as well, and I’d certainly recommend picking it up. I know this hasn’t been like my usual kind of comic review, but I didn’t want to spoil anything for you, there’s been enough of that around Rebirth already, and there’ll be plenty of time for us to chat over the details of everything in the comments later if you want to. For now, all I can really say is, approach this issue with an open mind, and I think you will be left genuinely surprised and filled with anticipation for what the future now holds for the DCU. Sometimes I think with all the hype, promotion, social media chatter, spoilers, and endless speculation, it’s all too easy to lose sight of what it is that makes us all love reading comic books so much, and I think DC Universe Rebirth #1 goes a long way to helping us all remember why we love these comics and these characters, as it celebrates the legacies of yesteryear, today, tomorrow, and beyond…