If the DC Universe (at it’s best), means anything to you, you will shed a tear … of joy, when you read this. It’s that good!
SPOILER WARNING.SPOILER WARNING.SPOILER WARNING. SPOILER WARNING.
I posted a very quick ‘you must read this‘ post earlier this week. I hope that you have taken said advice and read this comic. It is so good. It encompassed everything I love about comics. Especially DC specific comics. I really can’t emphasize enough, how good this is. If anyone is reading this and going, ‘meh’ I truly believe that somewhere along the way you’ve lost your love of great comics.
As a side point, if you read it and there were certain bits that you felt didn’t make sense or you needed some clarification, check out this like-minded dude’s Youtube video. He talks through the whole comic in pretty neat detail. As such, I’m going to concentrate on specific parts and general thoughts.
To put it into perspective, this is, in many ways, an apology or an acknowledgment for/that the New52 hasn’t been great. Geoff Johns is a writer with a great reputation, and rightly so. When it comes to DC, there are few who can compete. For me, he and Grant Morrison, have regularly demonstrated their deep knowledge and love for the characters.
This comic is meta in a way, that you just didn’t see coming. And as such, this is why the DC universe can be so exciting. It has such a rich history, that the New52 essentially ignored, ridiculed or just plain ‘forgot.’
It doesn’t undo the new52 but it makes a fucking amazing starting point for anything that follows this issue.
Wally West (pre New52) is the narrator of this story. So straight up, we are seeing the DC Universe in the eyes of a beloved pre new52 character that really had been forgotten.
He explains, in the opening pages, that he’s been stuck inside the Speedforce since the events of Flashpoint. And that something is missing from the world that he loves. Time has been stolen. A fog that has fallen on everyone. Wally has managed to get back through the Speedforce for limited periods of time, since the death of Darkseid. He explains that a darkness from somewhere has infected us.
This is beautifully written and illustrated and you can’t help but draw the parallels with what Wally is saying and what Johns is saying about the decisions DC have made since 2011. Clearly, Johns is holding up his hands and saying ‘we fucked up.’ And that is a massive admission. HUGE! Especially from someone who was involved in the new52.
However, it is done with so much love and is clearly coming from a pre New52 DC, that you cannot help but feel like, it is really heartfelt and made with love; which ties right back into the story later. It becomes clear as we are reintroduced to older characters like Ted Kord and Ray Palmer, that there is a very dark presence hovering in and around the DC universe and it is responsible for all the mistakes and evil. So these dark forces become somewhat apparent later in the issue and they just blow your mind. Of course, again, Johns is pulling parallels with dark forces and the great and powerful at DC HQ. Apology accepted dude.
“They struck deep at our hearts, Barry”
BARRY & WALLY.
After Wally attempts to make contact with Bruce Wayne and we get his life story and are reintroduced to various other characters across the DC Universe, we get to a scene that just takes a comic that is already nailing it … to the next level. This is such a touching scene. So beautifully drawn, perfectly weighted dialogue and just so damn good. Even if you didn’t know the characters, you would feel this scene.
“A darkness from somewhere infected us. It has for a long time now, I think. Even before the Flashpoint.”
And when Barry says to his friend, ‘how could I ever forget you?’ you just well up. This for me just demonstrates how powerful the comic medium can be and, with it, you get the feeling of another admission from Johns and co. Why the hell did they turn their back on such a good portfolio of characters? Oh well, this is one hell of a way, to reintroduce them.
There is probably no other villain out there that compares to the Joker. Well if you thought you knew the Joker you didn’t. We get the revelation that there are three fricken Jokers. THREE! It’s not clear what this means or how it’s going to play out but, from the panel in Rebirth it looks like, pre New52 Joker, New52 Joker and The Killing Joke Joker. Wow. Mind fuck!
Some people will complain about this but I have to say, I love the idea of mixing it up. I’m open to a whole new back story. It makes it a mystery and Batman is all about mystery and detective work. This is his biggest test.
“We’re being watched”
If you haven’t read the comic and see the heading Watchmen, you may think that I’ve inadvertently pasted text from another post, or gone insane as I write. But no. You read correctly. You remember that story called Watchmen? Yes, that one. Well, it is owned by DC. And yes, they have gone and done it.
I love when universes, characters and stories come together. Especially if you aren’t expecting it. I’m sure some will comment that this is a cop out by DC, especially after, Alan Moore so vocally, distanced himself from the company, but, it’s a brilliant bit of storytelling and such a cool way to explain a drop in performance.
It would seem that we will be seeing more of the Watchmen. Dr. Manhattan appears to be the antagonist and responsible for the dark times, evil and lose of 10 years. I am very intrigued.
You can read a lot into this comic. For example, Dr. Manhattan destroys Owlman, Metron and Pandora (Note: you should read Justice League #50 and Superman #52 before Rebirth). One could interpret this as Johns saying that Watchmen is still an incredibly powerful set of characters that need to be set free.
Whilst there are still people hating on DC, it’s notable that, generally, this comic has been really well received. Genuinely, it’s a great read.
“The clock is ticking across the DC universe”