Please note full spoilers ahead!
Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Various
Rebirth is a brilliant, powerful and emotional work of comic book art and writing. It is also going to be the most divisive comic book event in history. There’s a lot of take in after reading this issue, it sets up multiple plots and stories that will be tackled in the months to come. Less of a rebirth, this book is really a return. A return back to the glory days of DC Comics. The book details this return and it comes of as a letter from Geoff Johns himself.
Rebirth stars Wally West. The old Wally West from before the New 52, although the new Wally West also makes an appearance. Wally West’s story takes place in multiple chapters that detail what has been missing in the New 52 Universe and how DC is going to fix it. It starts with legacy. The old forgotten heroes of the DC universe, a stable of heroes that Wally himself is a part of. These chapters serves as sort of a recap, catching up new readers on what’s been going on with the whole Flashpoint thing in the first place. Next to make a appearance is the Justice Society and the Johnny Thunderbolt, a sad look at an old hero. We also get a tease of the Legion of Superheroes, an exciting showcase of things returning. Much like the rest of the book, it’s an emotional chapter. Reminding us of what we lost and the heroes we forgot. The chapter also reminds us that the New 52 gave us new heroes as well, such as the new Green Lantern.
After legacy, Johns strikes at the heart of what was truly lost with the New 52: Love. There’s a beautiful page with Green Arrow and Black Canary that will make you miss their lost relationship. There’s also Louis and Clark, a family that the New 52 took away and is now bringing back. For Aquaman fans there’s a loud and clear message from DC that they are removing their marriage ban with Arthur proposing to Mera in a beautiful moment.
If the book hadn’t tugged at your heartstrings yet, the last chapter might be the final blow you needed to let out those manly nostalgic tears. Wally, after spending most of the book trying to return from being caught in the speedforce, delivers a final goodbye to his hero, friend and mentor: Barry Allen. It’s a well written eulogy and will warm even the coldest of hearts. Thankfully, it doesn’t end up being a goodbye as Barry finally remembers Wally and starts to remember everything that happened in the pre-new 52 universe. It’s a powerful moment of camaraderie and it’s exactly what’s been missing in DC Comics for the past 5 years.
I wish i could stop this review at this point, and i really wish there was nothing to discuss past this, but there is. The last pages of Rebirth clearly and boldly merge the DC Universe with the Watchmen Universe. At first, it seemed like a terrible ending to such a perfect issue. But after thinking and reflecting over what it means, i think it makes perfect sense. Dr. Manhattan is blamed for the darkness that has infected the New 52 Universe, and just like the rest of the book, it’s a meta-commentary from Geoff Johns. The popularity of dark and gritty books like Watchmen is exactly the reason for the darkness of the DC Universe. It’s a weird revelation and one i think could have been done better. There’s going to be an outcry of hate against DC for doing this, for infecting the sacred world of Watchmen. I, for one, am excited to see what comes of this. After all if Rebirth is a return of the old era of comics, absurdity is a big part of it.
Among all the retcons, baby Darkseids, returning heroes and fallen ones, there’s something truly great here. It’s hope and heart and it’s something DC truly needed. Rebirth is the best thing to happen to DC Comics in a long time.