Comics Review 5/25/16 – DC + Rebirth #1

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Secret Six #14

A happy ending for the Secret Six, well, most of them.

The team, including Elongated Man and Scandal Savage’s crew storm Shiva’s tower to rescue Strix. Everyone plays their part, and is willing to risk it all, to get a piece of their weird family back. And there’s real heart here. A majority of the text in this book comes from team member’s inner monologues as they go on what might be a suicide mission, and each one reveals the personal importance of their new family, how it gives them strength, happiness, a reason to get up in the morning.

This is a real final stand issue, and one where every character is in top form, bringing their best for the finale.


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The Omega Men #12

Holy shit.

Since I started reading The Omega Men I had known it was a very post-9/11 inspired story underneath the heavy layers of superheroes and space opera. And through its 12 issue run, the book has shown the horrors of war from both sides, and makes us doubt our heroes and their convictions by seeing how far they go in the name of resistance, and the extremely large loss of life each battle leaves in its wake.

And in its final issue, The Omega Men does not offer any easy answers or happy endings. It doubles down on the uncertainty and the only real answer it unequivocally offers is that there are no heroes in war.

Everybody, comic reader or not, should give this story a try.

 

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Grayson #20

On the verge of world domination, Dick invites Otto Netz into his mind and body as one final gambit to stall him and prevent the end of the free world. On the surface this leaves a now free Helena to deal with a Netz-controlled Dick Grayson; while Dick fights Netz inside his own head.

Grayson #20 is another great final issue that celebrates everything that Dick Grayson is. If you like any version of the first Robin at all, this book will bring a big wide smile to your face. Besides being the perfect finale to this part of Dick’s career, it’s also a great introduction to Dick becoming Nightwing once again in Rebirth.

 

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Superman: Lois and Clark #8

This final issue leaves a lot of open plot threads when it comes to Superman stopping the bad guys, and focuses more on Jon still processing his feelings after learning that his father is Superman from another world. While Lois tries to help Jon understand that being Superman means more than just having powers, Clark goes off to have an underwhelming fight with the alien woman he had visions of in previous issues.

The ending does its best to pick up the entire book, with Clark trying on a new role as his own Pa Kent to his son, and ultimately leaves us on a very uplifting note.

 

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Justice League #50

Justice League #50 is a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

But forced to be both the finale to the completely insane Darkseid War, and a lead in to DC Universe Rebirth it really didn’t have a chance of being anything else. And even in its final issue, Darkseid War keeps on adding plot points, escalating and escalating to a point where the climax couldn’t not be underwhelming. I’ve liked a lot of Darkseid War mainly because of how dedicated it seemed to pulling out every single stop, even past the point where it became totally unhinged; but I can’t even enjoy this issue on that same scale.

The finale issue of Darkseid War, and The New 52’s Justice League is simply too much for it’s own good.

 

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Superman #52

The final send-off to The New 52’s Superman and The New 52 in its entirety. I have mixed feelings over the whole experiment, but as a single issue, I won’t lie, it got me kind of emotional.

This issue is the final battle against the phony Superman, and everybody gets some hits in: Diana and Bruce, Supergirl, Pre-Flashpoint!Clark, and making the ultimate sacrifice, Superman. As a final battle, it feels humongous, with bright bold blue and yellows and splash page after splash page. It doesn’t quite reach the Earth-shattering scale of the first Death of Superman, but it comes awfully close, and is arguably more emotionally poignant. A big part of that is, unlike the first time Superman died, this time he’s surrounded by his closest friends and loved ones. This time Superman gets to save the world, and say goodbye.

But before we can really dwell on the world’s reaction to a dead Superman, the book reminds us there’s work to be done. There’s no time to mourn, there’s a Rebirth right around the horizon. And I can’t tell if that’s a sign of the same kind of disregard for its own characters that got DC stuck in The New 52 in the first place, or a desire to just be over with it and get back to (hopefully) the good stuff.

 

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DC Universe Rebirth #1

DC Universe Rebirth #1 isn’t a comic book so much as it’s an apology. It’s Geoff Johns telling us that he is sorry for the past five years of DC Comics, for The New 52 erasing fan favorite characters and relationships, and generally feeling just off from the DC Universe fans have grown up with. And besides that, Rebirth #1 lays out how DC plans to bring it back.

The actual plot of the comic involves Pre-Flashpoint Wally West, who has been locked out of the Post-Flashpoint universe until just after The Darkseid War, trying to find an anchor into this new universe. While trapped in the Speed Force, he has also recognized that Barry Allen wasn’t the cause for the universe changing, it was somebody else, and he’s come to warn this new universe’s heroes of this mysterious, seemingly omnipotent threat.

Trying to find this anchor takes Wally on a tour of the Post-Flashpoint universe, where he realizes just how different everything is, and tells the audience that things used to be better. But there’s also hope in his tour as we get glimpses of old characters like Dr. Fate, Ted Kord, and Ryan Choi finding new places.

Wally first tries Bruce Wayne, and though he can’t make contact, is successful to guiding him to the letter from his father that marks the very beginning of The New 52. He tries a few more characters looking for an anchor, but to finally break through, Wally (and Geoff Johns) goes back to the character he started with, the character that had the first Rebirth, Barry Allen. For fans of these Flashes, their reunion is a powerful image. There are lots of small things like that, with DC showing fans what they’ve been begging for over the past five years, making a promise that things are finally getting better.

And even though it could all just be shallow fan-service…I’m going to take the bait. I want to believe that DC has finally pulled its head from its ass and is dedicated to putting all of these characters in good stories once again. The big reveal at the core of this book though, who exactly messed with the DC universe is a big pill to swallow, and one I’m still very suspicious of them pulling off. But I want to believe that in the reborn DC Universe, anything is possible.

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