DC Rebirth #1 review

DC Rebirth more than lives up to the hype

It’s possible that DC Comics might have undersold DC Rebirth #1.

Comic fans have become leery over the years with DC’s grand proclamations that whatever new event was going to rock their worlds as much as the DC characters. 

DC had built up a lot of goodwill with mega-events like Infinite Crisis, 52 and Blackest Night, but a string of underwhelming series like Countdown, Convergence and the New 52 as a whole eroded that faith. DC’s credibility was more akin to a used car salesman.

But for Rebirth? It delivered on every bit of the hype and then some. It’s rare when a comic can come along and shatter expectations so brilliantly, but Rebirth does so almost effortlessly. 

This opening act for DC’s latest major event was so epic I wanted to re-read it as soon as I finished it. Rebirth is the best comic I’ve read in years.

Geoff Johns, DC’s go-to writer for character rehabilitation, attempts to restore the luster with a somewhat tarnished universe. The New 52 was too divisive for longtime fans who barely recognized their beloved heroes while the legions of anticipated new fans that would replace them never materialized.

The timing for Rebirth was fortuitous as it plans to rectify mistakes made post-Flashpoint, the Flash and DC Universe wide crossover that started this ride. Ironically, The Flash TV show’s season finale teased its take on Flashpoint.  

If you’ve managed to avoid spoilers thus far, good for you. I won’t ruin them here as this is the kind of story that’s better to actual read than read about it.

An outcast from the previous pre-New 52 universe is observing the current state of their friends and loved ones. That character’s return probably would have been satisfying enough for DC fans, but that reveal is paid off fairly early with the suggestion of an even bigger payoff by the end of the issue. Johns more than delivers in both instances.

Johns is at his best with grand reflective pieces where he can sift through poor editorial decisions and gimmicks and simply focus on what makes that character great. 

He does so here with Rebirth’s narrator reinforcing that DC never needed a massive reboot, just more talent like Johns who understood and could convey the core of the characters.

The emotional beats tied to the narrator were terrific. The look-ins on other characters was tantalizing enough to make the wait for first salvo of Rebirth standalones far too long already.

Rebirth also boasts one of the more impressive assemblage of artists featuring DC’s top talents. It’s an embarrassment of riches as Rebirth features the artwork of Ivan Reis, Gary Frank, Phil Jimenez and Ethan Van Sciver. 

In these artists collaboration events there’s typically some drop-off in the quality. That’s definitely not the case with Rebirth as the baton keeps getting passed to another astonishing talent.

Clocking in at 48 pages, Rebirth offers some serious sticker shock — in a good way. With a $2.99 price tag, Rebirth feels like a steal. Based on its quality I doubt many readers would have balked at paying double that and still felt like they got their money’s worth.

The big reveal at the end of the episode was completely unexpected and one of those genuine game changers that could really take DC to new heights. 

For the first time in years, DC is getting all the buzz on the comic book front. Not from an extensive reboot, gimmicks or massive creative direction shift, but from one heck of a story readers can’t wait to see play out.