Big week for DC Rebirth titles
DC comic book reviews: The Flash, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Nightwing, Titans, Action Comics, Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps.
Action Comics #960
Path of Doom continues to lumber along. Superman and Doomsday’s battle rages throughout Metropolis. The biggest difference this issue is Wonder Woman joins the fray. Writer Dan Jurgens neglected to explain why Wonder Woman would respond to the city destroying menace while the rest of the Justice League is absent.
Despite his super suit, Lex Luthor continues to be marginalized as he’s largely off camera this issue. Lois Lane and Jon’s spectator status gets changed for contrived storyline purposes. Jurgens keeps making the mystery behind Clark Kent a significant plot point each issue. Until he’s ready to pay it off Jurgens doesn’t need the main cast constantly questioning Kent’s role. The issue’s highlight is Lois and Wonder Woman interacting. Tyler Kirkham’s art is cleaner this issue. He gets more creative in rendering the chaos, but there’s only so many ways to make a now three issue slugfest visually compelling.
Maybe when Jurgens gets to the point of this storyline it will all make sense. For now though Action Comics remains underwhelming with another dull installment of a story arc that can’t end soon enough.
Rating: 4 out of 10
This was probably the week’s best book where nothing happened. It didn’t matter though as Nightwing, Donna Troy, Tempest, Arsenal, Oracle and Flash were hanging out. The Titans have always been about friends who become family so it was enjoyable reading the team’s various perspectives on Flash’s connection to Linda Park. Writer Dan Abnett is letting Teen Titans fans fully enjoy this moment before shaking things up for the team. Bret Booth’s pencils are decent. His panel layouts can be occasionally distracting and his character faces are a bit elongated. His style is better suited for the more action heavy moments so this issue didn’t particularly play to his strengths.
The issue ends with a nice cliffhanger suggesting the forces behind DC Rebirth might not be the only threat to Wally and the Titans. This wasn’t a groundbreaking issue, but it was a nice calm before the storm installment. And hanging with the Titans family is always welcome.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Wonder Woman #3
Greg Rucka continues his methodically paced tale of Wonder Woman’s quest to return to Themyscara. While she’s lost the way, Wonder Woman turns to Cheetah for assistance. Meanwhile Steve Trevor and his squad continue their pursuit of a dictator. Trevor’s subplot gets as much focus as Wonder Woman so it’s challenging to get invested about either. There’s some minor action, but the story didn’t feel like it’s progressed much from the first issue. Rucka is deviating from the normal Rebirth titles with a past/present day issue format. To some degree that makes an issue where the story feels like it’s running in place more frustrating.
While the story slowly unfolds, at least Liam Sharp’s pencils are a treat.By the issue’s end, Rucka seems to have finished setting up the bridge to Wonder Woman and Trevor’s agendas to reunite them. Hopefully that will provide the spark the current day adventures need to get rolling.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Nightwing’s first issue feels like a watered down take on the Grayson series. Once again, Dick Grayson is undercover — this time with the Parliament of Owls instead of Spyral — trying to take down an evil organization from the inside. He has a snippy relationship with his ‘commander’ and he’s gained a new rival/ally superior to his talents. Besides trading in his generic spy outfit for his more colorful black and blue costume little occurred to suggest the other changes were necessary. There’s a couple of nice moments with Batman & Damien and Batgirl, but Grayson thrived because it was a Batman book not so tied to Batman.
Javier Fernandez’ art style is a good fit for the title. His characters’ faces are a little weak and slightly cartoonish. On the major plus side, Fernandez’s art is reminiscent of longtime Nightwing artist Scott McDaniel, which adds to the throwback feel. Hopefully writer Tim Seeley has some tricks for the series as this first issue lacked that extra oomph to warrant the change in direction.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Batgirl Rebirth #1
Like Nightwing, Batgirl benefited from being out of Batman’s shadow. Her adventures in Burnside were among the more fun New 52 comics. While she left Burnside, Batgirl/Barbara Gordon isn’t ready to return to Gotham just yet taking a backpacking trip through China. That was a wise decision from new writer Hope Larson. The location is different, but it doesn’t matter as Larson instantly shows a firm command of Batgirl’s voice. While it might be too soon for crossovers, hopefully Batgirl’s adventures in China will lead to a team-up with The New Super-Man.
The art by Rafael Albuquerque compliments Batgirl well. It’s still playful and isn’t overly dark and serious. Under this new creative team, Batgirl is getting her road trip off to a great start. May as well pack a bag and join her on the journey.
Rating: 9 out of 10
The Flash #3
Speed City continues as The Flash learns many more speedsters have surfaced. Some are using their powers for evil. Others want to do good or simply resume their normal lives. Flash encounters two more speedsters that seem to quickly get bumped up to significant supporting cast status.
Writer Joshua Williamson is perhaps starting to push too hard on the narrative that Barry Allen/The Flash has missed having a partner in Wally/Kid Flash’s absence. Batman has partner separation issues — it’s not like Barry has worked with multiple Kid Flashes. Meanwhile Wallace and his aunt, Iris, continue tracking leads about the possible force behind the Speed Storm. Williamson’s biggest challenge is making sure these new speedsters don’t make Flash irrelevant in his own title.
Carmine Di Giandomenico’s pencils and colorist Ivan Plascencia continue to make The Flash one of DC’s most visually pleasing books on the market. Just before things stay too calm, Flash learns a dangerous new threat called Godspeed and he’s taking out fellow speedsters. That’s a solid cliffhanger and I’m looking forward to seeing how Williamson pays it off. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait too long.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #1
Although arriving much later than fellow Big 7 Justice League titles, Hal Jordan and the GLC quickly asserts itself as a top tier Rebirth title.
With the Green Lanterns missing, Hal Jordan continues his quest to find them. Writer Robert Venditti easily captures the tone of a space cop shaking down leads. Jordan is one of the most self-assured heroes in the DC universe and Venditti understands how to make that self-confidence an asset not an unlikable weakness. This is Hal at his most Cowboy-ing up fearless best.
Meanwhile, Sinestro and his Corps have established order throughout the galaxy. And now to preserve it, Sinestro has them utilize old tactics to spread their power. The new status quo where the Sinestro Corps are the peacekeepers is a fun twist. With the Green Lanterns gone, Hal running around solo puts a massive target on the galaxy’s lone user of ‘the green.’
Following Evan Van Sciver would be a daunting task for most artists. Rafa Sandoval is up to the challenge of not being the weak link on Team Lantern. With a style reminiscent of Carlos Pacheco, Sandoval’s pencils are high quality and very polished. Come time for the next big DC story arc, Sandoval might be on the short list to help contribute.
For those DC fans seeking a more familiar extension of the Green Lantern vs Sinestro conflict, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps is ‘your Green Lantern book.’ If the first issue and its final page are any indication, this will be one of the consistently entertaining post Rebirth titles.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Image Credit: DC Comics
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