From a DCU outsider’s point of view.
So DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 was a damn good read. Even for this relative DCU outsider who didn’t have the deepest points of memory reference for a lot of the DCU touchstones and timeline mile markers the story touched on. I was particularly immersed in the meta-textual aspect of the narrative, and the inherent metaphors and allegories it contained. Over the years I’ve complained to and with my brothers and sisters in the Comic Book Underground that modern superhero comics have been missing a certain balance, a certain essence – say, like heroes performing heroic acts to help the powerless, instead of fighting each other in annual events. And so while reading this comic I was inspired to smile inside and nod approvingly at the prospect of that familiar aspect, which has been on full display in the adapted DC Comics TV shows like THE FLASH and SUPERGIRL, returning to superhero comics for what might be the first time in the Modern or Millennial Age (2001 – ).
That said, allow me to offer my own personal commentary on the meta-textual content in this fine comic book, written as yet another love letter (and swan song?) by DC Comic’s superhero doctor, universal architect and legendary-level scribe of the modern era, Geoff Johns.
Ch. 1 – Lost: Editorially, thematically and philosophically it’s been argued that the DC Universe and by extension DC Comics as a publisher had lost its way in its decisions to make major changes to their timeline and the very fabric of their universe, most specifically through 2011’s Flashpoint storyline that led to The New 52 publishing initiative and a rather effective, if critically uneven “universal reboot”.
Ch. 2 – Legacy: It’s also been argued that DC (and also Marvel) has sullied their legacy as a publisher, the legacy of their universe, and the inherent legacies of some of the characters. The DCU Rebirth initiative looks to restore all of that. This will manifest in the form of classic and legacy heroes once again sharing the stage and universal space, which should hopefully please a large swath of readers.
Ch. 3 – Love: Through all the different shenanigans over the recent years it’s been feared that perhaps the love of it all has waned, or has at least been severely compromised. This would be love on various levels: the love that the fans, creators and editors have for the DCU, as well as the love within the stories and the love amongst the characters themselves. The subtext in Geoff Johns’ love letter script is that the heroes need to love one another again – no more duking it out over petty issues or philosophical differences and get back to an age and sense of heroism and the love of it. Ya hear that, Marvel?
Ch. 4 – Life: Throughout the story in DCUR there’s the recurring theme that some things were lost, as referenced above with chapter one. Almost as if the very soul of the DCU was sacrificed or sold with the advent of THE NEW 52 and other editorial shenanigans (I understand that CONVERGENCE was a bit unpopular as well). Clearly Rebirth is meant to bring a sense restoration and vitality – essentially a renewed life breathed into the forthcoming comics with this initiative.
The main thread in all of the above? Optimism, essentially.
And smiles. Seriously. The DC heroes are smiling again, like old times.
I tell ya what, though, if DC Universe: Rebirth would be made into an ongoing series, I’d be a all over that. I wanted more after I turned the last page. There should be more universal titles like that for the fan who wants a series that tells the ongoing story of the universe as a whole, all in one eventful series. Now wouldn’t that be something?
Anyway, barring what I just suggested, moving forward I’m almost certain to still be a relative DCU outsider for the most part. I’ll sample some things here and there, particularly WONDER WOMAN written by Greg Rucka and SUICIDE SQUAD drawn by Jim Lee (and Phillip Tan on alternate issues). Still, as a comics enthusiast and industry advocate who just happens to lean more toward non-superhero comics, I wholeheartedly support the Rebirth initiative from DC.
I’m genuinely happy for both the old and new DC fans. This little industry of ours deserves and needs happy readers. I’m hopeful DC is going to make good on it this time around.
P.S.: That Epilogue though . . .
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