Well, it’s June, so it’s finally time for me to take a more in-depth look at DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative. However, the reason this is only starting now in the middle of June is because…well, there’s a lot to talk about, both good and bad, and I can’t really imagine me going over ALL of my thoughts on DC Rebirth in one article. As such, I’m gonna be talking about several specific books in their own articles, what I liked and disliked about them, and then give overall thoughts on where I think the book might be headed. And obviously, considering I’m going over the events of these books, there will be SPOILERS, so if you aren’t caught up on them and don’t want to be spoiled, turn back now. So, with that said, let’s talk about Detective Comics.
Now, first and foremost, when I heard about this book initially, I was PUMPED. Not only was it going back to the old numbering, meaning we’d be hitting #1000 relatively quickly, but just look at the cover. It’s a TEAM book, featuring some of my favourite Bat Family characters: Batman, Batwoman, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain… … …erm, Clayface…Yeah, I’mma get to Clayface, but suffice to say, he’s one of the elements of the book that’s both good and bad. Regardless, though, this was gonna be great… … …Then some shit happened that made me a lot less excited. But I’ll get to that later. First, let’s talk about Tim Drake, AKA Red Robin.
So one of the first things the book did was re-establish everything great about Tim Drake. He’s the brains of the Robins, the one most on par with Bruce when it comes to detective skills, and is the one who builds a lot of the tech they use in their new base of operations. Bruce also gives him a new costume that’s more closely associated with the other Robins (remember, in the New 52, Tim was never Robin, and was always Red Robin), and makes it clear to him that he ALWAYS considered him a Robin, whether Tim did or not. Even Tim’s relationship with Stephanie Brown is re-established, much to my joy. And it goes a long way in explaining why these things were re-established here when you consider that, apparently, James Tynion IV is a big fan of the character and his original solo-series. So, for fans of Tim Drake, like myself, this was a great thing to do… … …Then Tim died.
Well, okay, anyone who has read the book where Tim Drake makes his final stand knows that Tim didn’t actually die. Before he could be killed, he was basically removed from the area by Mr. Oz, a character who has been cropping up in Superman’s stories for a while now, and was made Oz’s prisoner, effectively taking Tim off the board because he was an important link to a lot of different people in the DC Universe. What Oz’s motivations for doing this are is still a mystery, and I’ll get more into that when I talk about the Superman books, but that’s the situation as is. And frankly, while that DOES annoy me, that we finally got Tim back as he should be only to lose him, the fact is, this DOES play into a bigger story that even goes outside of this one book. Oz’s plans are one of the big mysteries of DC Rebirth, and Tim is now a part of that, as we see him trying to escape, make contact with Batman, taunt Oz over the loss of other prisoners, etc. He’s not just being benched permanently, it’s part of a storyline that’s actually going somewhere. But, I wouldn’t be lying if I said that fallout from his apparent death has led to things that DO legit bother me.
Now let’s talk about Clayface. First, let me explain that I actually do like his motivations for joining Batman. For those that don’t recall, it was established in the New 52 that Karlo’s abilities had evolved to the point where he could not only assume the forms of other people, his DNA would also change to whoever he made physical contact with. However, this came at a price: He could assume the form and DNA of anyone…except Basil Karlo. So, when we first encounter him in this book, he’s basically hit rock bottom, just sitting alone at a theater showing one of his old movies and not caring for crime or if he gets sent back to Arkham or not. It’s a position that I think a lot of us can understand and would probably find ourselves in if we were in his shoes. Thus, when Batman offers him a chance to become Basil Karlo if he joins Batman’s team to help Gotham, he accepts. And as a result of that, we see him start to change. He’s regaining his humanity and is legitimately wanting to help people again as opposed to feeling forced to. It’s a well-written redemption storyline that, hopefully, won’t be undone.
Unfortunately, there’s a problem with Clayface being the one to receive this redemption arc, one that I was not privy to because, while I know a lot about No Man’s Land, I have not read it in its entirety. However, since his introduction as a member of this team, a friend of mine let me in on the fact that it was made pretty clear (if not outright stated) that Clayface raped Poison Ivy during the events of No Man’s Land. This was part of the story that led to Ivy being put in charge of Robinson Park and looking after orphaned children. And I know, I KNOW, someone’s gonna point out that this might not be in continuity anymore. And granted, that’s a legit argument. However, here’s my counter-argument: DC, while getting better at it as of late, has never made it fully clear what all is and is not canon from the pre-Flashpoint stories. So, until it’s made clear one way or the other, we don’t really know whether the events of No Man’s Land are or are not still a part of these characters’ histories. Furthermore, even if No Man’s Land and the rape are no longer canon due to it being among the ten years of history taken from the DC Universe, it still doesn’t completely erase what happened, especially since events in recent comics suggest those ten years are going to be reintegrated into main storylines. And you just can’t have it both ways by saying that all of the previous history is canon again, but that the rape never happened. Other than situations where characters couldn’t have been physically present due to not being introduced in the new continuity until much later, re-establishing the past history means it ALL happened. Now, if this was an alternate universe with its own history and incarnations of the characters, then I would say “Okay, I can overlook that”. But this ISN’T. Rebirth has made it clear that this is the same universe that existed pre-Flashpoint, just with ten years worth of history removed and elements of the WildStorm and Vertigo Universes blended in. And I’m not even saying it’s IMPOSSIBLE to do a story wherein Clayface redeems himself for those actions, it’s just that, be it because Tynion isn’t aware or forgot about that story, or either he himself or higher-ups at DC don’t care, there does not exist a story wherein Clayface at least attempts to rectify what he did to Ivy. Now, if they do so later, fine, but for now, it’s an issue that will always stick out to me. And if you think I’m wrong to feel that way, lemme ask longtime DC fans something: What was your initial reaction to seeing Doctor Light appear in the New 52 as a good guy who joined the JLA? My guess is probably revulsion, because you remembered that image of Doctor Light raping Sue Dibny, and then later being made into a serial rapist who was killed by other bad guys because even they couldn’t stomach him. You can’t simply pretend that didn’t happen when these are all still supposed to be the same characters. This is what the publisher did with the character, and you can’t simply brush it off because it’s inconvenient.
…*sighs* And, speaking of which, that leads me to probably my biggest disappointment with the book: Stephanie Brown. I have made it no secret that Steph is one of my all-time favourite superheroes, held the #1 spot for me for many years, and was the star of my favourite Batgirl title. Now, initially, I didn’t really have a problem with Stephanie in this book. It wasn’t until she left the team that I had a problem, and that wasn’t even really with her leaving the team. The thing is, Stephanie Brown finding fault and taking issue with Batman’s methods? That’s totally in character for her. They DO have differing philosophies and methodology as it pertains to helping people and dealing with crime. It’s not even that she leaves over Bruce’s tendency to inadvertently get others caught in the crossfire of his fight with villains, since it works as motivation for him to be more careful and do more to help those caught in his path. The problem is just how fucking hypocritical she acts, talking about how Gotham doesn’t need heroes when she goes out and specifically does superhero acts, all the while sabotaging Batman and saying how he shouldn’t be out in the open taking the credit. THAT is NOT in character for her. And she talks about how Batman should stick to the shadows and not let the general public in on his existence, when guess what? THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HE USED TO DO!!! He DID stick to the shadows! He DIDN’T let people know he really existed! He was an urban legend, and the confirmed existence of him was known only to a select few. He only came out into the light when things in Gotham got SO bad that he HAD to, that his presence would’ve actually been a positive to Gotham. Then there’re hints that, in future issues, she’s gonna be teaming with Anarky. Now, Steph teaming with anti-heroes like Catwoman or the like, that makes sense. ANARKY IS A STRAIGHT-UP VILLAIN WHO KILLS PEOPLE. Her working with him makes no sense for her character. And the most insulting part of all of this is that the event that triggers it all is Tim’s supposed death, meaning it’s entirely possible none of this would’ve happened if not for the fact that her boyfriend bit the dust. Give me a fucking break!
In terms of the other characters, I like that the book makes use of people like Batwing, Azrael, and Bluebird, heroes who don’t have their own books and are able to get some stories told about them here. I also like that the book was able to tell a story that directly led into Batwoman getting her own solo title again, which is always a good thing. Batwoman is a popular and important enough character to deserve her own book, and I’m glad they’ve done so. I also like that it’s made clear that she and Bruce are equals on this team, as they should be. Not sure why they completely shaved her head at the beginning, but whatever, minor nitpick, and at least it’s growing back out again as of late.
One problem I have with the book that’s actually a bit smaller than the ones I’ve mentioned thus far is the fact that Kate’s dad was made a villain. I mean, I GUESS when you look at the story as a whole and how it unfolded, it kinda makes sense. Still, I kinda find it problematic if, for no other reason, it pushes Kate to be more like Bruce, since she now no longer has a father to go to. And frankly, the story of him going after a super-secret organization that Batman doesn’t believe exists, but then it turns out they do and that they’re a far bigger threat just makes Batman look like an idiot, especially since this isn’t even the first evil group he thought never existed and then was proven wrong about.
So, now for where I think/hope this book is going. Well, first off, it’s pretty clear that Tim being alive will come out at some point, especially with Superman apparently having to deal with Mr. Oz more directly in upcoming events. What they’ll do with him at that point is anyone’s guess, but I’d imagine him being confirmed alive will probably be what leads to Steph and Bruce resolving their issues. I honestly hope they DO actually work what happened in No Man’s Land into a story, with Clayface feeling the need to make right what he did in some way, shape, or form. CAN he be redeemed is a question everyone needs to ask themselves, but personally, I’d at least be fine with them giving it a legitimate attempt. At least acknowledge that he feels guilt over what happened. And hopefully, Kate and her father can resolve their issues as well, and WITHOUT him dying in some way. Honestly, what I think would be a good move after Tim is brought back into the fold is for Bruce to maybe take a step back and let the team do their own thing. Let us see how the group can function without Batman taking direct control of it.
One thing I’m legitimately worried about is that, with the recent reveal that the Outsiders are still canon, the team in this book will be disbanded and replaced with the Outsiders. I’m not against the Outsiders getting back together, and I would be in favour of them getting their own book or integrating this team into their ranks. However, I hope this team is not completely broken down for the sake of bringing them back. I feel like that would be a disservice to these characters.
Most importantly, though, I want Detective Comics to remain a team book. Detective Comics basically just being another Batman book in the New 52 seemed like a waste, whereas now we have actual stories we can tell with it. And, to be honest, despite everything bad I’ve said that’s happened in this book…it’s still a lot better than another Bat book I could name, which I’ll be getting to eventually. For now, lemme know what your own thoughts on Detective Comics in DC Rebirth are, and join me next time for something a bit more…wonderful. Ja né!
So, of the books that were revealed for Rebirth, one of them hasn’t had anything in the way of details revealed, and that’s JLA. I’m pretty sure it’s because they haven’t chosen a creative team yet, or it could be because of major game-changing events that’ll happen in the book that they don’t want put out there yet. Regardless of why, though, there’s no info, not even if it will continue to be a book about the primary seven members set in a non-specific point in time during their existence, or a brand new team altogether. If it’s the latter, though, I’m sure there are several at DC who are adding their two cents as to who could be on the team. With that said, because I am an opinionated blogger with a big mouth, here’s a list of heroes that I think would make for good members of the Justice League of America, should it prove to be a completely separate team. Please note that these suggestions are based around the individuals, not how they would operate as a team, and they don’t ALL have to be part of it (duh).
Honestly, though, any of the Earth-born Green Lanterns that don’t have their own books could work here. I just picked John because he’s my favourite. The thing is, though, that I could always justify his non-presence on a Justice League team nowadays because he was one of the main characters of the Green Lantern Corps books. However, now that book is being taken over by Hal Jordan, while Hal’s position on Earth is being given to Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz. As such, it really doesn’t feel like there’s a heck of a lot for John to do, which is a real shame. So, I would personally advise putting him on the JLA, possibly even as the leader.
Well, you’re not doing anything else with him once the Legends of Tomorrow book ends, so why not? Especially now that casual viewers of the Flash TV show have been exposed to the character. It’d be a nice way to get more people to read. That said, I’m not sure exactly what’s going on with Jason in the LoT book, but I hope he isn’t being tossed aside completely.
I would imagine Steel will likely be part of Superman’s Super League, but no reason he can’t pull double duty, especially since that team isn’t getting its own book, at least not yet. Plus, since Superman is gonna be busy elsewhere, and Supergirl already has her own book, it’d be good to give the inheritor to the title of Man of Steel some more exposure by having him be the member of the Superman Family to represent them on this team.
Again, I suppose either Ted or Jaime could work in this situation. Really, the reason I went with Ted is because I figured, since we’re getting him back anyway, might as well make the most of him, right? Plus, since I think this team could stand to NOT have Batman on it, you need someone who is smart, adaptable, strategic, and tenacious, and Ted fills that role well while also being more light-hearted than the Dark Knight. That said, much as I like the two working together, might be a good idea to not pair him with Booster Gold and have him slacking off and making get-rich-quick plans.
Can someone please tell me why Mera is not an official member of the Justice League? How many times does she have to stand beside them and bail them out of trouble before she gets her own official membership? And that’s just in the New 52 alone. And to anyone who thinks her powers are lame, lemme spell this out for you: How much of the world is made up of water? Better yet, how much of the HUMAN BODY is made up of water? If you don’t know why that’s terrifying, watch the episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender that deals with Bloodbending. lol
Like Ronnie, this would be a good character to add to the book for the sake of getting the attention of those who were introduced to him via the Flash show. And frankly, I don’t understand why this character was benched after Forever Evil. I really liked the New 52 interpretation of Vibe. I actually held it up as an example of the reboot changing a hero up and doing it right. Vibe went from arguably the worst member of the Justice League to someone I would honestly want on my team at all times.
Seriously, after this whole thing with Mars invading Earth is over and J’onn can be free of whatever nonsense was keeping him away from the other heroes of the DCU, he needs to rejoin the League. He needs to reconnect with his fellow heroes. I’m honestly a little worried about him from a psychological standpoint of being away from them for so long. Also, what is up with DC wanting to give people arm blades nowadays? It’s just so odd an aesthetic alteration to make for both J’onn and Wonder Woman.
…Let’s be honest, there’ll be a Bat on this team. And do we REALLY want Batman on EVERY team? Meanwhile, we’ve got Luke Cage, who isn’t doing anything outside of being an ally/love interest of Batgirl’s, and I don’t even know that he’ll be keeping that position in Rebirth. So why not include him here? Plus, he was one of the best parts of the newest Batman animated movie, so it would make for a nice cross-promotional move to add him to the team. Lastly, though, if he gets on the team, we totally gotta see him working with Steel. Just sayin’. 😛
Anyway, those are a few suggestions DC could go with. Got any I didn’t mention? Leave them in the comments below, and we’ll see what happens with the book in the future. Ja né!
Batgirl! Black Canary! Batwing!…Erm, criminals with a video game motif… … …Meh, I’ve seen weirder. lol Here’s the preview for Batgirl #48!
- When Batgirl is down, it’s Black Canary to the rescue! Dinah and Barbara reteam to try to discover the identity of the malevolent mastermind making their presence felt in Burnside!
Okay, I like the art, but…seriously, how old does Bengal think Barbara is? 14? lol Whatever, here’s the preview for Batgirl #44!
- Velvet Tiger’s got her claws around Luke Fox’s throat—and only Batgirl can save him!
… … …Okay, I’m beginning to notice a pattern with the Batgirl book as of late: One issue, they’ll tease something horrible that I absolutely hate happening, and then the next issue, everything turns out to be fine. I swear to God, though, if they reveal that Jo is actually Velvet Tiger right after the announcement that her and Alysia are getting married… …the only way that they can recover from that is if it pushes Alysia closer to Babs and THEY get together, because clearly Alysia has a thing for redheads. lol Anyway, enough gun-jumping, here’s the preview for Batgirl #43!
- Tech genius Luke Fox has brought his startup to Burnside, and he seems to be hiring all of Barbara’s friends…but not her! Unfortunately, someone else is setting up shop in Burnside as well…the mysterious Velvet Tiger!
So as you’ve probably noticed by now, I’ve been talkin’ a lot about Batwing lately. I haven’t bought the 20th issue yet, but I imagine I will if I find myself with a slight bit of extra pocket change when I’m near the comic shop. Mostly, I’m waiting until I’ve dropped a couple other books, which I mentioned I’d be doing, but I’m also waiting to see if these changes and better writing will stay consistent as time goes by.
So what is it about the new Batwing that I really like? Well, I think it’s mainly on account of Luke Fox pretty much being Terry McGinnis. No, really, he’s essentially African-American Terry, not just in how the new Batwing suit is very similar to the Batman Beyond costume, but in the way he acts, how Bruce is monitoring him while he’s in the field, and the witty chemistry between the two.
And frankly, anything a person could do to remind me of Batman Beyond is a good thing, which is part of the reason I REALLY liked Bryan Q. Miller‘s run on Batgirl, but with this, if I wasn’t trying to be smart with my money and how many comics I buy a week, this would be on my pull list in a snap. And I don’t know if Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are both just big fans of Batman Beyond, or if they actually did work with the show, but either way, not complaining with what we’ve got.
In addition to all that, I do like how they’ve staged this, that Luke is doing this behind his dad’s back and that Lucius Fox is not happy with his son’s choices in life. It creates an interesting situation, and you’re left wondering how long he can possibly work for Batman Incorporated and not have his father find out. Plus, the idea that Luke is a highly intelligent mixed martial artist gives him cred as someone you’d want as a solo operative.
Anyway, that’s my two cents on the subject. If the writing continues to be good on it, expect me to start picking it up soon. Ja né!
- Batwing #20 (comicvine.com)
- BATWING #20 Review (analogaddiction.org)
- Interview: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti On A Whole New ‘Batwing’ (geek-news.mtv.com)