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Monday, 25 July 2016

Rebirth Now Rules My Pull-List...


As we head towards the end of July, it's pretty obvious that DC Comics' Rebirth initiative has been a major success out of the gate, with my pull-list flipping from predominantly Marvel to predominantly DC in the space of a month.

Once again, DC Comics is delivering the thrilling superheroics that drew me to the genre many, many years ago, whereas the continuing Bendis-ification of Marvel is proving largely tiresome and flat (full of contrived sensationalism that is a total turn-off).

The Brexit price bump - which comes into force this week - has also made me go over my list with a fine tooth comb and weed out any hangers-on that I was picking up out of some sort of brand loyalty, but haven't actually got round to reading in many, many months.

I've already written at length about my problems with New Super-Man #1 (Chinese youth gets given powers akin to Superman's by state-sanctioned scientists). But while I had fundamental problems with the comic's concept, it was really well written and drawn, so I'm willing to let it play out for a few issues more before I decide if it stays or goes.

As I hinted in previous overviews, the title teetering on the brink of being dropped by me was Green Arrow, but the latest issue (#3) won me round with its deeper exploration of the villainous Ninth Circle (bankers for supervillains, a perfect Green Arrow foe) and an Oliver Queen I could finally get a handle on.

I suspect, as I've said before, that part of my problem here was that this isn't a character I've really followed in comics before, knowing him better from his CW television show.

Wonder Woman #2 was the first issue retelling Princess Diana's origin story - in the even numbered issues - playing up the fluid sexuality of the inhabitants of Themyscira in a very Xena: Warrior Princess subtextual manner.

Greg Rucka has written it so much of the dialogue, and mannerisms of the Amazons, can be read as either being expressions of deep friendship or something more sexual, if that's how you want (or need) to take it.

I still find the alternating storyline a rather strange idea, and would prefer an independent Wonder Woman: Year One title and a main Wonder Woman title each month instead.

Aquaman #3 (another relatively new character to me) and Green Lanterns #3 both wobbled a bit this week, but I fear this might be par for the course if the writers are going to be forced to deliver two issues a month for each title. However, neither fluctuation was enough to even make me consider dropping the titles, given the good will created by the preceding issues.

However, I'm kind of hoping, for my wallet as much as anything, that after a while DC is going to tire of this fortnightly schedule for its top tier titles and return to a more sensible once-a-month routine.

Loved the organic, 2000AD-like, style of artwork from Moritat in The Hellblazer: Rebirth but hopefully now John Constantine is back in Blighty we'll get to see an England - outside of London - that looks like the country I live in, rather than a film set from New Zealand standing in for Tolkien's mythical reimagining of England.

Appreciated the fact that writer Simon Oliver managed to give us a reasonably old school Constantine plot (albeit neatly tied up in a single issue), but still reinforced the fact that he was operating in the main DC Comics universe with Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel Shazam.

The strongest title of this recent batch of Rebirth comics - and really, if you think about it, it should be - was Justice League #1.

More large-scale superheroics, world-in-peril stuff, that DC is known for, utilising all the Big Names in bombastic action sequences. Love it, love it, love it! For me, this is the definitive superhero team comic at the moment.

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