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Justice League Rebirth #1 Review

Come on baby, don't fear the reaper.

Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper.

“Fear the Reaper”
Written & Pencils by Bryan Hitch
Inks by Daniel Henriques (w/Scott Hanna)
Colors by Alex Sinclair
Letters by Richard Starkings & Comicraft

Review by John Dubrawa

So far, DC’s Rebirth has been an incredibly refreshing overhaul of its line of books. There’s freshness in these titles, a sense of wonder that the books either lost along the way in the New 52 or never even had them to begin with. In other words, Rebirth has made what is old new again. Unfortunately, Justice League Rebirth #1 from writer Bryan Hitch, is lacking all those good vibrations, and comes across as very much a step back in the milieu of the Rebirth relaunch. For one of DC’s flagship titles, this new beginning feels incredibly unexciting and underwhelming. And in a book filled with such a roster of superhero heavy hitters, it’s the last thing a title like this should feel like.

Dialogue is a huge misstep throughout this issue as our heroes do not feel much like individuals but are instead all relegated to expository statements. Only The Flash, with his occasional crack of a joke, comes away with a distinct personality here. Not to mention that Wonder Woman opting to fight the alien threat that arises rather than taking the suggestion of Aquaman to try and reason with them feels like a giant step back for that character, back into New 52 land. Even the issue’s plot, of an unknown alien invasion that the League must stop, feels very similar to the first Justice League issue in the New 52. That wasn’t a bad issue, and neither is this one, really, but considering what Rebirth is supposed to be about, there’s only a semblance of that sentiment exhibited here. Only in the scenes in which Pre-New 52 Superman debates his place on the League do I feel any inkling of Rebirth poking through to the surface.

If there’s another glaring issue with Justice League Rebirth #1 it is definitely Hitch’s art. While his sense of scope is wondrous, especially when we get to see the alien invasion from the sky in the opening panels of the issue, his characters are very problematic. Since much of this issue is spent in close up shots of the League, the problem with distorted faces (or frankly, some unfinished ones) is difficult to overlook. Alex Sinclair’s colors are subdued under a relatively muted color palette and therefore the book doesn’t shine like it should given the vibrancy that Rebirth has been all about since it started. Tony Daniel starts as the series’ regular artist next month, so the look of this book should be quite different moving forward.

VERDICT

Skip. I’m trying to come up with a more eloquent way of describing Justice League Rebirth #1 yet the one word I keep returning to is “meh.” And the last thing a book like Justice League should be is meh. But unfortunately, with very wasted dialogue and unflattering art, this book just isn’t Rebirth’s best foot being put forward. Regular series artist Tony Daniel is taking over with the title’s official first issue, so here’s hoping for a better output for this flagship title in issues moving forward. The Justice League deserves it.

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