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Ranking DC Rebirth *Update for Week 3*

List by Bobby Shortle

Relaunches can be tricky to navigate for both old and new readers. What books should you buy, which books should you avoid and which books are going to be too confusing if you’re a new reader. To that point I have decided to do an ongoing ranking of all the DC Rebirth Specials to give you an idea of the places your hard earned dollars should be going to.

This list will be updated every week and so the order will be in constant flux. The best and worst books will be constantly changing but by the end we should have a comprehensive and informative guide to which DC Rebirth comics you should be checking out!

 

1. Wonder Woman Rebirth #1 (New)

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Written by Greg Rucka

Art by Matthew Clark and Liam Sharp

Colors by Jeremy Colwell and Laura Martin

I’m a fan of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s run that began the New 52, but even I can recognize just how far that was from the Wonder Woman fans had come to know and love.  Then DC went and made it worse by bringing on the Finches and not only driving the old fans further away, but also alienating the new fans who had come to love the New 52 version of the character.  Rebirth is a chance to fix all that and whoa boy have they done it. Greg Rucka returns with a bang and right out of the gate begins the process of undoing what has been done to this beloved hero. This is a wonderful (no pun I swear) return to form for one of the most important fiction creations of the last century.

The only place this book doesn’t excel is in art. The first half (drawn by Matthew Clark) is not to my liking, but he’s not a regular member of the art team so I will not hold it against this book.  The work in the latter part of the issue by regular artist Liam Sharp gives us a peak at what this series will look like and I was very impressed.  The best part Wonder Woman Rebirth is that it’s perfect for new readers. Rucka expertly fills you in on a ton of history (which has many different versions) but takes great care to not overwhelm you.  There has not been a better time in the last decade to start reading Wonder Woman.

New Reader Friendliness: A+

2. Green Arrow Rebirth #1

greenarrow

Story by Benjamin Percy

Art and Color by Otto Schmidt

THE GOATEE IS BACK!

There is no doubt that the characters most in need of a shakeup will benefit the most from Rebirth, but I never could have expected to love Green Arrow as much as I did.  Benjamin Percy nails Ollie’s, at times melodramatic, social conscience and breaths life into the dead relationship between Green Arrow and Black Canary.  Artist Otto Schmidt is a revelation here. His line work and colors bring a ravaged Seattle to life.  His figure work is also superb. He has set the tone for this entire new rendition of Oliver Queen and that future is bright because of it.

New Reader Friendliness: A+

3. Detective Comics #934 (New)

detective

Written by James Tynion IV

Pencils by Eddy Barrows

Colors by Andriano Lucas

TIM DRAKE IS BACK!

I absolutely love this start to the new Detective Comics series.  James Tynion IV’s take of the heroes of Gotham is note perfect and in just one issue the Bat-family seems whole again. Tynion pulls this off by acknowledging the dark, broody and serious nature of these heroes, but then turning around and having a ton of fun with them. It’s a very difficult line to walk, but he pulls it off with aplomb.  I, of course, am a Tim Drake fanatic, but my favorite thing about this new series is Tynion’s take on Batwoman. She feels now the way she began with Greg Rucka. A strong, independent figure who is every bit Batman’s equal.  None of this could be pulled off without gorgeous pencil work from Eddy Barrows and rich colors from Andriano Lucas who render Gotham and its heroes in wonderful detail.

New Reader Friendliness: B

4. Superman Rebirth #1

superman

Storytelling by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason

Pencils by Doug Mahnke

Colors by Wil Quintana

With Batman and Robin Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason crafted one of the standout books of the New 52. They are back together again and this time they are trying their hand at the Big Blue Boy Scout. In Rebirth the New 52 Superman is dead and now the Clark Kent from the Pre – Flashpoint Universe (who showed up in the DC Convergence event) is going to take his place. This new/old Superman has a beard, is married to Lois Lane and has a child name Jonathon.

This sounds awfully confusing, and it is, but Tomasi and Gleason do as good a job as can be hoped trying to catch us up. If you can leave behind what you don’t know you can being to focus on how right the book gets the character of Superman. This is a dignified, wise and patient man who has lived a life full of dangers and has come out the other side the same idealistic hero he went in as. I love the idea of returning to this kind of Superman and in Tomasi and Gleason’s hands I think you could be looking at a great run on the character.

New Reader Friendliness: C+

5. Action Comics #957 (New)

action

Written by Dan Jurgens

Art by Patrick Zircher

Colors by Tomeu Morey

A lot of what I have to say about Action Comics will be a mirror of my Superman review. This is a welcome return to form for the Man of Steel and in particular his relationship with Lex Luthor.  Though, I will say this book is even more confusing than the Superman issue was. We now have a mysterious third Superman to deal and as dense as that may sound it has me more interested in Action Comics than I have been for years. Dan Jurgens has slipped back into his iconic role as Superman writer with an ease I never would have expected. Another surprise is Patrick Zircher, who shows his mettle as an artist here by softening up his usual gritty style to fit the Man of Steel perfectly. This is an unexpectedly great book that I think only suffers from the immense amount of information you need to follow along with it.

New Reader Friendliness: C-

6. Titans Rebirth #1 (New)

TitansRebirthBanner

Written by Dan Abnett

Art by Brett Booth

Inks by Norm Rapamund

Colors by Andrew Dalhouse

Wally West’s return in Rebirth has been one of the highlights of the relaunch and Dan Abnett’s Titans takes the reigns of that story with aplomb. The relationships between the Titans feel spot on and I love the struggle of the characters to regain what they have lost.  Brett Booth turns in great work as well. I’ve always loved the way he draws his heroes and this is no exception. It has been a long time since Titans fans had a book to be excited about, but that might be about to change.

New Reader Friendliness: B+

7. The Flash Rebirth #1

flashWritten by Joshua Williamson

Art by Carmine Di GianDomenico

Colors by Ivan Plascencia

There are a lot of things to love about Flash Rebirth. The art by Carmine Di GianDomenico is not what I would think of when I picture a Flash comic, but there is a reason I don’t make these kind of decisions. His work here is stylish, kinetic and epic. I have to get used to his Barry, but that’s a small quibble when you taken with just how great I think everything else is. Joshua Williamson feels like he is still finding his voice with the chracter. There are scenes in this first issue that really sing, but there are also quite a few that seem weighted down by clunky dialogue.  Where Williamson does shine is in addressing the larger Rebirth mystery. Not only do we get a great recreation of the big Wally moment from Johns’ book, but also a great interaction with Batman that charmingly highlights both the similarities and differences between Barry Allen and Bruce Wayne.  This is a must buy for people interested in the overall DCU and once Williamson finds his footing I expect this book to rise high in my rankings.

New Reader Friendliness: B+

8. Batman Rebirth #1

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Written by Scott Snyder and Tom King

Art by Mikel Janin

Colors by June Chung

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this start to the new era of Batman, but unlike a lot of other series seeing rebirths this one has a lot to live up to. I’m afraid that just doing a very good Dark Knight story in the wake of Snyder and Capullo’s epic run won’t be enough for me. This first issue did nothing to quell those doubts, but it does have absolutely striking art by Mikel Janin (Bruce doing pull ups on a helipad is pretty impressive), a great take on Calendar Man and the induction of Duke as a proper member of the Bat Family.  I think as it has time to develop this could turn into a fine run, but for now I remain cautiously skeptical.

New Reader Friendliness: A

9. Aquaman Rebirth #1 (New)

aquaman

Written by Dan Abnett

Pencils by Scot Eaton and Oscar Jiminez

Colors by Gale Eltaeb

After only two weeks, it’s becoming clear to me that the books most likely to peak my interest in Rebirth are going to be for the characters who had the toughest time in the New 52.  Aquaman stands on the exact opposite end of that spectrum. Geoff Johns’ run is the best thing I’ve ever read featuring Arthur Curry and it helped to redefine the chracter as a vital part of the DC universe.  Writer Dan Abnett manages to channel much of what has made this chracter so great over the last five years.  The book does a good job a reiterating the internal struggle Arthur has as a man of two worlds and the external threats that crop up because of it.  For better or for worse that leaves this book feeling more like a refresher than a rebirth. Everything in this issue is solid, but I can’t help but feel I’ve seen it all before.  I will give it credit for being the most new reader friendly of any of the books I’ve read so far. If you are new to Aquaman though I can see this as an exciting and fresh take on a chracter you probably always thought was a joke.  Just remember…..He doesn’t talk to fish!

New Reader Friendliness: A+

10. Justice League Rebirth #1 (New)

Justice League

By Bryan Hitch

Inks by Daniel Henriques and Scott Hanna

Colors by Alex Sinclair

The worst thing I can say about Justice League: Rebirth is that I have nothing much to say. Bryan Hitch writes a serviceable Justice League story but there is nothing exciting or fresh here. The one bright spot is the League’s reaction to our new Superman, but that is subject matter covered better in Supes’ own titles. I also found myself cold to Hitch’s art. I think the visuals of the title will take a sharp uptick with Tony Daniel stepping in, but this book doesn’t show the promise that a Justice League title should.

New Reader Friendliness: B

11. Green Lanterns Rebirth #1

greenlanters

Written by Geoff Johns and Sam Humphries

Art by Ethan Van Scriver & Ed Benes

Colors by Jason Wright

I’m of two minds about this new Green Lanters series. On the one hand I’m in love with Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz as the lead of their own book.  I think Jessica and Simon as an intergalactic buddy cop duo has a lot of promise.  I love me some bickering that eventually turns into hard earned respect.  This first issue does a great job of establishing that relationship and setting up the overall threat of the upcoming series. I’m also a big fan of Van Scriver’s work on Green Lantern and here (along with Ed Benes) he is channeling his glory days with Geoff Johns. My only reservation is Sam Humphries whose writing I’ve never connected with, but there is enough in this first installment to bring me back for issue two.

New Reader Friendliness: B-

 

Tune in later in the week when we see how the new DC Rebirth books shake up this list!

 

Bobby Shortle is founder and Editor in Chief of Talking Comics as well as the host of the weekly Talking Comics Podcast. When he's not writing about comics he's making short films which can be found at http://vimeo.com/bobbyshortle and talking…

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