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Rebirth

The Flash (Rebirth, Vol. 1): Lightning Strikes Twice

Barry Allen became the Flash when he was struck by lightning and gained access to the Speedforce. For a long time, he was the only one. But now, all over Central City, a whole bunch of citizens have been struck by lightning and have gained the same powers Barry has. Some, like Barry’s friend August Heart, love their newfound abilities; others are scared and want to go back to a normal life. Dr. Meena Dhawan, a scientist at S.T.A.R. Labs, has been inviting those who’ve been affected to train with her, to learn to control their abilities. The Speedforce granted her the ability to sense the Speedforce in others. Together, Barry, August, and Meena are helping the new speedsters and protecting them from a new threat. A speedster called Godspeed is targeting these new recruits and stealing their speed. Barry feels responsible, but he’s not alone anymore and thus doesn’t have to shoulder the burden on his own. When the identity of Godspeed is revealed, he thinks it may just be better to go it alone…

This one had a lot packed in it. The first issue had to do a lot with the Batman/The Flash: The Button (2017), which I hadn’t read, so I felt a little lost. I’ve heard it’s good, so I’ll have to pick it up =P After that, it dropped off, and the story picks up by itself. There was a lot going on in the story here, but everything ties together nicely. By the end I wanted to go back and see what I’d missed! The art is serviceable. The figures are very angular, every edge and corner sharp. It works great in the action scenes with all the lightning, but just looks plain odd in slower scenes. This is one of the better Rebirth titles I’ve picked up, and will be reading more!

– Kathleen

Williamson, Joshua, Carmine di Giandomenico, and Ivan Plascencia. The Flash (Rebirth, Vol. 1): Lightning Strikes Twice. 2017.

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Wonder Woman (Rebirth, Vol. 4): Godwatch

Veronica Cale, leader of Godwatch, is definitely not a Wonder Woman fan. She’s watched Diana on the news, read about her in the papers, and thinks she is a sham. It doesn’t help that two of her gods, Phobos and Deimos, sons of Ares, have stolen her daughter’s soul. They’re holding it ransom until Veronica can lead them to Themyscira. Veronica sacrifices much in the journey, in developing the technology to get there. But to save her daughter – Veronica will do just about anything.

Rebirth WW does a lot of skipping around in the story. I can see why they utilize that method – revealing hidden truths and all that – but it’s not ideal for light reading. I really had to pay attention! That said, I loved that they went in a slightly different direction in this volume and made Veronica Cale the focus. You see her make the descent from a woman who just wants to save her daughter to a villain, and neither you nor her realizes until it’s too late. Cale is an excellent foil for Diana. I’m kind of a sucker for villain stories like this, and I enjoyed it very much.

Bilquis Evely’s art is lovely in it’s subtlety. The focus is more on expression as opposed to great detail. The color palette gets more muted and darker the more you read, echoing Cale’s descent into villainy. My favorite part had to be Jenny Frison’s covers at the back, though… I can’t get enough of them!!!

– Kathleen

Rucka, Greg, Bilquis Evely, and Romulo Fajardo Jr. Wonder Woman (Rebirth, Vol. 4): Godwatch. 2017.

Batwoman: The Many Arms of Death

Typically not a DC fan, and definitely not a Batman fan, I decided to give the rebooted Batwoman a try. Kathleen has recently enjoyed previous recent titles about her such as Hydrology and Elegy and had great things to say about both, so I gave it a go.

I went in totally unfamiliar with Batwoman, so I appreciated her origin story in the beginning to get know what shaped her into who she is now. As a child her twin sister and mother are killed in a failed kidnapping (although you just know her twin will reapppear again- if not in this volume, a future one). We then see Kate as a cadet at West Point and when her sexuality is discovered, she won’t deny it, thus she is kicked out. Next the heiress is seen partying it up, but it’s obviously a mask to hide her pain.

Then the timeline really starts to dart around. Kate has a “lost” year between leaving West Point and becoming Batwoman. She is stranded on the island of Coryana with a head injury and falls in love with her beautiful benefactor Safiyah, who is the leader of this lawless nation. Safiyah’s previous lover Tahani is pushed aside for Kate, which fills Tahani with rage. Years later Tahani is back for revenge and the storyline becomes James Bondish, with an actual Moneypenny character. Kate is very unlikable at this stage, and Tahani speaks some truth to her, which Kate just ignores. As soon as I finally was becoming comfortable in this one stage of her life, there is another timeline jump into the future.  No mater what timeline she is in, Kate jumps from one lover to another, and is condescending to all. I’ve never been a fan of “bad boys who need redemption” character types, so I wasn’t a fan even with the gender switch. No matter who you are, or love, be nice. I guess she’s similar to Batman- whose brooding nature I have never liked.

Three artists are listed, and as such sometimes the art style shifts from one issue to the next. All illustrate well, with a dark color palette and varied panel structure. It’s certainly not the art I have a problem with. What I don’t get is her supposed secret identity. Hello- her flaming red hair is a huge clue! Is everyone supposed to think that Batwoman can’t be Kate because Kate has short red hair while Batwoman has long? Its a wig people, attached to her cowl!  And does she she wear it under her clothes? There was one scene in which she is dressed as Kate and one second later she is in her costume. I actually looked to see if there was a page, or at least a panel, that would explain it.

I received this digital copy through NetGalley for a fair and unbiased review. I let the excitement of being approved for the volume to override my usual avoidance of Batman stories. Truth be told, Kathleen would have been a better reviewer for the story. I’m not sure if me not liking it had to do with my distaste for Kate or if the time jumping made it too choppy for me to enjoy. While I welcomed the needed LGTBQ superhero storyline, Kate wasn’t the right person to carry it off.

-Nancy

Bennett, Marguerite & James Tynion IV. Batwoman: The Many Arms of Death. 2017.

Wonder Woman (Rebirth, Vol. 3): The Truth

Diana is completely devastated after learning she has never been home. She has been deceived into thinking she’d been able to go back and forth between Themyscira and Man’s World at will. Her mind breaks, and Steve hastily admits her to a psychiatric hospital before fleeing to find Etta. Veronica Cale, leader of Godwatch, is still after Wonder Woman, thinking she can lead them to Themyscira. Steve, Etta, and Barbara Ann need to throw them off the trail. But Cale is relentless, and it’s only a matter of time before she catches up to them. How can they stop her when what she wants – Wonder Woman and the way to Themyscira – may be lost forever?

This comic hit me harder than it should have. Wonder Woman losing her sense of self, becoming hurt and confused, is very emotional. Rucka is not afraid to let her be human. With this volume, we are reminded that our heroes are human, too. We are also reminded that we can pick ourselves up, forge on, and eventually our faith will be rewarded. This is by far the best Rebirth title I’ve picked up, and I’m eagerly looking forward to more.

– Kathleen

Rucka, Greg, Liam Sharp, and Laura Martin. Wonder Woman (Rebirth, Vol. 3): The Truth. 2017.

Nightwing (Rebirth, Vol. 1): Better than Batman

Dick Grayson is, well, Dick Grayson again. He’s finished with Spyral, he’s back from the (figurative) dead, and he’s got his secret identity back. There is one last bit of spy business he needs to take care of, though: the Parliament of Owls. They threatened Damian Wayne in order to get Dick to join them, and that is something Dick won’t stand for. He infiltrates their ranks once again, but this time they pair him with someone called Raptor. Though he’s a liar and a thief, Dick can’t help but feel like he can trust him. Almost like… like they have a connection. When the bond between them is revealed to be more than coincidence, can Dick continue to trust him? Can he even carry out this last spy mission without losing himself?

Well, the title got it right. The Rebirth Nightwing is way better than Rebirth Batman. The thing about Dick is, he’s got most of Batman’s characteristics and morals, but overall wrapped in a cheerier and (dare I say) more attractive package. Little hints are dropped as to Raptor’s secret identity throughout the book, leaving us readers hanging on the edge of our seats to see the mystery revealed. The art wasn’t as detailed and defined as I’d like, but the story was more than enough to keep me going.

– Kathleen

Seeley, Tim, Javier Fernandez, and Christ Sotomayor. Nightwing (Rebirth, Vol. 1): Better than Batman. 2017.

Supergirl (Rebirth, Vol. 1): Reign of the Cyborg Supermen

Supergirl’s certainly got her work cut out for her. She needs to get Cameron Chase, the formidable director of the D.E.O., to trust her, her foster parents to hone their Kryptonian, and pass her driving test. Like a normal teenager. Which she certainly isn’t! On Krypton, Kara was top of her class, but at her new science academy on Earth, she has trouble operating a projector. She feels clumsy, frustrated – and homesick most of all. She flees to the Fortress of Solitude and wishes she could be closer to Krypton. Be careful what you wish for, though… or a Cyborg Superman claiming to be your father will just show up and offer to show you Argo City, just as he’s restored it back to life. It’s impossible – isn’t it?

I didn’t read New 52 Supergirl, so I went in completely blind. In the first issue especially there were vague references to past events that left me lost. These petered out, and it did get marginally better, but… honestly, it felt as if the whole book was a rewrite of the first season of the show if Kara was a teenager instead of a young adult. I wanted to like it a lot more than I actually did. The art was super cool, and lively, which kept it moving along at a quick pace. The tension between Kara and Cyborg Superman, and the question of whether or not he really is her father, was very well-done and disturbing as we learn what lengths he will go to take Kara back for Argo City.

The redeeming factor: A NON-SKIMPY COSTUME!!! She wears a long skirt and thigh-high boots, which are much more practical for fighting crime.

(Even her costume is almost a carbon copy of the show’s costume, but I’m so happy it’s not stupidly impractical I’m letting it slide)

Has anyone read further than me? Should I keep going? I keep being so disappointed by Rebirth I’m not sure if I want to continue this one =(

– Kathleen

Orlando, Steve, Brian Ching, and Emanuela Lupacchino. Supergirl (Rebirth, Vol. 1): Reign of the Cyborg Supermen. 2017.

Wonder Woman (Rebirth, Vol. 2): Year One

Y’all should know Wonder Woman’s origin story like the back of your hand by now from dealing with me, so I’ll gloss over that part of this book =P After returning Steve Trevor to Man’s World, Diana finds herself detained in a military base. She’s alone, scared, and she can’t make anyone understand her. But then, she’s visited by the gods. Each of her patrons bestows upon her a gift, but what they are, they say will reveal themselves in time. By the time Lieutenant Etta Candy and Steve manage to find someone who can understand the language Diana is speaking, Diana has gone pretty stir crazy. She accidentally rips the bars off her cell, and Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva decides Diana was telling the truth about her heavenly visit! More gifts reveal themselves at the mall they take Diana to, during an attack by the Sear Group… who are familiar to both Dr. Minerva and Diana. What do they want?

This may be a Year One, but it’s especially interesting after reading Volume 1, because we are going back to the beginning after glimpsing the ending. The middle will be a great ride! I adored that they actually utilized a language barrier here when Diana enters Man’s World. It makes sense, and it made for some pretty fun moments! The art is wonderful, and I love that Diana was portrayed with especial wide-eyed innocence here. It was fun to watch her learn her gifts for a change instead of knowing them immediately. There were lots of little cameos and hints to WW past that made me smile. I can’t wait for more!

– Kathleen

Rucka, Greg, Nicola Scott, and Romulo Fajardo, Jr. Wonder Woman (Rebirth, Vol. 2): Year One. 2017.

Batgirl and The Birds of Prey (Rebirth, Vol. 1): Who is Oracle?

The name “Oracle” has been haunting Babs – no, literally. The criminals she takes down seem to be getting their information from Oracle, and what’s worse, it looks like they’re selling information to the mob, too. She calls Dinah to help her out. She desperately needs to find out who Oracle is, and why they’re sullying that name… the name that’s both Barbara’s past, and her future. Unfortunately, someone calling herself Huntress is after the mob, for reasons she won’t say. Batgirl and Huntress butt heads, as they both feel the other is getting in her way. But if what they both want is information… then it’s in their best interests to both go after Oracle. They work together for a time, until tensions run too high. Do the Birds have room for one more? Or will Huntress strike out on her own?

I. Love. This. Comic! This has been the first example of a Rebirth title I’ve read that’s blended the past and forged a new story perfectly. (Then again, I’m most familiar with the past of this comic!) The mystery surrounding Oracle’s identity was especially compelling because of how much it means to Barbara, and of Dinah’s determination to help her clear her name. Babs’ and Dinah’s rock solid friendship, that they then extend to Helena, is the main reason I keep coming back to this title. The art was really cool – and much better than Rebirth Batgirl, for which I was very happy!!!

Man, Rebirth as whole though is not exactly impressing me… only have liked 2/4 that I’ve read! What Rebirth titles have you liked?

– Kathleen

Benson, Julie, Claire Roe, and Shawna Benson. Batgirl and the Birds of Prey (Rebirth, Vol. 1): Who is Oracle? 2017.

Batgirl (Rebirth, Vol. 1): Beyond Burnside

Babs needs a break after those chaotic few weeks in Burnside where her memory was tampered with. So she sets off on a backpacking trip through Asia. On pure coincidence, she runs into an old friend, Kai, at the hostel she’s staying at in Okinawa. It becomes clear that he’s being targeted – but by who? The attackers all have the same tattoo: the Chinese characters for “student.” So who is the Teacher, and why do they want Kai so badly? He’s gotten into trouble in the past, but he swears to Babs he’s clean now. Batgirl isn’t so sure. She needs to find this Teacher, and why he or she is after her friend, fast.

I’m 50/50 on this one. It was a quick, light read, the story was pretty good, and the international setting was refreshing. There was a really fun story at the end, when Babs is traveling back to Gotham, with a killer plant eating the plane and Batgirl and Poison Ivy trying to stop it. But the art was AWFUL. It looked like the entire book was half-finished. The backgrounds were blurred and out of focus, and the figures had that odd blend of cross-hatch and block shading that I absolutely loathe. I’ll pick up the second volume to see what Babs makes of herself in Gotham after this adventure, but if the art is more of the same I’m just going to have to put it down.

– Kathleen

Larson, Hope, Rafael Albuquerque, and Dave McCaig. Batgirl (Rebirth, Vol. 1): Beyond Burnside. 2017.

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