Pat: So these last couple weeks saw the premier of four new Rebirth titles in Justice League, Hal Jordan & The GL Corps, Nightwing & New Superman. Which ones did you read and what were your thoughts Josh?
Josh: I read all but New Superman, which I feel bad about but I want to wait to see how well executed it is.
Justice League by Bryan Hitch was a decent one and done which others raved about but I can’t agree with. Hal Jordan & Green Lantern Corps is a primer for the series with cool art, but Nightwing. Was. Great. Just like Grayson, funny and respectful of the past while setting up the future story without it weighing down the issue itself.
Pat: So tell me about Nightwing a little bit more. That was one I passed on
Josh: Nightwing was pretty much the same goodness as Grayson with Paquette art. Now, Paquette’s no Mikel Janin but he’s no slouch either and both of them I admire greatly for different reasons. Janin made that character his own but Paquette seemed to be homaging Janin a bit or maybe just continuing that sense of awesome.
It didn’t have the experimental story that Grayson was known for, but it was a touching look at Dick hanging with his friends before he starts his new life as Nightwing.
Pat: Paquette is one of DC’s best illustrator’s that’s been away from any monthly books with any kind of consistency because of Earth One Wonder Woman. I’ve noticed that his art is much cleaner on that book or the recent Batman issue’s he did as opposed to his work on like, Swamp Thing or some of the books he was drawing before that. Is it the smooth line that he’s been doing as of late or is it rougher like his earlier work?
Josh: It’s a lot smoother, which is is partly where the Janin comparison comes from.
I kind of miss his old style, but the issue being a superhero comic in 2016, I can see why he went this route. I still like it, its not bad in any way.
Pat: Yeah I think it’s cool that he’s still trying new things with his art at this point. How did Nightwing variate from some of the other Rebirth titles in its formatting?
Josh: It felt very much like a goodbye to the past, and a tease of what’s to come. I can’t think of any Rebirth books that really acknowledged the series that came before them in this way, which I really enjoyed because I’m such a fan of Grayson.
It wasn’t so much plot based, if you came into this cold knowing nothing of Dick Grayson I don’t know if you would enjoy it. For someone that’s followed him for years, I thought it was really nice. Although the coming tease I was really confused by, I assume I should’ve read Robin War. Lincoln March showed up and is probably gone for good, I thought that was a waste.
Probably the most continuity heavy issue besides the Green Lantern books, but it also had the most heart.
Josh: Yeah and to be fair, Grayson was an incredible series as a whole so it makes sense that they’d reference it with this book. Part of the argument against doing a Nightwing book instead was because Grayson could be really great
Josh: Yeah, but I always said if it wasn’t King/Seely/Janin it wasn’t really Grayson. Seeing issues not written by them or drawn by someone besides Janin, I feel vindicated in that. You really need a strong creative voice to sell that, and I knew it couldn’t last forever. Thankfully, I think Nightwing will be more or less a successor to Grayson which feels odd to say.
Pat: “Thankfully, I think Nightwing will be more or less a successor to Grayson which feels odd to say”
I think that’s what it should be. One of the things I loved about Grayson was how King would really play with structure but I think Seely still steered a lot of that series in terms of it’s actual plot direction in addition to it’s lighter tone so that’s cool that he could stay with the character in some capacity.
Pat: Yeah, I thought it was pretty bad.
Josh: I thought it was ok, but then I saw some rave reviews for it and I wondered “am I missing something?” It’s a serviceable Justice League issue, but I don’t see anything that makes me think I should continue with the series now that Johns is off it.
Pat: You know I do want to continue with it because I like Hitch as a writer in addition to being a really big fan of Daniels art, but I think this was the case of another Rebirth issue being built on a flimsy concept. I really don’t give a flying fucking Shazam why this Superman would join the Justice League which is the entire premise and point of the issue and the art is way too rushed. There are some inspired pages but that’s in between a lot of really poorly constructed figure drawing and frankly, coloring and inking that’s just not up to standard. I felt it was just a bad showing all around but at the same time, it didn’t sway me away from wanting to see what this book will be like on a monthly basis. Weirdly, a lot of bad Rebirth books have felt like that for series that I was still interested so I still have faith in this comic even though I think this particular issue is absolutely terrible.
I also sincerely believe that all the high praise this issue got from the comics internet is 100% politics straight up.
Josh: Y’know, I did feel like Hitch gave each hero something to do in the story which I kind of enjoyed. This could be the template for the Justice League movie and I’d be ok with that. I agree the art does feel rushed, which makes sense considering he’s like five issues behind on JLA and has to turn in scripts for Justice League for Daniels to draw.
“I also sincerely believe that all the high praise this issue got from the comics internet is 100% politics straight up”
Tell me more about this, because I feel like now I am missing something.
Pat: The last Justice League comic was really polarizing so the fact that this was a story that was unobjectionable on the surface, along with it being a big comic for DC by an important creator & nobody wants to write about how the inker’s or colorists are substandard when inkers & colorists generally don’t get enough recognition as it, so it just becomes easier for reviewers, especially reviewers whose sites have a relationship with DC, to say it’s good and ignore its inherent flaws no matter how severe they are.
Josh: “The last Justice League comic was really polarizing”
That I had no idea of. It had really low points (Origin, Trinity War) but during and after Forever Evil, I feel like Johns made that book more compelling because there was actually stories to tell. That’s just me though.
Taking in your perspective, now I can understand why Justice Leauge Rebirth was so praised but if that is the case, I feel like that’s really haphazard of sites to just let one slide. That’s a much larger issue within the industry, not really a side effect of DC Rebirth.
Did you happen to pick up New Superman?
Pat: I did, by contrast New Superman was great. Really well written and natural by Gene Leung Yang. I felt like it was really exploring this idea of Chinese culture in a very singular way that was looking at the complexity of classicism. Bogdonavich and the art team made it light and fun but with enough levity to keep it engaging. Not a lot happened which probably held it back from being amazing but it was a strong start.
Josh: That was one I wasn’t sure about, so I passed. I keep thinking New Superman will end up like the New Power Girl, which is to say forgotten almost immediately when DC gets bored with it.
It is a striking idea though, an Asian hero whose power set doesn’t include martial arts or genius level intellect. Someone who’s taking on the mantle and power set of Superman from the ideology of another country sounds fascinating.
Pat: Yeah it was really well done with a unique premise. The protagonist is the son of a mechanic and that class distinction between he and his peers (the issue starts with him roughing up a CEO’s kid for lunch money) really seems to be somethng that’s implemented within the structure of the comic from the start in a way that’s subtle enough but still very apparent. I like Yang a lot, he’s done some fantastic creator owned books with First Second. I don’t think he ever had a chance to really do his story on Superman in the DCYOU era where the character lost his powers and it was a lot to ask out of a writer working on his first DC Comic to start on the main Superman title after Geoff Johns. New Superman feels much more in the vein of Yang’s past work that was successful and as one of the few Rebirth books that actually taking real risk with it’s premise, it get’s off to a strong start in it’s debut.
Josh: That sounds really cool, I might drop Action for that since I want to follow a Superman comic that is actually good and not just interesting.
That leaves the final book to talk about, Hal Jordon and the GL Corps.
Pat: Didn’t read it so tell me about.
Josh: It was even more continuity heavy than Nightwing, I dropped Green Lantern awhile back and followed tweets and interviews about it so I sort of had an idea of what was happening. Then I read this issue and I’m almost lost, Hal Jordon is an energy construct, Sinestro is old and king of Warworld which he’s moved to where Oa used to be. Some of the last stuff was cool, it shows DC is keeping the Sinestro Corps going.
The issue itself didn’t work for me because it’s essentially Hal just going over his history and how he ended up here, then he makes a new GL ring and decides to rejoin the Corps so all of that is kind of moot if you’re just going back to the old status quo. Like why wouldn’t you hit the ground running with Hal getting back in the groove as a GL and being with his friends?
Ethan Van Sciver had great art though.
Pat: Yeah everything I saw from Van Sciver looked wonderful. Definitely sounds like another one of these Rebirth comics that’s meant to explain continuity changes but is ultimately a pretty pointless story.
Josh: Yep, exactly. I’ll check out the next issue to see if the story actually gets started there but this one didn’t entice on jumping back on Green Lantern. In fact, it had the opposite problem of Green Lanterns where the story is cool and the art is mediocre which is so ironic.