Reborn #1 has been one of the most hyped new comics of 2016. Artist Greg Capullo just finished an astonishing five year run on DC Comics mainline Batman title while writer Mark Millar recent move to Image Comics has brought a new level of vibrancy to his work that had been lacking for years in his Icon offerings. Unfortunately, Reborn fails to live up to it’s own hype with a first issue that offers very little outside of Millar’s formulaic set up with only a few pages truly worth of Capullo’s immense artistic talent.
There is a strange dichotomy to Millar’s work that’s on full display in Reborn, that between genre conventions and Millar’s own impulses to soften them for mass consumption. This has been successful for Millar in almost every way imaginable in terms of both his work in comic’s in addition to the burgeoning film career he’s built out his work being adapted for the big screen, but it doesn’t always translate to something interesting. Reborn is an issue that, charitably, spends 50% of it’s content meeting the main character as she exists in some form of reality as we know it. She’s an old woman who is about to die and while her feelings and idea’s are certainly relatable on an almost universal level, they’re also thin and without much to distinguish the protagonist or the book beyond the premise that was already made clear for anybody whose spent time reading about the project. The second half enters an afterlife that is this sort of this post apocalypse dystopia where the women who just died has been re-incarnated as a younger version of herself. Like the first half, very little happens here to distinguish the events in the book’s content from what you’d expect based on the imagery. Here’s the thing; as the opening fifteen minutes of a film, this first issue could be solid assuming the creators behind the movie are coherent. But as a comic, it’s barely doing anything at all. Compare this first issue with similar high profile Image #1’s from 2016 like The Black Monday Murders, Kill or Be Killed, Seven To Eternity or Mirror; the actual content is severely limited while the scope of it’s imagination feel’s smaller and less engaging in contrast with the aforementioned debut’s. The beauty of comics comes from the limitlessness of it’s narrative but in structuring Reborn like the introduction of a film, Millar immediately put’s a ceiling on the first issue. All of that is a shame because artist Greg Capullo with inker Danny Miki and colorist Ivan Plascencia feel strangely muted compared to their most recent Batman work, which is the opposite of how this should work. The creator owned book is where you’d expect the artist to go wild but save for a couple (very notable) pages, nothing stands out here the way an entire issues of their Batman series often would.
Reborn isn’t bad per say, but instead, mediocre and verging on lifeless in it’s first issue. While it’s hard to believe that it will stay this way due to the books structure and talent involved, it’s unremarkable debut isn’t a great sign and leaves a lot to be desired.
Nothing But Comics is about to hit our two year mark and in observance of the sites anniversary, every Tuesday from now until we finish, one of our staff members will list off their favorite series, runs or issues of all time. This week it’s Dean Continue reading Tuesday Top Ten: All Time Favorites Dean
Writer Scott Snyder goes for the unpredictability that the second half of his Batman run was known for in the debut and premise of All-Star Batman. The comic is good in a general sense but it doesn’t reach the heights of his iconic Batman run is its first issue.
All-Star Batman #1 follows the hero as he attempts to take the villain Two Face to a house that can allegedly cure him of his split personality. But Two Face has other plans as he put’s a bounty on Batman that almost everyone is willing to chase, including some of his closest confidants. There’s a lot of Snyder in this debut from it’s monologues and reflection that’s become a hallmark of the writers comics work. Yet the premise of the books plot feels as if it’s stretching the limits of it’s own internal logic and probability. Aspects of the story feel as if they exist purely as contrivance to create the books unique set up. How does Two Face have information on everybody? How can he access three other crime families fortune to give up as a reward? If he’s made this public to everyone in the state of Gotham, wouldn’t the crime families just move the money to a different holding source that Two Face doesn’t know about? It’s distracting and mostly useless as the books best parts have little to do with plot details and instead, focus on the visceral action and suspense of Batman trying to outrun everyone that is gunning for him via the weird yet dynamic visual storytelling of John Romita Jr.
Romita Jr has a singular polarizing style that is unlike anything else in comics. While his figure work can feel stiff and blocky, he’s a master at creating bold and lively action sequences that are deceptively detailed and a joy to explore. In that way, the basic conceit of All-Star Batman’s story is nearly perfect for Romita Jr. strengths. He’s aided by former Batman inker Danny Miki and frequent Romita collaborator Dean White greatly. White especially has a special chemistry with Romita when they work together. His colors are all bright yet hazy contrasts that blend into one another. White’s colors benefit Romita so well in that it amps up his hyper cartoonishness while giving the work a hint of surrealism. Superstar art team Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire provide a back up comic that stands in sharp contrast to Romita’s for it’s relative realism. The first part of an ongoing story from the perspective of Duke Johnson, it has Snyder leaning back on his roots in horror fiction and is feels far more focused then it’s predecessor.
All-Star Batman has a lot of promise and it will be interesting to see where it goes. The core concept of Batman on the run tends to work more often then not and it’s exciting to see Snyder try it with Romita Jr and co. It doesn’t totally work but it’s enough to warrant consideration for what sounds like a fascinating series going forward.
by Tom King, David Finch, Matt Banning, Danny Miki, Jordie Bellaire, John Workman
A new era of Batman and Gotham City is here. But is it the era we deserve? Continue reading Batman #2 Review