Josh: Another week, another round of new stories post-Rebirth. How did they fair for you Pat?
Pat: You know, I thought this week was solid overall. The art was really strong for both Detective & The Flash. Wonder Woman still seems to be finding it’s footing but was good enough. I couldn’t get through Aquaman though.
Josh: Interesting, I thought this week was strong all around for the books I read. I almost picked up Wonder Woman but wanted to wait until I heard the verdict on it. Is the story not quite there yet, or is Liam Sharp still settling into the role as artist?
Pat: Story was cool but mostly set up. I can’t think of another writer that I trust more on a comic then Rucka on Wonder Woman but it’s clearly going to be a slow burn. Liam Sharp’s art is solid, a couple of the pages really jump out. That said, I was really happy when I realized the Nicola Scott was taking over the year one portion of the series as that’s the part I’m most excited by.
Josh: Wonder Woman fans have been clamoring for a Year One story, so it sounds like they might get it. What about it makes it a slow burn? Is it less action based? Is Rucka drawing out the confusion in Diana’s origins?
Pat: Right now it feels like she is discovering things, there was almost no straight up action in the comic, instead the writing focused on world building which for it’s part was interesting. Sharp does these large page’s where all these human skeleton’s are built on top of each other. It looks super fucking metal and awesome.
Josh: Reminds me of Azzerallo/Chang’s run where Diana was a Metal fan, which I thought was a fun addition to her character.
World building is always the trickiest part of a Wonder Woman comic, aside from the head herself. How is Rucka’s approach to it? Has he gotten rid of the Amazonian’s’ brothers, or made their culture more tech-based instead of ancient Greco-Roman
Pat: He actually doesn’t use any of that. Wonder Woman is in a separate realm while Steve Trevor is on mission in a developing country. Again, this is very much a slow burn, very measured, It’s a cool comic but this series hue’s more closer to Lazarus as opposed to Black Magick in terms of Rucka comics, he leaves a lot of it to mystery, which is fine but if expectations were that we’d pick up the series and be blown away like you get in a lot of Marvel #1’s, you might be disappointed.
Josh: Tell me about your experience with Aquaman. You said you couldn’t get through it. In terms of execution I thought it was pretty great. Aquaman and Mera’s relationship was present and felt genuine, you had the meeting of the Worlds with people from the Surface and Atlantis, and Black Manta coming to wreck everything. I felt like it was a true classic issue of Aquaman.
Pat: The writing was sound. I had this weeks finest so as I got close to halfway through, I realized there was no way the book was going to get it based on the art and stopped reading. To ellaborate on why that is, I was willing to give the Rebirth issue a pass on some level because I found Abnett’s third person narration so compelling. Now I’m not positive about this, but I think this debut featured art from one of the artists on the Rebirth title, it really doesn’t work for me. There is a hint of stylistic flair to some of it but it’s so heavily inked and colored that it just looks artificial and bland. Tell me more about what you liked.
Josh: You’re right, the artist is Brad Walker who drew half of the Rebirth issue.
Now I can’t speak to the ink or colors, but I enjoyed the angular style to the pencils and the crazy design of the Atlantian embassy.
I like how brutal Black Manta is and how that carries over from the Geoff Johns run. The way that Arthur is privately concerned with the Embassy’s success but in public has to use his King of Atlantis persona. Also the way that Abnett depicts the “common people” caught in the middle of Arthur and Manta’s feud.
I mean the art is the art, but Abnett is really impressing me with his work on “Aquaman”.
Josh: That does sound like his wheelhouse and something I’d like to see.
Let’s talk about Action next since I think we had similar but differing reactions to it last time. This issue saw the Pre-52 Superman (or is it fair to call him the original Superman?) and Lex Luthor team up against Doomsday, which is hinted that he is the same Doomsday that Superman fought Pre-New 52. The art and writing are stronger here, but not by a huge margin.
Now, the reason I wanted to talk about Action Comics next is because of a post Newsarama put up on Rebirth and continuity questions. Parts of the Rebirth one shot imply that these are the same characters we followed before, just with different experiences and memories. That would be too simple, our current Superman is from another Earth as is the reintroduced Wally West. This might explain the second Clark Kent. It might also explain the mysterious figure in the background, whom Newsarama postulated is Ozymandias. If I wanted to be even crazier, I’d suggest it might be Superboy Prime.
But regardless, is it likely we’ll start seeing some bleeding over from the old DCU into the current the way the Ultimate universe merged with the 616 at Marvel?
Pat: So what happened between the Supermen, Lex & Doomsday? What happened in story for the random Clark Kent? Was that progression satisfying?
Josh: Not really, it was incremental progression if anything. Superman trusts lex a little bit more. Jimmy lamp-shaded that the other Clark shouldn’t exist because Superman revealed his identity, but this Clark just plays it off as some elaborate ruse. If this is how DC puts the genie back in the bottle for Superman’s dual identity, I got to say it lacks panache.
Pat: I mean they can’t just leave it at that right? They had to have introduced the additional Clark for some reason behind the obvious.
Josh: I mean, I’d like to think that but I won’t get my hopes up.
There was a Batman book this week, right?
Pat: Yeah Detective Comics. Was a really cool book overall. The story is sort of chugging along but artist Eddy Barrows is next level right now. There’s some pages in that book like the chase scene or the Clayface danger room that kind of looks like something out of Multiversity #1 by Reis.
Josh: Barrows is one of those artists that’s been with DC so long you kind of forget about him but he’s one of their better illustrators I think. How is Tynion’s grasp of the characters aside from Batman? I was a big fan of Cassandra Cain and so I’m glad she’s back in the fold of the Bat-family but I’m worried DC will let her slip off the map again.
Pat: Cassandra Cain is really well written. One thing I’ll say about Tynion, he does really well with the economy of the character’s in this book so far. There’s just enough Cain, Clayface, Tim Drake ect I think sometimes, Barrows suffered more from the colorist or inkers DC employed but since DCYou, he’s had art teams that understand how to make his work feel more naturalistic & by proxy, much better. He’s an artist who benefits from a rough line. His Martian Manhunter is one of MANY DCYou series that were fucking awesome but didn’t catch on sadly.
Josh: For me, I saved the best for last. As much as I praised Aquaman, I thought this week’s Flash as on point. Exactly what I wanted from Williamson and the art was like a rough version of Kaare Andrews. What did you think about it?
Pat: It was cool. I was really impressed with the comics visual art. The coloring was out of this world.
Josh: I like that I’m (an arts major) focusing on the writing for these books and you (NBC’s editor) are focusing on the art and colors. The art was good though, the streak of light used to depict Barry’s speed was cool and Giandemenico really seems like a good fit for this series. For example, the way he staged the crime scene Barry investigated felt very natural and easy to follow.
Pat: Your right about the writing and also what Williamson does at his best is have this sort of naturalism that makes this book easy to fall into. But with comics, even though I come from a much more literary background, if the art sucks the comic sucks but if the art is good the book can always be fire.
Josh: This is much closer to what I was expecting for this series and I’m glad I got it in this issue. Proving the Rebirth one-shots are not the litmus test they’re intended to be for DC’s relaunches.
It seemed like Williamson has a good grasp of Flash history and a novel take on the new status quo (new Wally, new Barry/Iris dynamic) then other writers who actually started all of that. I like the idea that Barry is overwhelmed by everything he takes on, which is different from the Silver Age Barry I love but feels modern at the same time.
I’m finally coming around to this whole “other people having Super Speed” angle that was announced along with the series. It feels very familiar to something Buccellato and Manapul did in 2012, but I think Williamson will take it in a different route.
Pat: I mean, the “other people have super speed” angle is one that’s almost always there on some level for as long as the Flash has been tri-generational legacy character and I feel it’s been utilized to varying degree’s of success over the years. What about this interpretation has you hopeful that it’ll be unique?
Josh: That it will actually challenge Barry instead of being a brief and pointless plot point like in the Buccellato and Manapul run. If he has to deal with superfast criminals, or citizens with accelerated aging or superspeed appetites it would automatically be more entertaining. Maybe not as much as the “Savitor” arc in the Waid/Lurroca run, but something new at least. Plus Williamson is pretty good at plotting, so I think he can pull off something great.
Pat: In both Rebirth & the series debut this week, Williamson has shown a strength and sophistication in his writing that’s already been a huge asset for the title.
Josh: So would we sum this up as a “good” week for Rebirth, in terms of the number of strong titles and our overall enjoyment? I know you didn’t finish Aquaman and Action left me feeling a bit letdown, but overall I think this was an improvement in several ways to the past weeks. Even more so considering next week there’s no Rebirth titles at all for some reason.
Pat: The infamous fifth week skip. I’m sure it will help in keeping the books on schedule. I’d say it was pretty good, a strong showing overall. I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what I want to continue reading from this months first wave of comics but I’m ready to see some more titles I was excited to come out like Supergirl, New Superman, Deathstroke, Batgirl & All Star Batman.
Josh: I’d like to see more of Green Arrow and Green Lanterns to decide if I want to keep reading those, but I’d also like to see some other stuff too. I’m curious if Rob Williams on Suicide Squad will surpass Seely’s brief time on the book. Of course, just having the Flash be good quality month to month will make me happy. I feel safe in saying Aquaman will be on my pull-list as long as Abnett’s writing him.