The world has been reborn.

Last month’s release of DC Universe: Rebirth #1 kicked off a new era of storytelling for the publisher.  The house that gave us Batman and Superman is looking to make up for the mistakes of the New 52 canonical reboot, reinstating old plot points that were erased from their timeline and even bringing back old versions of classic characters that had been discarded in favor of newer, “edgier” ones.

Rebirth #1 promised us character driven stories filled with more heart than fist.  Can they deliver?  Each week, Kyle Pinion and Alex Lu will dig into the Rebirth titles kicking off DC Comics’ line overhaul to find out.  This is week three of DC Reborn.

Note: the review below contains **spoilers**. You’ll find our buy/pass recommendation for this book near the bottom of the article, so if you’re looking for a quick guide before heading out to the store, you’ll find it there!

Previous Reviews:

Week One— BATMAN:REBIRTH, GREEN ARROW: REBIRTH, SUPERMAN: REBIRTH, and GREEN LANTERNS: REBIRTH

Week Two— ACTION COMICS, AQUAMAN: REBIRTH, DETECTIVE COMICS, FLASH: REBIRTH, WONDER WOMAN: REBIRTH

(Editor’s Note: We’ve switched up the formatting on the DC Reborn series a bit.  We’ll still be reviewing all the series that come out each week, but we’ll be posting one review per hour instead of all of them at once. We’ll also have a round up post and final thoughts at the end of the day.  Happy reading!)


TNSREB_Cv1_dsTitans: Rebirth #1

Writer: Dan Abnett  Penciller: Brett Booth

Inker: Norm Rapmund  Colorist: Carlos M. Mangual  Letterer: Booth, Rapmund, & Dalhouse

Kyle: Brett Booth. Well, he’s not my ideal kinda artist, but I guess he’s got a sort of 90’s Image/Ian Churchill vibe that attracts a certain segment of the audience. Moreso than even David Finch above, I was definitely at my most trepidacious when embarking upon this collaboration between he and Dan Abnett, who had whiffed a bit just last week with Aquaman: Rebirth. But to my surprise, this was another big intro that I had a pretty fun time with. It’s not great comics in any respect, and I get the sense that if you didn’t know who any of these characters were off the bat, you’d be so terribly lost, but it seems clear to me that’s not the audience DC wants to focus on right now anyway and this is a comic that’s about as clear about that intention as any they’ve published in the past few weeks.

Titans: Rebirth is basically the next chapter in the Rebirth mega-story, which makes sense given that it focuses on the elder Wally West who was the lead of that 80 page event comic. This is Wally trying to reconnect with his old teammates and they, much like Barry Allen before them, have no recollection of their adventures with this speedster. The premise is engaging enough for the fan like me that has some serious attachment to this cast, particularly the idea of returning to the original Teen Titans line-up, which I feel all too often gets cast aside in favor of the more popular Wolfman/Perez team.

Sure, the way everyone gets their memories back is pretty convenient, Wally touches someone and instantly we get a flashback and everything is right as rain. But as a sequel to both Rebirth and Titans Hunt (a book I have to admit I didn’t read, but am aware of Abnett picking up his own pieces here much like Tomasi did with Superman), this does the trick.

Alex, as a somewhat newbie DC reader, did this connect with you whatsoever?

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Alex: Well, for starters, let me say that I find it hilarious that Wally West’s plan to stop being a punching bag for the DC Universe essentially amounts to continuing to play the role of said punching bag until the timeline is fixed– I guess purgatory isn’t so bad when you can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Anyways, I enjoyed Titans: Rebirth well enough.  While I can’t begin to fathom the layers to this comic that must reveal themselves you as someone who has read adventures with these characters, I think that Abnett and Booth do an effective job of establishing Wally’s connection with each of the other heroes in this Titans lineup.  

I think the fact that Wally connects with Dick Grayson, arguably the most recognizable character in this book, makes it easier to approach as a new reader.  I’m most familiar with this team through the Cartoon Network show that aired in the early 2000s, so it was nice to have some analogous characters in this issue as well– Lilith does a particularly fine Raven impression and I’m interested to know more about her past relationship with Wally as well as what the future might hold for the two of them.  I can’t say that I got a great sense of who the other members of the team were as people, but they’re all riffing off of more prolific heroes including Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman, so there is at least some base level of connection between the characters and the reader there.

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Ultimately, what really makes this issue such a standout one for me is how little plot there is compared to character development.  Granted, it’s all flashback work that gets us back to ground zero for the team, but Abnett gives us the opportunity to witness hugely humanizing moments between the heroes such as Wally and Donna Troy teaming up to play a trick on Roy Harper.  It’s these little two-panel moments that do most of the heavy lifting in this comic, and their inclusion makes me hopeful that Abnett and Booth understand this is what readers want more of.  While many of the Rebirth oneshots have pointed south, theirs clearly points north.

Now…the art.  You mentioned that Booth isn’t your favorite, Kyle.  I personally found most of it to be passable, but thought some of the anatomy was wonky– Wally looks like Elongated Man in that two page splash where he is surrounded by his teammates.  Was it moments like these that got your goat?

Kyle: Easily, between the angular faces, and overly-rendered color, this book is not what I would normally jump towards in my superhero reading. But again, there was nothing here that broke my interest. The momentum of the story was strong, Booth and Abnett kept things zipping along at a nice enough clip that my attention never flagged at any point. And well, I really like Wally’s new costume a lot, and that hug scene between the team got me right where it hurts.

It’s all in the little moments really. I’m a sucker, I know. And yes, Lilith is totally becoming the Raven replacement. Given how they tanked the actual Raven in the New 52, I’ll take it.

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What do you think about Dan Abnett’s second go in the post-Rebirth DCU? Buy?

Alex: Yes!  Titans: Rebirth #1 is not the most accessible Rebirth book, but it’s far friendlier than it appears at first glance.  While there’s no indication of what the story for this series will look like moving forward, Abnett seems to have a solid understanding of what makes a good story tick. Here’s hoping for more fond memories and some great new adventures!  And you, Kyle?

Kyle: A surprising buy, especially for the book that at its initial announcement, I had very little interest in. I gotta see what this team does next.


Stay tuned for our DC Reborn Roundup, featuring links to all the reviews and our overall thoughts on this week’s titles.

Comments

  1. Shawn Kane says

    Being a fan of the Perez/Wolfman New Teen Titans, I originally was disappointed when Titans Hunt was more about the original team. That mini won me over and this book is probably the one that I looked forward to most after the Superman books. I’m not a big Brett Booth fan but I don’t think that he’s a bad choice here. I have faith that Dan Abnett will continue to have me anticipating this book every month.

  2. Nathan Aaron says

    “Skottie, I’m a bit tired of your insults here. One more and you’re out for good.” – Where is a Like button when you need one!

  3. says

    As a longtime Teen Titans fans (a TOO-long-time reader) it’s fascinating to see all the on-ramps for a property like this. The cartoons, the Perez/Wolfman series, etc.
    I think the Filmation shorts sparked my interest in the old Nick Cardy comics – so long ago. Glad to see it still resonating with fans today.

  4. Carter says

    I’m more of a Wolfman/Perez-era Titans reader myself but I think the choice to go with the original Titans is a good one.

    First, it helps sell the back-to-basics concept. These characters are the core. Abnett really evoked the feeling of being in your early-20s where you spend all of your time with a tight-knit group of friends, doing random crap.

    Second, trying to put in the Wolfman characters would have been a real mess. The New-52 has not been kind to Starfire, Changeling, Raven, Cyborg, Jericho, etc. It’d be a monumental task to walk them back from where they are now.

  5. Spike says

    I wasn’t that impressed by the book. I thought it was the typical story of, hero mistakes other and fight only to end up friends after fight. Wally seemed to be able to “shock” them into remembering, but couldn’t with his wife? All a bit rushed and jammed into a single issue.
    MY biggest complaint is the annoying hat Roy wears. I can overlook it now, but in the flashback sequences, he’s wearing it. Why lord, why?. Is he going bald? The other thing that stuck out was the bright happy colors of their costumes in the past compared to the darker tones, dark blue, grey, black colors now Look forward to the younger Teen Titan book scheduled

  6. Rob S. says

    First things first: Nathan, I was looking for that “like” button too.

    What interests me in this current iteration of the Titans is that, while it’s using (some) different characters, I think in Titans Hunt and here, Abnett has done a lot to capture the tone of the Wolfman/Perez group. Long-time friends who have been through a lot and love and trust each other. They’ve seen action, fallen in and out love, and have a lot of history together. Whether it’s Cyborg and Starfire and Changeling or Lilith and Wally and Garth, that resonates.

  7. service295 says

    loved the writing , great premise , the art was just ok, still a good read

  8. AuldWolf says

    @Spike

    “Wally seemed to be able to “shock” them into remembering, but couldn’t with his wife?”

    The answer to this one is incredibly obvious. You’re comparing a non-corporeal Wally West that hadn’t integrated with the reality and was still struggling to overcome whatever terrible thing had been done to the speedforce, with a corporeal Wally West that has been integrated and seems to have gained the degree of control over the speedforce he used to have.

    In other words? In his non-corporeal state, unintegrated with reality, he was actually powerless to change anything. It took Barry, who has some measure of control over the speedforce, to actually undo whatever Dr. Manhattan had done to it and free Wally, since Barry was the only one able to do so.

    The speedforce, unshackled, seems rather annoyed at what’s happened to the Universe and seems very intent on making everyone remember — through Wally.

    Not hard to explain at all, really.

    “Why lord, why? Is he going bald?”

    Or it might just be his aesthetic. Never could understand the kind of person who’d dislike a character for their aesthetic. Bizarre. Just seems a touch shallow.

    “The other thing that stuck out was the bright happy colors of their costumes in the past compared to the darker tones (dark blue, grey, black colors) now.”

    That’s the effect of the New 52, isn’t it? The New 52 was absolutely dismal and colourless in many ways. It’d be jumping the gun a bit to just rush off with an assumption like that without waiting to see if they change up their ensemble a bit now that they remember.

  9. Aaron says

    Does anybody else like the picture of when the were Robin, Speedy, Aqualad ect ect. Thats the Teen Titans I want to see!

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