In June, DC Comics kicked off the start of its Rebirth initiative. After a wave of criticism surrounding the way they have treated their characters’ rich histories since 2011’s New 52 relaunch, DC has decided to rebrand. They hope that by restoring their characters’ pasts, they will restore readers’ faith in them as well. Do they succeed? That’s what the Comics Beat managing editor Alex Lu and entertainment editor Kyle Pinion are here to discuss. Book by book. Panel by panel.
Welcome to month three of DC Reborn!
Note: the review below contains **spoilers**. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on this book, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdict.
Supergirl: Rebirth #1
Writer: Steve Orlando
Penciller: Emanuela Lupacchino
Inker: Ray McCarthy
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Kyle Pinion: Happy New Comic Book Day Alex! I hope your few days off were as action-packed as mine. I did a little traveling for work, went to Nashville for the first time ever, and then came back and played tons of No Man’s Sky. But man, I did have enough time to read a little bit of DC Rebirth, including the issue I was most excited to dig into, Steve Orlando’s first-go with Kara in Supergirl: Rebirth. If I remember right, you were a big fan of Midnighter, yes?
Alex Lu: I was! I really enjoyed Steve Orlando’s and FCO’s take on the character. In particular, what drew me to the story was how seamlessly it mixed visually intriguing action sequences with moments from Midnighter’s complex personal life. His relationships with his lovers were just as important as his relationship with The Gardener. The book particularly stood out in the era of pre-Rebirth DC Comics where there was a much heavier emphasis placed on the action side of most stories to the neglect of their more human cores. I had high expectations that we’d see Orlando strike a similar balance in Supergirl: Rebirth #1 as he did in Midnighter. Would you say he succeeded here, Kyle?
Kyle: I would say so. I echo your sentiments about Orlando’s strengths as a writer, and I think a good deal of those positives pop up in this initial issue, particularly when dealing with the interpersonal relationship present between both Kara and her adoptive parents. One of Orlando’s great gifts is that he has a knack for vernacular and a natural, breezy approach to conversation. Even when he has to force in some tougher exposition that has to explain away the new status quo for Kara and how it shifts from the New 52 iteration of the character, it mostly works due to the strengths inherent in Orlando’s scripting style. With that said, there’s a tiny bump or two in the road, as whenever it turns its focus to action it never quite gels together as well as the quieter moments that surround it. I think this is particularly prevalent in the big slug-fest between Kara and Lar-On (a Kryptonian Werewolf, how cool is that?), which is hamstrung a tad by the need to converse and relay shared experience and ends up making those small moments stiffer than they really should be. But I think it’s a good issue, just somewhat stuck in the need to be a prologue to the “real” run, like they all do, blah blah blah, did you enjoy it?
Anyways, that’s my perspective as a newbie. I think Supergirl: Rebirth #1 has a baseline, but I dunno Kyle– do you feel like Kara is missing some connective tissue here? Would you rather have that built into the series or see it built up over time?
Also, it’s hard for me to not get really excited about the arrival of Cyborg Superman, who is absolutely my favorite Superman bad guy of all time. The usage of the Tony Bedard written New 52 origin as a backing for this character makes sense, and will surely provide some sense of parental drama when her two households collide, as it looks like good old Zor-El has (maybe?) resurrected his wife/Kara’s mother for her own cyborg-ness? (I’m assuming, it’s probably more likely he’s resurrecting all of Argo City) Please don’t ask me why Zor-El is a Cyborg Superman, as I definitely do not remember those events at all. Villains Month was a big blur, okay?
We haven’t talked about the art yet. It sounds like we’re on a bit of a divided train of thought with the writing and overall presentation of the issue, but how much did the art affect your enjoyment and perhaps that’s the major culprit or am I assuming too much?
I certainly think Lupacchino’s art has its moments. The book looks quite polished most of the time and polish goes a long way towards pleasing an audience. However, underneath Supergirl: Rebirth #1’s veneer, I feel like there are some pretty big, lupine scratches. Would you agree, Kyle?
I’m still excited to see what Brian Ching contributes as a counterpoint to Lupacchino’s more pin-up influenced style.
Really, I think there’s a lot of fun potential here to be had, just as always, the prologue nature, and the tremendous heavy-lifting that Orlando has to do to get Kara over to this new evolution of the character stall it slightly, but what’s new with a Rebirth issue? If it ain’t Deathstroke, they all have that same problem. Overall, this was fun, and I’m still very jazzed about Orlando (one of DC’s *best* writers) doing something really awesome with Kara, especially if the Silver Age vibe I’m getting continues to grow – something that has sorely been lacking in the Superfamily line for some time. I think it’s an issue worth buying, but maybe you’re less generous with your comic dollar than I am, Alex?
Alex: I certainly think this book is at least worth a look. There are some critical metrics Supergirl: Rebirth #1 doesn’t successfully pass the bar on, but on a pure metric of enjoyment I think I got my money’s worth. I’d say this book is a browse.
Final Verdict: Kyle recommends a buy, Alex recommends a browse