In the comic book world, the industry is dominated by two big names: DC and Marvel. They practically defined the rules of the game and dominance of it has shifted back and forth between them for years. Since 2011, however, it has been the school of hard knocks for DC comics. While Marvel spurred forward by redefining the 616 to mirror the cinematic universe, DC's attempts at rebooting their universe have been very rough. Starting with the New 52 back in 2011, up until the horrific DC You back in 2015 it has not been a pleasant time to be a DC fan, but there does seem to be hope on horizon.
The New 52 was not terrible as far as reboots are concerned, however, it was met with a lot of mixed reception. Named for it's launch of 52 initial release titles, the New 52 had a very rough start. Within it's first year the New 52 had 52 titles end (this is not to say all initial 52 titles were cancelled, but that amidst several new titles that had been brought up and the initial 52, 52 titles were closed). It marked as one of the greatest failures in reboots in comic history. For the first time in over a decade in 2013, Marvel was beating Dc in comic sales and title subscriptions.
However, all that was good in the New 52 was dashed relentlessly by the DC YOU initiative. In an attempt to breath fresh life into their comics, DC started the YOU movement in hopes that by doing radical things (one of the complaints of the new 52 is that it was a rather soft reboot) that they would draw in readers. A superman without powers, Jim Gordon as batman in a Robotic Armor that allowed him to fight all crime, Wonder Woman as the new God of War. The DC You was supposed to push the edge, and it did in a way. DC comics title subscriptions for the trinity dropped to unheard of lows, even Batman suffered severely (Batman's title subscription was the lowest it's ever been). Across the board the DC you continued to disappoint: "Hey you wanted Batman Beyond? Awesome, but let's kill Terry McGinnis and replace him with Tim Drake," decisions like this plagued the DC You and within a year, DC announced a new initiative: REBIRTH.
REBIRTH is, I feel, the perfect title for this new launch. It is what both the company and the fans needed at this point, a fresh start. DC decided that it was time to go back to basics. Geoff Johns, chief creative mind at DC, had this to say about REBIRTH:
"For the DC Universe, it’s about more than just the heroes or villains we might not have seen in a while; it’s about the intrinsic values of what DC Comics and its universe stand for.
That’s epic storytelling.
That’s legacy and honoring the past, while moving it all to the future.
With a design team lead by Jim Lee (quite possibly the most iconic DC artist), the REBIRTH certainly grabbed the attention of the crowd. Curiosity peaked and the anticipation began.
DC REBIRTH #1 was released, and the issue did not disappoint. The issue mainly follows Wally West (pre NEW 52) who is stuck in the speed force trying to warn his friends of an incoming threat, trying to get them to remember him. However, upon failing with everyone else, he finds his old mentor Barry Allen, and thanks him for the life that Barry gave him as a hero. Right before he seemed like he would fade into the speed force, Barry grabs him by the hand, calls out his name and pulls him out of the doom. The issue ends spectacularly by Barry embracing Wally with him saying "How could I ever forget you," and Batman finding a Watchmen pin in the bat-cave. The DC REBIRTH was up to a stirring start.
Since that first issue people have continued to eagerly anticipate the rest of the event. Rebirth #1 titles hit the shelf first 2 weeks ago with: Green Arrow, Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern, all of which flew off the shelves. It was a glorious return to form, seeing these characters do what they have done best once more. It was DC comics as it should always have been, and the more titles that have been released since have continued to live up to that legacy of the return to the old. The Flash, Aqua Man, and Wonder Woman (the titles released last week) proved to be just as good, if not better than those that had preceded before it.
After 5 long years, DC has undergone its rebirth and the future does indeed look to be a bright one for the company. I strongly urge those who are interested to look into the Rebirth and check out their titles. I am going to end this article with a preview image from Superman #1 that is released today and that I will be downloading on my DC comics app as soon as it is available, it is one that I feel captures the spirit of the DC rebirth: