Welcome to our group review for Justice League: Rebirth #1. This is that one-shot setting the stage for the new series that will continue apparently where Bryan Hitch left off. [su_quote]Sysnopsis: Get ready for talking and Starro! But like the Ultimate version of Starro because Bryan Hitch. Also will old Superman join new JL? You won't get that question answered, but it'll get asked a lot.[/su_quote]
Remember when Bryan Hitch's art was something special? When it defined an entire line of books? What happened? This book mostly looks good. Hitch's citys and civilians are par for the course and his Starro redesign is actually pretty cool and modern. Though I prefer the goofy ass one, this one matches his style. The Justice League all look like asshats. Flash stretches his legs impossibly far, to the point that he's not really running or looking like he's running, but instead lunging strangely. Aquaman's head changes proportions a lot and only once did they fit his body... the one time Hitch forgot to illustrate facial hair. Batman's face is a trace of Christian Bale's Batman which is the worst possible movie Batman to trace. Don't get me started on Lois, not only did she fail to look the same way twice, but she never looked like any version of Lois Lane ever. Basically while the backgrounds, cities and villain of the book looked really good, the Justice League looked like a deformed versions of the Ultimates.
As for the writing... why the fuck is Bryan Hitch writing this? The story is beyond generic. The opening feels like its been lifted from a hundred other Justice League stories and not in a good way. Not in a "yeah you're capturing the magic of the series way", but in a "haven't I read this word for word somewhere else?" kind of way. The jokes are terrible and aside from the forced references to the events that have happened in the shared universe, this book feels like it's in a bubble of it's own. What's worse is that it feels terribly dated. Each character practically takes a turn telling Starro hive mind to get off Earth and don't ya come back ya hear. Then there's the most positive news reporter ever giving us a recap of what we read and praising the Justice League who happened to dump thousand of infected civilians in New Jersey... because I guess we're not in Metropolis or something.
This book doesn't resemble or feel like anything that DC has done with Rebirth. I have not liked or loved all of the Rebirth titles, but I will say that up until this point they have felt similar. They have like the same universe. This feels like they wanted a Bryan Hitch book and so they just let him shit the bed and smiled as he did it. I may not love everything that DC is doing, but I at least liked they effort, I liked that they seemed like they cared about what they were doing rather than just trying to keep a popular artist that's clearly lost his knack for illustrating actual heroes and as a writer has no idea how to write for his own strengths. Simply put, Bryan Hitch isn't that fucking good anymore and shouldn't be allowed to run amok. Let him go back to writing his not movie Avengers/definitely the movie Avengers story at Image that no one liked. I will turn a blind eye to this series ever having happened and hope that it will be cancelled due to poor sales when readers open their fucking eyes to the mess that is this series.
Amidst a massive insect attacking the Earth, the alternative dimension Superman debates with his wife Lois whether he should intervene. Without a Superman, the Justice League can’t seem to beat the big beetle. Even with the assistance of the Green Lantern twins, the League doesn’t seem to have the needed firepower. Here’s where the opportunity for a critical reading comes in. Empathize with this version of Superman. In a different time and place, he fell to Doomsday. Having found the simple life with his family, this Superman knows full well that the moment he commits to the Justice League, he pledges himself fully to the cause. As the old adage states, you cannot put toothpaste back into the tube. This Superman realizes that his participation means a decision that cannot be undone. Put yourself into this character’s mindset and think about the risk. That’s a great, cathartic moment.
In the end, we know what Superman would do. The nature of his character has been so forged that there would be no fear of spoiling the ending of this comic. However, I will say that Superman’s aid against the insect Reaper felt minimal and insignificant. I did find that the way he saved the day could and should have been determined by another League member. What his actions do, though, prove that the League needs a Superman. Despite that one setback I feel that this Rebirth issue gives readers one of those moments that make the medium so rewarding. Delving into a character as he debates a major decision gives one food for thought. And that’s what good comics should do.
We still have Rebirth #1's coming out, and DC is shaking things up by making Aquaman the best new thing I've read from their line and Justice League the worst. What an exciting new direction! Never read anything written by superstar artist Bryan Hitch before and now feel like that was for the better. The characters are written like cardboard cutouts of themselves, the threat is comicly cliched and uninspired (as is the limp dick hyperbole thrown behind the threat), and not one word suggests a lick of insight into these characters developed from years of illustrating them.
When I was in my early twenties I swore by Bryan Hitch's art. The scale of The Ultimates 1 and 2 is still the pinnacle of theatrical blockbuster action art for me to this day and his largely forgotten run on Fantastic Four was a lesser but memorable joy. That said, something is definitely lacking in his art in Justice League, feeling weirdly rushed and small compared to his usual dominating hand of dazzling grandeur, especially considering the stature of the team. I will say I can't tell for sure if it's entirely just Hitch's line work or if it's obscured by the awful color job. Whatever flaws the art work itself has, they are intensified tenfold by the coloring, rushed looking and lacking subtly. In one panel, a straight line defines the edge between Clark Kent's hair and forehead, while the line art shows a completely different hairline above it. Throw some vague textures over certain surfaces and some mottled undefined shadows over your flats layer and you've got some unmistakably unacceptable color work for a book of this publishing level.
It looks bad, it drags the shittiest conflicts from other books into it as its dramatic fodder, and talks big while delivering nothing. I'd rather read anything else from DC right now. Or, you know, not even that.
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