I’ve stayed away from the internet for the last few days, studiously avoiding comic news sites in order to avoid spoilers for Rebirth. Now that I have it, here’s my page by page thoughts as I read it – needless to say, this will include spoilers so if you haven’t read it in the last couple of days, you might want to run away now.
So I read the first page and then noticed the line telling me to read Justice League #50 with the end of the Darkseid War first. Did that – some bad guys win, some good guys lose and lots of seeds are planted for future stories.
Now, to Rebirth itself . . .
Page 1 – the watch recalls Jon Osterman/Dr Manhattan in Watchmen, but I wonder if it’s one of the Hourman characters narrating?
Page 2 – the talk of uncaring parents and an uncle, a legacy and power surely means this is Wally West, Kid Flash/Flash narrating.
Page 3 – the “lightning rod” is Linda, Wally’s wife – does she exist in the New 52? Is that why he can’t find her? There’s also a call back to the Lightning Saga storyline that brought Wally back years ago.
Page 4 – Batman’s talking about the revelation in Justice League #50 where the Mobius Chair told him that there were three Jokers.
Page 6 – and Wally’s back!
Page 7 – despite Wally’s hopes, Batman doesn’t remember him.
Page 8 – the letter he mentions was given to Batman by Flash after the events of Flashpoint which started the New 52.
Page 9 – if Batman can’t help, Wally turns to others.
Page 10 – a quick recap of Wally’s secret origin.
Page 11 – and from the origin, to the Titans, to Crisis on Infinite Earths and Barry’s death.
Page 12 – and then following Crisis, Wally met Linda and there were a bunch of speedsters before everything went wrong.
Page 13 – Flashpoint and the New 52 universe that grew out of it, all watched by a mysterious other who stole ten years from the universe. The big, black hand calls to mind the giant hand cradling the universe that was a recurring motif in the Green Lantern books years ago.
Page 14 – Wally reveals it wasn’t the Flashpoint that buggered everything up, but rather “someone else did” – that sounds a bit rich as Geoff Johns was the one who wrote Flashpoint . . . unless he’s blaming himself!
Page 15 – is this Jay Garrick, the original Flash? Max Mercury?
Page 16 – nope, with a mention of a “genie” and the man’s name being “Johnny”, this is obviously Johnny Thunder, and the genie is the Thunderbolt.
Page 17 – Johnny shouts “Cei-U”, the magic words that used to summon the Thunderbolt.
Pages 18 & 19 – the woman waiting for Superman is a member of the Legion of Superheroes (the Legion flight ring’s a giveaway) so it’s probably Saturn Girl.
Pages 20 to 24 – Ryan Choi was the Atom following Infinite Crisis before being callously killed just before the New 52, but here he is back as a student of Ray Palmer who is stuck in the microverse and wants Ryan to come and find him.
Pages 25 & 26 – Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes, both Blue Beetles, working together to try and understand the scarab that’s attached to Jaime’s back, a scarab that, according to Dr Fate, isn’t alien (as it was shown to be post-Infinite Crisis) but actually magical.
Page 27 – Damian Wayne as Robin at the top; Jessica Cruz as Green Lantern in the middle (she refers to Simon Baz as the Lantern who “carries a gun”); and the short-lived Aqualad from Brightest Day in the lower panels; and right down the bottom is Pandora.
Page 28 – Pandora, who ushered in the New 52 with great fanfare only to be case aside very soon after, is killed by an unseen foe.
Page 29 – this is Grail with the newly reborn/reformed Darkseid following the events of Justice League #50.
Pages 30 & 31 – Superman’s died? Again? This must be part of the last Superman storyline which I haven’t been following. It’s curious to see Captain Atom looking like he did pre-New 52 – last time I saw him he was all blue and on the moon.
Page 32 – Green Arrow and Black Canary were long time lovers pre-New 52 and Wally bemoans the loss of that here.
Page 33 – this is the pre-New 52 Superman and Lois Lane along with their son Jonathan who entered the New 52 universe post-Convergence. Is this meant to help new readers or not?!
Page 34 – no idea who this Mr Oz is or the things he’s hinting at.
Pages 35 & 36 – Aquaman proposes to Mera; in his current series, though, Mera had adopted a version of his outfit so it’s strange to see her back in the green one-piece.
Page 37 – and here’s Linda Park, Wally’s pre-New 52 wife.
Pages 38 to 41 – and despite Wally banking on Linda knowing him and being able to pull him from the Speed Force, she doesn’t know who he is.
Page 43 – is that Huntress with someone else in Gotham? And Constantine wants Swamp Thing to help him against “the capes”?
Page 44 – friends and enemies of Kid Flash: Captain Boomerang; Cyborg; Nightwing.
Page 45 – this is the New 52 Wally West, not a character I’m familiar with but he’s obviously a speedster.
Page 47 – Wally finds Barry Allen doing what he does best – saving people.
Pages 48 & 49 – Wally appearing to Barry and starting to disappear is reminiscent of Barry’s appearances in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Page 51 – yay! Barry remembers him!
Pages 52 to 54 – and a tearful reunion!
Page 56 – Wally tells Barry about Flashpoint and how there was someone else who caused the New 52.
Page 59 – Batman digs at something in the wall of the Batcave.
Page 60 – holy crap! If you don’t know the significance of the smiley face with the bloodstain, you’re probably about five years old. Shit – this means my mate was right when he mailed me the other day – it looks like the Watchmen are being brought into the DCU proper. And the last caption – “We’re being watched.”
Page 64 – okay, we’re on Mars, with a nine-panel grid and a watch that’s being remade by an unseen force . . .
Page 65 – and now it’s complete and the captions are quoting the last conversation between Ozymandias and Dr Manhattan from Watchmen where Manhattan tells him that “Nothing ever ends.”
Page 66 – and the final page is a clock with a yellow face, roman numerals from 9 to 12, the hands showing a quarter to twelve, and the bloodstain interestingly in the top right and spreading down to the centre, rather than the usual top left and down.
And that’s it, Rebirth is done – does this mean Dr Manhattan is the big bad guy who stole time from the heroes to weaken them? Is he being set up as the villain that’s manipulated time and the universe? He’s the only powered individual in the Watchmen universe.
And now that this is clear, looking back at it the killing of Pandora very closely mirrors the killing of Rorschach: