Page-by-page with <i>DC Universe: Rebirth</i>

I have some credit at my comics shoppe, so of course I had to get this! Join me under the cut!

As with many of my page-by-page posts, two things must be explained before you begin. I have not read this comic yet - this is a "live-blog" kind of situation, even though I may edit it later. I know about the BIG THING that happens in this (thanks, Internet!) and I know about the other BIG THING (thanks, Internet!), but I have no idea how they play out. This is just me, sitting at a computer, listening to some tunes (currently, James's Le Petit Mort), reacting to each page as it comes. So much fun! Second, because this is literally a page-by-page recount of what happens in this comic, I will SPOIL the shit out of it. I assume you're only reading if you don't care what happens or you've already read it and want to react with me. S'alright? S'alright. Let's do this thing! (Oh, yeah, you can probably expect lots of swearing in this post. I'm not wearing my "quasi-professional reviewer" hat for this post, I'm wearing my "irrational fanboy" hat. Deal with it.) (Oh, and I split the post up into three different pages. It's just that long! So be aware of that, too. So many things to be aware of!)

Page 1: NINE-PANEL GRID!!!! In the words of Travis Pelkie, "Portentous!" (It's true, he totally uses that word all the time. I never do.) The entire page shows a watch and its inner workings, with gears and shit like that. The time is 4.52 or thereabouts. I have no idea if that's significant. The narration boxes are yellow with red borders. Who could it be?!?!?!? Because the first creator listed on the cover is "Johns," you can probably assume the narration is about fathers and sons. Jesus, Geoff, we fucking get it. Apparently the narrator's uncle (ooh, swerve!) gave him a watch when he graduated from high school, which had belonged to his father, and his father, and back through generations. Every DC character's family came over on the Mayflower, don't you know, so they can trace their families back over hundreds of years instead of hitting a brick wall a century back when their families immigrated from Eastern Europe and had their names changed or some shit like that. Anyway, there was an inscription on the back that read "Every second is a gift," because the narrator's uncle was an optimist, as was the narrator. Until the watch broke and the narrator lost it. This was, apparently, so traumatic an event that it changed the narrator from an optimist to a pessimist. Really? I mean, it's a watch. A pretty crappy looking watch, from what we see of it in Panel 1. My wife got me a super-duper awesome Spider-Man watch some years ago, and I lost it, and it didn't ruin my life. DC characters are such drama queens. But wait! According to the narrator, he (it's always a "he") "lost time." "Everyone did," according to the final narration box on the page. Hmmm. I have a feeling we're not talking about a shitty watch anymore.

Pages 2-3: Jesus, there's a lot of narration on these pages. There's the typical long shot of the Earth in Panel 1, and then we zoom in to continents, and then a lightning bolt, and finally, in Panel 4, a city. On Page 3, we end up outside Wayne Manor and then, in the final panel on the page, inside the Batcave. A very clichéd way to get into the story, but it's a superhero comic that acts like a movie - originality is not really on the table. Anyway, the narration! The narrator loves the world, but there's "something missing." The narrator bemoans his lack of a good family growing up - his dad was to busy getting rich to worry about raising his son (maybe there were planes to catch and bills to pay, or something like that that would sound good over some wistful music), his mother was too busy worrying about what other people thought of her, and he had no siblings and no real friends. Then he met his hero and became a part of something bigger, which made his life just groovy. In case you can't guess, it was then "ripped away." So sad! Then the narrator stops spouting bullshit and gets down to the nitty-gritty - he's been lost outside reality before, but he was always able to get home because he had a chick. But now he can't find her, so he's been trying to find someone else, and he ends up ... in the Batcave? He thinks Bruce can help him. Bruce, as is his wont, is chillaxing in front of the tube, which is telling us that Superman has disappeared. Oh dear. I do hope he's okay.

Pages 4-5: Alfred is on some sort of communicator, telling Bats that the Joker is loose. Batman already knows, as he was already apprehended and is on his way to Arkham Asylum. Alfred is confused, because that means there are two Jokers. According to Batman, however, there are THREE MOTHERFUCKING JOKERS!!!!! "The chair" told Batman there were three, but he doesn't know what that means. It appears that the three Jokers are Dick Sprang Joker [I guess it's Jerry Robinson Joker, although to me, it looks more Sprang-ish], Brian Bolland Joker, and Greg Capullo Joker. Won't that be fun?

Meanwhile, the narrator is back to spouting crap about bats being able to see really well (why do superheroes always know trivia that relates directly to what is happening on the page?) and that's why Bruce might be able to "see" what's going on with the narrator. Um, the narrator knows that Bruce isn't really a fucking bat, right? According to the narrator, when Darkseid died, "reality flickered" and whatever was keeping him out didn't keep him out for an instant, and he was able to get back in, even though making contact might kill him. So a lightning bolt zaps through the cave and knocks Bats down. The narrator, I assume, shouts "Bruce!"

Page 6: Hey, a full-page splash of Wally West striking a dramatic pose! He says he's the fastest man alive but no one remembers him. He tells Bruce he needs his help.

Page 7: Bats thinks it's Barry, but Wally disabuses him of that notion. Bruce doesn't remember him, but Wally says he knows him, even though "we" are all younger than he would have remembered. Before he can spit out his name, however, he gets zapped by lightning and gets "reeled back" because the connection isn't strong enough. Damn.

Page 8: Wally is still not gone, so he gets to tell Bruce to remember the letter he got from his father (fucking fathers again!), which is how it all started, and that he should ask Barry about it. He narrates that if you tap into the speed force, there are dangers of getting sucked in too far, which kills your sense of self. So time "rips open" as Wally falls back into the speed force, and I don't think you'll be shocked to know we see the Waynes getting gunned down again. It's a comic with Batman in it - of course we have to be reminded how his parents died!!!! Apparently, when Wally falls back into the speed force, "reality from across existence spills out." O ... kay.

Page 9: Bats is alone in the cave, looking at the letter from his father, which is ... floating? in the air in front of him? Wally, meanwhile, is sad because Bruce couldn't save him, so he decides to warn his friends ... "before it's too late"! Dum-dum-dummmmmmm!!!!

Pages 10-12: So much narration! Wally says he relives his life, or, importantly, his "life as it was before the Flashpoint hit." Aunt Iris took him to Central City, where he met Barry Allen, got his powers in the exact same way that Barry did, and became Barry's sidekick. Did Barry "subconsciously" draw down the speed force to zap Wally? That kind of seems like a dick move, if true. I mean, let's douse this kid in chemicals and hit him with lightning in the hope that he won't, you know, die but instead get speed powers just because I'm, I don't know, bored? Lonely? Interested in fucking up some kid's life? Anyway ...

Wally digs being Flash Sidekick, and we see his friends in the Titans, but then the first Crisis happens, and Barry dies. So sad! Wally becomes the Flash, falls in love with Linda Park, and then gets all happy because Barry comes back to life. Yeah. There's a shitload of info-dumping in this comic so far. Damn.

Page 13: Anyway, Barry decides to fuck with the space-time continuum and save his mother's life, which he did, but in so doing, he created a "Flashpoint" - a "powerful and devastating 'butterfly effect" that "resulted in a complete rewriting of reality." Barry and Thomas Wayne saved the universe, which was nice of them, but "someone outside of time" was watching, and as history was "coming back together," this being attacked. According to Wally, as the time lines reformed, this being stole ten years from some heroes. "Bonds between them became weakened and erased" and heroes who had been experienced became beginners and their legacies erased. "A darkness from somewhere has infected us," narrates Wally, and he's the only one who knows about it. The layout of this page is pretty keen. Panels 3 and 5 are on the right side of the page, and a jagged lightning bolt rips across them, angling down to Panel 6, which is in the bottom tier in the lower left. A black hand reaches through the lightning and, in Panel 7, obscures almost the entire panel. It's neat.

Page 14: Wally falls through four panels until he's just a tiny dot, but does that stop him from narrating? Hells no!!!! He says that the Flashpoint didn't change the universe, someone else did, and he has to stop them before another attack. He just has to warn everyone! And with that, "Chapter 1: Lost" comes to an end. Oh dear.

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