By Mark Millar, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion and FCO Plascencia
Mark Millar, wisely, poaches the creative team from the successful Batman run by DC and Scott Snyder for his new series Reborn, now up to issue #4. It was a solid move by Millar and the combination of talent here has made for a must read book. By this fourth issue things have progressed nicely proving once again that Millar’s process from concept to final product is refined to a point where he can produce the ideal comic book story over and over. You can’t accuse Millar of being formulaic, but does this sort of saturation threaten originality or creativity? Doesn’t seem to. Even if a particular story isn’t your usual preference, you can’t deny it’s a well-crafted comic with enough entertainment value to keep you reading anyway.
Reborn is exactly that kind of comic. After a powerful first issue introduced readers to an afterlife where you not only reunite with loved ones, but also to a world full of fantastic adventures, the series has only gotten better. There’s more danger, chaos and personal responsibility than ever, but hey, you’re not dead! Millar creates a premise where amazing things can happen, although he thoughtfully took the time to show us a world we could relate to first. Since then, subsequent issues have been nothing short of high adventure and wonderful action sequences. The plot is substantial but the world building and character development are what makes this comic book work so well. However, Reborn is at it’s best when it slips into a shoot ‘em up story. If only because, even in an unfamiliar world where anything can happen, it’s a relief to know that pointing and shooting can still provide a way out of any predicament.
This is science-fiction-fantasy in the most literal sense, containing dragons, magical swords and giants, but also space ships, laser blasts and all manner of tech. The heroes seem to be in a constant state of crisis with more than one threat around each and every corner. It’s a tough, um, afterlife, although anything is better than the bleak alternative.
If the story and concept aren’t enough of a hook for you then don’t forget this is one of the best artistic collaborations in comics right now. Talk about a dialed process: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion and FCO Plascencia have got it figured out and then some. Capullo’s pencils are so good they scream “comic book art” while still pushing the very best aspects of the medium. Glorious two page spreads, perfectly timed cuts between expressive close-ups and sudden explosions, are the things we take for granted when done right. When done wrong it’s incredibly noticeable, but Capullo interprets scripts in a way that keeps the reader in mind and trains our eye to follow along flawlessly. If the comic itself happens between the creator and the page, then the comic experience takes place between the page and the reader.
Jonathan Glapion has his work cut out for him inking Capullos detailed pencils while retaining all of the necessary cues. Glapion consistently elevates the illustrations with a perfect balance in contrast and depth, which increase the drama and action alike. Colorist FCO Plascencia delivers layers of electrical texture in a book that is over the top in the most pleasing way. His ability to continually render the other artists work is what sells this world and the fantastic creatures within. Despite Reborn taking place in a world unfamiliar to us, the colors help to convey a certain appeal that readers will truly appreciate.
In short, this is a fine comic created by masters. There’s a lot to be said for an already successful team that doesn’t just rest on its laurels. Reborn is evidence enough for us that Millar and his various creators and titles have not settled for complacent name recognition. These books are not being created to simply dominate the new release rack or for quick sales. No, these books are being created for the purity of the art form, and seem to be as fun for the creators to make as they are for the readers to absorb. Reborn could very well be a success for that reason alone.