DC Rebirth – Week 34

Part of DC’s Rebirth has been dedicated to expanding and reintroducing second-tier characters from DC’s extended universe. Sometimes, like with the Blue Beetle and Harley Quinn Rebirth books, the results are less than exciting, but there are successes where an obscure (and seemingly excessive) character has a good story fashioned around that’s them worth following for a few issues.

After one Rebirth issue, I’d say Vixen is somewhere in between.

Steve Orlando and Jody Houser’s prologue to Vixen’s introduction within the new Justice League of America, rehashes old super hero tropes, particularly the origin of Mari McCabe, the alter-ego of the titular hero, whose mission of justice stems once again from childhood trauma and loss. Her not-so-secret identity as a celebrity model and activist distinguishes her only slightly from other millionaire heroes, but unlike Bruce Wayne or Oliver Queen, Mari McCabe is obviously a woman, and a woman of color to boot. Orlando and Houser spin a kidnapping yarn around the central premise that as a female of color in the world of super heroics, Vixen has not had much of a presence. This opening issue doesn’t have a lot of meat, but it does a good job of reintroducing Vixen to new and old fans of the DC universe. The writing team is obviously trying to contribute to the increase of representation within comics, but whether or not Vixen can stand out in a JLA team book is another story.

What’s definitely helping the cause is the fantastic art work of Jamal Campbell. The character designs in this book feel modern, and the tropical color palette adds a lot of personality. My favorite thing about this book is how Campbell draws the manifestation of Vixen’s powers. Animal spirits that look like they’re made of a ghostly liquid wrap themselves around Vixen, emerging from her form. There are a lot of cool panels with Vixen posing, and even one juxtaposing her powers to The Red, the source of Animal Man’s power, which is a cool reference. So, though I wouldn’t call this book amazing, there is plenty to like about it, and I think the potential art definitely justifies putting Vixen within one of DC’s biggest titles.

Marvel NOW! Week 15
More cosmic comic book goodness in Marvel’s latest NOW! initiative, this time coming from one of the company’s best books over the last few years. This week gives us a fresh storyline kickoff in Aaron & Dauterman’s The Mighty Thor #15, and it’s the first chapter in “The Asgard/Shi’ar War.” This may not be an ideal jumping-on point for new readers, which is sometimes what we look for in these seasonal publishing initiatives, but anyone unfamiliar with the Thors – both the worthy and unworthy varieties – or the Imperial Guard, should nonetheless do him or herself a favor and dive in. Highly recommended. – MMDG

January 4 | New Release Highlights | January 18