A new Justice League of America: Rebirth issue is here and it’s all about an orphan turned supermodel turned superhero Vixen. If you’re like me you don’t know much about the character, but given how strong Steve Orlando’s Atom Rebirth issue was, I aim to be enthused. Question is, is it good?
Justice League of America: Vixen Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
SPINNING OUT OF THE PAGES OF JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD! She’s one of the country’s most successful businesswomen, an iconic fashion pioneer, a crusader for social justice and an incredibly powerful member of the Justice League of America. But Mari McCabe’s life wasn’t always this way. Follow her path to becoming the heroic Vixen in this crucial special!
Why does this book matter?
This is co-written by Jody Houser and Steve Orlando, two very good writers indeed. Based on both their past works at DC, we’re in good hands. The art and color by Jamal Campbell means we’re in store for a very clean and digital look. Let’s do this!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Celeb model hero. Why isn’t there a movie like this yet?!
When I enter a Rebirth series I look for a few of the usual things (good art, good story) but most importantly I want to fall in love with the character. Vixen certainly offers a different take on heroism, as she’s a celebrity who is also from Africa, with animal abilities that are unique/different from those of say, Animal Man. This issue is well paced, cutting between a call to action in the now while revealing Vixen’s past via flashbacks. Orlando and Houser do a good job revealing the character via a talk show which supplies needed exposition and the call to action. This in turn naturally brings back memories for Vixen which help flesh out her whole deal. The events in this issue lead up to a moment not unlike Spider-Man’s reveal in Civil War though in a much more satisfying package.
The art by Campbell is top notch with plenty of detail paid to backgrounds and environments. There’s no skimping on details — which includes great coloring that gives impressive gloss to the clothes of the characters (and impressive shadows as well). The flashbacks, which are quite sad, have a blue hue that helps convey the past, but also the sad nature of the events. Vixen’s powers look out of this world, with a really cool root-like system conveying the animals she can tap into. The reveal of her powers comes in the way of a full page splash that’s incredible. The amount of animals on the page, cast in blue and red, is simply fantastic and is worthy of framing. When Vixen uses her powers, Campbell gives them a water like color and texture that helps convey what it is she’s doing. That’s important, because how her powers work isn’t an easy task to showcase visually I’m sure.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m going to take a guess here and say a lot of folks aren’t going to keep a straight face when Vixen uses her powers. She says an animal name (though it looks like she’s screaming it) and embodies it and it quite honestly is straight up silly. I’m sure there will be jokes made in this very series about it, but it’s Saturday morning cartoons silly which doesn’t jive too well with the more serious nature of the story.
Character wise, I’m still at a loss for who she is in the now. The flashbacks do a great job showing us what made her who she is, and we can guess how these events shaped her, but not enough is shown in the now to gather her personality. She wants to do good, and be a hero, but it’s still quite unclear what kind of person she is outside that.
Screaming will not get you anything!
Is It Good?
Aside from a rather ridiculous way of making her powers work I’m excited to see how the writers use her abilities in different situations. Justice League of America: Vixen Rebirth is a stand-up Rebirth issue that establishes many things well and should have many in line for more.