The fate of heaven and hell has a very different meaning in Mark Millar and Greg Capullo’s fantasy epic out this week. We delve into issue #4 to answer the question, is it good?
Rebirth #4 (Image Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
MILLAR & CAPULLO’s epic sci-fi fantasy story continues. Bonnie and Tom are chained and dragged to Black Wish Mountain, where they are confronted by a vengeful fi gure from the past. Will they escape to fi nd Harry, or be turned over to Lord Golgotha?
Why does this book matter?
Aside from Millar pumping out hit original and short format comic stories, this has Greg Capullo firing on all cylinders with the creativity juices flowing like never before. The art is so damn gorgeous it’s worth flipping through even if you despise this story (which you shouldn’t).
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It’s morphin time…I mean…
If you’ve been wishing for more action from this series you best start reading now because Millar and Capullo drop some major gore-splattering action in this one. The action leads to real consequences and high stakes – even though we’re in some kind of magical heaven – due to the loss of characters we seemingly believed would be around a lot longer. Aside from heads getting blasted open (see below) there’s some fantastic ice-shattering killing too.
The story itself has some direct conflicts that Millar has been building towards for a few issues and some major developments in regards to the bad guys. Once again, Millar is opening up this world with new and exciting details that make it feel very rich; you get the sense that we’re just gracing the edge of understanding this place as there’s more teasing and vague details (like name dropping locations such as Spider-City and Deadman’s Rainbow to name two) that give the story a mythical feel, along the lines of an ancient Greek poem ala the Iliad. He also continues to flesh out the protagonist by having her run into people she knew when she was alive. It makes you wonder if this series is building towards a massive twist yet to be even teased.
Speaking of conflicts, the villains in this issue are simply awesome and I mean that by the very definition of the word. From some kind of gorgeously evil robot woman to a giant monster thing to close the book there’s great detail put into the character designs; it’s the type of art that clearly had hours upon hours put in to make the villains feel more real and natural than you could hope. The design of say, Black Wish Mountain, is intriguing due to its likeness to a certain American symbol. At once, Millar and Capullo get your mind racing as to what it could mean symbolically and why we’re seeing something capable of such evil look this way.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The pace of this book still feels quite wonky. Breaking down into three scenes, the characters bounce around seemingly with no real purpose or direction save to entice with the set pieces. The action is certainly good, but the flow is off, making the experience more of a flickering nickelodeon than a seamless and well-transitioned film. It’s made worse with the cliffhanger, which is absolutely strange and downright confusing, as it has no real connection to what is going on in the main narrative. At least as far as we know at this point. The scene leading to the cliffhanger drops some much-needed explanation as far as the villains plans, but it’s too little too late and is so disconnected from the protagonist’s current journey it’s hard to care.
These guys are swiss cheese!
Is It Good?
Aside from its somewhat jarring narrative flow and the villains’ downright bizarre actions to end the book, Reborn is good fantasy comics. Millar and Capullo are fleshing out a fantastical realm that’s so rife with potential you’ll find yourself imagining your own stories in its highly original package.