Published on October 17th, 2016 | by Noel Thorne0
Reborn #1 Review
Nobody wants to die but when it’s time, it’s time, and for frail and elderly Bonnie Black, prone to strokes, her time is now. Except after she dies, she awakens. In a fantasy land. Young again. Wearing sci-fi clothing. Being shot at by a spaceship. And an army of monsters is after her. Wow, just like Jeebus said!
Mark Millar’s latest movie storyboard sees him paired with acclaimed Batman artist Greg Capullo for an unusual story of the afterlife in Reborn. And it’s kinda crap!
If you saw the Pixar movie Up you’ll know the first ten minutes is devastating – if you didn’t bawl your eyes out, you’re not human! I’ll wager Millar saw that movie too and noted its overwhelmingly positive response in people because he spends most of this first issue attempting, and failing, to recreate the same kind of emotional weight.
You know why it doesn’t work (at least for me)? I know this writer’s comics too well. I’ve read Millar for years – this guy’s all about brutality and shocking the reader, even coldly viewing rape as a plot device. Millar’s recent switch to an optimistic angle (like his last book, Huck) feels so contrived and calculating. Any other writer working this angle might have a chance at selling it better but not Millar.
Once we’re into the afterlife, things resemble a mashup of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings which feels derivative and silly, not to mention the cliché of our protagonist being the “Chosen One”! And the cloying sentiment of Bonnie being reunited with her dad – bleurgh! And of course everyone’s a very specific age – not too young, not too old, juuuust right! Contrived much?
I loved seeing Greg Capullo’s art again which looks as wonderful as ever. As corny as things in the afterlife are, he really shines when it comes to high-concept action – likely a result of drawing Batman and Spawn for years! And I loved the full-page visual of Bonnie being reborn with her transition drawn as a chandelier breaking into pieces and reforming into a person – so imaginative.
Reborn #1 looks terrific but the writing is cheesy and exploitatively sentimental. The story starts slowly and descends into what looks to be another low-quality Millar space-opera along the lines of Starlight. Millar fanboys are the only ones who’re gonna get something out of this nonsense.
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Greg Capullo
Colourist: FCO Plascencia