Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Greg Capullo
Inker: Jonathan Glapion
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Letterer: Nate Piekos
Publisher: Image Comics
A review by Stephanie Pouliotte
In Reborn #2 Bonnie Black discovers that Heaven has a name and it’s Adystria. A lush and vibrant fantasy realm, Adystria is where those who were good in life are reborn again and rewarded accordingly with strength and abilities. Having lived an honest and pure life, Bonnie is heralded as their saviour… because with light, so must there be darkness. The people of Adystria are locked in an endless war with Lord Golgotha, the leader of the Dark Lands where bad souls are reborn in hatred. But even with this looming threat, Bonnie is determined to search for her long lost husband, Harry, before she takes up the hero’s mantle.
Reborn #2 is largely table setting, spiced with a bit of action in the latter half. Millar spends the opening explaining the scope of his epic fantasy world as Bonnie is introduced to the other inhabitants of the afterlife. He’s really come up with some interesting concepts for the inner workings of this mysterious realm, but in this issue Millar divulges just enough to get us oriented. I’m not a huge fan of exposition, so the first half was a bit flat to my taste, even though we were getting some necessary information. Frankly, I was also a bit underwhelmed by Bonnie’s character, but I chalk that up to taking a backseat to some expository dialogue early on.
You don’t get much of a sense of who she is now that she’s been reborn as a young woman, the Chosen One among the righteous. The frightened old woman she was in life is gone, but who remains? Beyond “she’s a really swell person” we don’t really find out much about her, but that’s sure to change as she encounters more people from her past on her quest through the afterlife.
In this issue she meets the Fairy Queen, who turns out to be her best friend Estelle (whose death is touched upon in the first issue.) She was so pious in life that Estelle was reborn in Adystria as a near godlike figure. But she wasn’t able to accept that everything she believed on Earth had been a lie, and so she’s turned her back on the plight of others. Even though the only thing we learn about Bonnie in this exchange is that she wants to help other people, it was interesting to see her confronted with the idea that someone she once called a friend could be reborn a stranger.
This is sure to be a recurring theme; I expect many of the people she meets along the way won’t be who she thought they were. She may not end up recognizing her own husband, who she’s searching for with the help of her childhood dog Roy Boy and her father Big Tom. When asked why Roy Boy couldn’t track down Bonnie’s mother, Big Tom says that some things are best not to think about, leaving the story open to some dark possibilities. I mean, what if their loved ones were reborn in the darkness?
Capullo’s detailed artwork is definitely the highlight of this issue. With Glapion’s inking and Plascencia’s bright colours, this artistic team makes the lush vibrancy of Adystria lift from the page. I did feel that Bonnie’s quirky facial expressions were a bit exaggerated in some panels, but overall Capullo is delivering some really stellar visuals, especially when they travel to the fairy’s forest. In the final pages, Capullo finds himself in familiar territory, as the tone shifts and the reader is shown their first real glimpse into the Dark Lands. Not only do we meet the demonic Lord Golgotha, but he’s joined by an unlikely individual from Bonnie’s past. I’m really looking forward to seeing what other manner of creatures this master of all things monstrous has up his sleeve!
Check it out! Reborn #2 does a decent job of filling you in on the story world while keeping you intrigued, but the climb is a bit steep in the first half. Millar shows us what this epic fantasy has to offer and there’s a lot of creative potential. Capullo continues to flex his muscles in a new genre, delivering some rich and stunning spreads that will no doubt get even better as the series goes on. Even if this issue didn’t have me on the edge of my seat, I’m still expecting Reborn to be a wild ride.