Justice League: Rebirth #1 mainly consists of a battle between the Justice League and a giant louse. That’s right, a giant louse. Well, okay, a giant space louse that produces small versions of itself to take control of people by wrapping around their heads like the face huggers from Alien. And this is the flagship title for an entire line of comics seeking to revitalize DC’s literary universe.
I rather suspect that Bryan Hitch was not the first choice for this book. Although a widely popular artist, his work with the Justice League in the New 52 era was not a smashing success. Indeed, his storyline dealing with the Kryptonian god Rao was cut off by the coming of Rebirth and the remaining issues seem to have been cancelled, despite the defeat of Rao being referenced in the Superman books as one contributing factor in the death of the New 52 Superman. His appearance as both author and artist on this book bespeaks plans suddenly going awry.
The plot of this issue also has marks of hasty composition. As already said, the heart of the book is a fight with galactic vermin. However, it does also accomplish some housekeeping chores that are necessary for the ongoing direction of the DC universe. First of all, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, the new Green Lanterns for Earth, join the league, momentarily abandoning the Rage Crisis detailed in Green Lanterns. But, perhaps more importantly, Superman decides to actively throw in his lot with Earth’s defenders.
This, of course, is not the New 52 Superman, recently deceased. Rather it is Clark Kent from the pre-Flashpoint universe, a sojourner who has been living secretly in this new world with his wife and son. The league is not trustful of the new/old Superman, which is perfectly understandable all things considered. But when he flies into the giant louse to save them (they have boom-tubed into the vermin’s brain center to attack it from within), they find their suspicions overcome by the force of events.
For a book that features the Justice League teleporting into the brain of a gigantic galactic louse with telepathic powers, this isn't all that bad. If that is damning with faint praise, consider how hard it is to get any praise at all from a storyline like that. One suspects this will be the first of the REBIRTH titles to have a change in creative team.