DC Character Rehab – Dr. Johns Makes a Housecall To…Vibe! (Review of Vibe #1)

vibe #1Over the past several years, Geoff Johns has done the seemingly impossible in bringing to the forefront DC heroes of yesteryear long considered dead or better-off-dead.  Hal Jordan returned from death (and his gig as The Spectre) to take on the mantle of Green Lantern, Barry Allen returned from the Speed Force to become The Flash, and Aquaman overcame years of ridicule to become one of the baddest characters in comics today.  Now, Geoff has taken on seemingly the most difficult task of all…making Vibe a believable and relevant character in the New52.

For those who don’t recall (or don’t want to recall), Vibe was a member of the ill-fated Detroit Justice League,Justice_League_Detroit_003 a stereotyped character remembered more for his break dancing than his heroic exploits.  You can still see remnants of this aspect of Vibe in the DC Nation shorts shown on Saturdays during GL and Young Justice.  But, Geoff wanted THIS hero to return in the new Justice League of America – and to star in his own solo title as well.  How well does this work out?  It looks like Geoff has done it once again, and we may have another hit on our hands.

Vibe #1, which hit your LCS on Feb 20th, gives the new origin of this character and tweaks his power set to make him potentially the most important character in the multiverse.  Cisco Ramon is walking home with his brothers Armando and Dante when a boom tube appears, signaling the beginning of Darkseid’s invasion (as noted in the first story arc of the New52 Justice League).  Cisco is caught in the edges of this boom tube, and cannot seem to escape without the help of big brother Armando, who is in turn killed by a Parademon coming through the tube.  This experience gives Cisco the vibration-generating powers that we know from his last incarnation.  But, this Vibe also has the power to sense others who have crossed the dimensional borders to come into the New52 Earth.

Why does this matter?  It seems that because the invasion started in Detroit, the dimensional barriers appear to be weakest there and we now have inter-dimensionVibe 2al travelers coming through by the day.  A.R.G.U.S. is tracking these visitors (think Men In Black for dimensional  beings), and they are now recruiting Vibe to be an inter-dimensional border cop and founding member of the Justice League of America.  That’s a lot to put on someone who is still basically a kid – but that’s exactly what Vibe is now taking on.

Vibe #1 is very much a companion piece to another Johns project, Justice League of America #1, and the two titles will likely have a lot of interplay over at least the first story arcs.  The writing certainly lives up to the standards we’ve come to expect from Geoff Johns, and the artwork is exceptional throughout.  Vibe is co-written by Johns and Andrew Kreisburg, with Pete Woods and Sean Parsons handling pencils and inks and Brad Anderson on colors.

Just a note for those who love Easter Eggs – near the end of this issue there is a tour of “the Circus”, a holding area for inter-dimensional beings previously captured by A.R.G.U.S.  Among those pictured in cameo are Gypsy (another nod to the Detroit League), Pariah (from the original Crisis on Infinite Earths), and the “imaginary friend” from Wally West’s childhood who turned out to be the real inter-dimensional being Krakkl (seen in only three issues of The Flash pre-New52).  Whether these cameos are there simply for entertainment or sneak peeks for the future (perhaps in the upcoming Multiversity?) is just speculation for now…but it was very interesting to see.

SUMMARY: Vibe may have been a cheesy character in the pre-New52 days…but don’t let that fool you.  This new Vibe is exceptional – and Vibe #1 is more than worth the read!

Ed is a long-time comics collector, going back to the days when comics were only 12 cents. He reviews DC titles and a variety of Indie publishers here at TMStash.

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