I’ll admit it, I’m more unfamiliar with Vixen than I am with any other DC character (except, you know, folks like Dream Girl or Scandal Savage or anyone who hasn’t had a TV show in the last decade.) I hoped this issue would be a good jumping on point for the character. See below for preview pages and a review of Justice League of America: Vixen Rebirth #1.
The issue definitely does a good job of establishing Vixen and her origin in just a few pages. We meet Mari McCabe, supermodel, celebrity, and philanthropist (an animal activist but lately helping children too) and find out how she became an orphan, which becomes important later when a young girl who’s mother disappeared accuses her of not actually caring about people.
What were you doing that was more important than MY MOM?
(This sounds mean, but I didn’t have much sympathy for the girl accusing her. It’s not that I think she’s wrong, but we met her very quickly and were immediately supposed to sympathize with her, and I’m just cynical enough that I can’t believe any celebrity would care about me or any of my problems, and even the best of them aren’t going to be able to save everybody. I don’t know, am I alone in thinking she was unrealistically naive? I’d probably think differently if it was my Mom. Or if I was, like, eight. But I digress.)
The plot is straightforward, with Mari learning about her powers and confronting this issue’s bad guy. It sets us up for what’s to come, and lets us know why saving someone’s mother was important to her. Like many of the Rebirth premiere issues, it’s a return to uncomplicated, classic storylines.
For the most part the art was gorgeous, Jamal Campbell doing both art and color, using some beautiful gradients and shadings, and highlighting a lot of vibrant reds and blues for Vixen’s transformation scenes (the overlays of the animals when she uses her powers were especially nice.) Some of the expressions start to get a little distorted when someone’s very emotional (I think partly the reason why I had trouble sympathizing with the girl is that her expression didn’t look exactly anguished, it was more two-year-old-super-tantrum) but that’s only occasionally, and he does an excellent job in the quieter scenes: for some reason I was really taken with the panel of Mari listening under the door in the dark as things go very badly for her Dad in the next room.
It was a nice introduction to the character, and I’m intrigued enough to want to see what happens next.