Hey there, guys ‘n’ gals! PULP is back once again, ready to serve as Forte’s own little corner of capes, cowls and convoluted storylines that’d make a Trekkie blush. This week, I’ve picked up a truly satisfying fantasy romp written by comics maestro Mark Millar (Kick Ass, Wanted) and drawn by one of my favourite artists, Greg Capullo (Batman) – Reborn. Reborn is a really interesting take on the fantasy genre, and I found myself drawn into it very quickly. It’s also relatively new; Reborn was first published in October of last year, so assuming it does well (and I think it probably will), there’s plenty of space for growth.
Bonnie Black is an old woman, living out of a stroke ward in her local hospital. She’s lived a long life, but now her body is failing her. Her children have grown up, her grandchildren are getting older, and she’s lonely without her husband Harry, who was taken from her by a serial-killing sniper some years earlier. She’s scared to go to sleep at night; she’s afraid of dying, because she doesn’t believe in an afterlife, and fears what lies beyond. When she finally dies, however, she’s amazed at the truth; she awakes in a fantasy world as a 20-something, where two kingdoms are locked in perpetual combat. She’s even more amazed to be reunited with her deceased father and beloved pet dog, and to learn that she is the prophesized saviour of the kingdom of Adystria. Determined to be reunited with her husband, Bonnie sets out with her father and loyal dog Roy Boy to save the love of her life from the clutches of the dark lord Golgotha.
Boy oh boy, does Reborn have a slightly convoluted premise. That said, the end result is one hell of a story. I’ve been a fan of Millar’s for a while; I think I first read Wanted a few years ago, and really got on board with his over-the-top use of violence. Reborn seems to be a more mature effort; the story carries some real emotional weight – particularly with regards to family and grief – and ultimately comes off as more polished and well thought out than some of Millar’s previous ventures. Greg Capullo’s art plays a big part in portraying Bonnie’s adventures – his stellar world on Batman’s New 52 run is just a hint of his talent. Reborn allows Capullo to shine, and his art style works amazingly well in a fantasy setting.
Reborn manages to achieve something very few stories have managed to do in recent times – its first volume actually tells a complete story. There are a few unanswered questions left at the end of the volume – for example, the fate of Bonnie’s mother – but the vast majority of story threads are wrapped up while still allowing room for expansion. A lot of the stories I’ve read recently have focused more on ensured engagement over a long period of time, and while longer-form stories have their appeal, it’s becoming a pet peeve when I’m left with glaring questions at the end of a trade.
All things considered, Millar and Capullo have put together a fantasy story that’s combined some truly great artwork and a story that will draw you in to the Reborn universe and keep you there. If you like Fables or Birthright, Reborn will be right up your alley – make sure you check it out!
Written by Alastair McGibbon