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Comic Book / Reborn

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Written by Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Wanted and Nemesis) and drawn by Greg Capullo (Batman), Reborn is a Science Fantasy comic series from Image Comics revolving around a simple question: where do we go when we die? Not Heaven or Hell, but somewhere else where the war between good and evil wages for all eternity - the souls of the innocents, the noble and the righteous end up in the realm of Adystria, while the evil, the wicked and the damned are sent to the the Dark Lands. Our main protagonist is Bonnie Black, a very old widow living in a retirement home, who fears dying. She eventually passes away from a stroke and ends up in this afterlife world, much younger and dressed like a magical warrior. She reunites with her long-dead father Tom, who is a mighty warrior and defender from Adystria that saves her the moment she lands in this dimension, in the middle of a battle against the Dark Landers. He reveals that she is The Chosen One that will save this world from Lord Golgotha, the Dark Lands ruler who aims to conquer Adystria to heel before him and also has more sinister plans whom needs to be stopped at any cost.


The first volume is composed of 6 issues, published between 2016-2017, and is entitled "Book One". Not to be confused with the Reborn! (2004) manga and anime series. Or the fourth novel in The Adversary Cycle.

This comic contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Achilles in His Tent: Estelle has reincarnated as Queen of the Fairies and is an exceptionally powerful figure on Adystria's side, but unfortunately, she is indifferent to the conflict against Golgotha because she was an ardent Christian believer and is disillusioned to find out that there is no Heaven or Hell, but an afterlife unlike anything she had imagined. What else doesn't help was that her husband disappeared and she was unable to find him, leaving her a complete shut-in who is unwilling to help Bonnie when she asks for her help. She ends up saving Bonnie in the final battle against Golgotha.
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  • Action Dad: Tom is a brave warrior endowed with superhuman strength and serves as her loyal companion/mentor figure.
  • Adventures in Comaland: Bonnie turns out to be still alive and on life support, giving her a choice on whether to come back to Earth or stay in the afterlife.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: Bonnie's mother is nowhere to be seen, but she is heavily implied to have become a Dark Lander by Bonnie, who even believes she might have been turned into Golgotha, but this was proven to be wrong when he reveals to be someone else. Either way, it seems like her mother wasn't a good enough person to end up in Adystria.
  • Arcadia: Adystria, the afterlife region where all good people end up is a bountiful region of green forests and Crystal Spires and Togas.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Adystrians in general tend to look more pleasant than the Dark Landers. When Bonnie reincarnates in the afterlife, she is transformed from a plain 70s-year old woman into a hot 25-year old tall, blonde bombshell.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Exaggerated. The Big Bad keeps a literal dragon (with a lion head no less) as his lover.
  • Big Bad: Lord Golgotha, ruler of the Dark Lands whom Bonnie is prophesized to defeat and save Adystria from.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Bonnie defeats Golgotha and saves both Earth and Adystria at the expense of her mortal body being sacrificed so she could achieve full power to beat him. While she ends up being crowned queen at the end, she doesn't get reunited with her husband, who has married another woman and formed a new family with her, so she lets him join them and be happy.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Surprisingly for a Mark Millar work, this trope is played straight. Adystrians are Always Lawful Good while Dark Landers were Always Chaotic Evil. Those in the Gray area don't seem to make it to Aydstria or the Darklands and are...somewhere else.
  • Cats Are Mean: Bonnie's pet cat Frosty reincarnated as a feline humanoid and a servant to Lord Golgotha, and nurses a grudge against his former owner for neutering him as a kitten.
  • Cat/Dog Dichotomy: Two of Bonnie's pets have also reincarnated in the afterlife: Roy-Boy is a Heroic Dog while Frosty is a villainous humanoid cat.
  • The Chosen Zero: Bonnie is foretold to be the Queen of Adystria that will destroy Golgotha and save their realm. Unfortunately, she is not a experienced fighter and cannot control her special powers properly. This is because she is being kept on life-support on Earth and only after passing away completely does she gain full mastery of her powers and is able to become a proper Chosen One.
  • Cold Sniper: The Minnesota shooter was a spree killer responsible for murdering Bonnie's husband at the start of the series. While seeming like an inconsequential character, he is revealed to have been a psychotic monster whose only regret was not killing more innocents and that he was Golgotha's human form.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Arimathea gets turned into dust by Estelle without breaking a sweat.
    • After gaining access to her full power, Bonnie dispatches Golgotha in a single panel.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Harry Black is murdered by the Minnesota shooter in the opening pages of the comic and gets immediately transported to Adystria along with all the other victims. Then we immediately cut to his widow Bonnie reminiscing about her loved ones dying and is the comic's real protagonist.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Gender-inverted. Bonnie is driven to find and reunite her husband, only to discover he had re-married and formed a brand new family.
  • Disney Death: Roy-Boy seemingly dies after being pushed off a cliff by some Dark Landers. He shows up again alive and well when it’s revealed he fell into a river.
  • Downer Beginning: The comic starts with a Cold Sniper murdering people in cold-blood, one of them being Bonnie's husband as she reminisces about her loved ones' deaths and her now living in a retirement home. And then she dies of a stroke... Just before landing on a battlefield where mutants are fighting fantastic warriors wielding swords and guns.
  • The Dragon: Arimathea is not only a literal and figurative example to Golgotha, but also serves as his lover.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Lord Golgotha is introduced bathing in the blood of his victims. Also, the very first scene in the comic serves as one to him in retrospective, as he was the Minnesota shooter that murdered several people, including Harry Black.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The montage of the Minnesota shooter gunning down random civilians ends with said civilians waking up in Adystria, younger and rejuvenated to their prime, and told by an Adystrian to simply follow her lead in an incoming battle.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: Dark Landers are usually evil individuals that tend to reincarnate as cruel and twisted monsters in the afterlife. To compensate for their hideous looks, they tend to be stronger or possess supernatural powers.
  • Evil Overlord: Golgotha, the evil despot of the Dark Lands that has an army of twisted mutants and his beck and call and regularly assaults Adystria, seeking to conquer it and turn its inhabitants in his slaves.
  • Evil Plan: Golgotha built a portal allowing him and his forces to return to Earth where he intends to conquer it using their supernatural powers and high technology.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The setting contains knights with swords and futuristic guns fighting dragons and twisted mutants riding sky-ships.
  • I Choose to Stay: When it’s revealed that Bonnie has been on life support for most of the comic, she elects to die so she can save both worlds from Golgotha. When asked how she feels about it later, she says she feels much better in a rejuvenated body where she is the powerful queen of a fantasy world rather in the human world where she is trapped in a hospital waiting for death.
  • I Regret Nothing: Subverted. The Minnesota shooter who is revealed to be Lord Golgotha's mortal form filmed himself committing suicide right after his last killing spree. He tells the camera that he has only one regret: he didn't get to kill more people.
  • It's Personal:
    • Frost has a bone to pick with Bonnie: He used to be her pet cat that she neutered while he was still a kitten.
    • It’s revealed that Golgotha was the shooter that murdered Bonnie's husband Harry, making their beef much more personal.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Bonnie is ecstatic to be reunited with her husband Harry who is revealed to still be alive. Unfortunately, she finds out he had already married another woman and formed a new family with her. After defeating Golgotha, Bonnie brings him back to his newfound family wishing him all the best.
  • I Was Quite the Looker: Inverted. Bonnie is introduced in the story as a very aged 78-year old lady. After dying and ending up in the afterlife, she is rejuvenated to 25 years old.
  • Hell Is War: Not quite a Hell, but those who are sentenced to the Dark Lands are basically driven to war constantly against Adystrians in the underworld.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Bonnie's childhood puppy Roy-Boy also was transported to this world and became a massive Big Friendly Dog.
  • Horned Humanoid: Golgotha resembles a large, grey demon with horns, which gives him a demonic appearance.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: One of Golgotha's minions is a massive lion-headed dragon described as one of his many lovers, while Golgotha himself is a unusually large, but still humanoid figure.
  • Light Is Good: Bonnie appears in the afterlife wearing a white Spy Catsuit, and is the hero of the prophecy fated to kill the Big Bad.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Bonnie wears a white Spy Catsuit that hugs her figure very tightly and she is also subject to tons of Male Gaze in both covers and action scenes.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: This happens to Bonnie as she is dying of a stroke, remembering her most cherished memories from her parents, husband and children.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted in Issue #5 when Bonnie brings up the fact she had her first period in 30 years. It Makes Sense in Context since she died as an old woman, but due to reincarnating in a younger body she was able to have periods again.
  • Not Quite Dead: An important plot point: The reason why Bonnie doesn't have full access of her powers is because her body on Earth is still being kept alive by doctors fighting to save her. Its only when she is finally allowed to die, that she is capable of overcoming Golgotha and saving both Adystria and Earth.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Dark Landers are a borderline example of this trope, being formerly mortal denizens of the evil domain in the afterlife that were twisted into monstrous forms and are lead by a Satanic Archetype figure.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: They are evil monsters that dwell in the Dark Lands and serve the will of Golgotha. Their king Arimathea is exceptionally large, has the head of a lion and is said to be one of the dark lord's many lovers.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Benevolent creatures that dwell in Adystria and assist the heroes. They are the size of insects, but their queen has gigantic proportions.
  • Reincarnate in Another World: Any living being - both humans and animals - that have ever died reincarnates in this fantasy realm in a different form that they used to be in life (though they still retain their memories) and it’s random from person to person: Bonnie was a old woman before being transformed to a tall and buxom blonde, while her father Tom (who had an average normal build) first appeared in this world as a 3-year old before growing up into a hulking warrior, while evil individuals in general are often turned into twisted monsters and mutants. What happens to them after they die in this plane is unknown, but judging from Estelle's death in the final issue, it’s implied they reincarnate again in another life.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Bonnie is revered by the Adystrians as their Queen who will save them from Lord Golgotha. She is officially crowned one.
  • Science Fantasy: The setting is ostensably a Heroic Fantasy realm that features flying ships, guns and other advanced technology coexisting with fairies and magical creatures.
  • Spree Killer: The Minnesota shooter was a vicious spree killer who starts the series going on a final murder spree that kills eleven people including Bonnie Black's husband Harry. His one regret before he commits suicide is that he didn't manage to kill more people. Seemingly an inconsequential character in the narrative, it’s eventually revealed that he was the human form of Lord Golotha, his soul black enough to conquer the Dark Lands and rule over the damned.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Estelle, one of Bonnie's friends from the retirement home who had died a year before the story's events had also reincarnated in this world rejuvenated into a youthful beauty like Bonnie. The difference is that she is a 12-feet tall fairy queen instead of being small like the rest of her race.
  • Together in Death:
    • After being sent to Adystria, Bonnie hopes to be reunited in the afterlife with Harry. Unfortunately, she finds out that he had remarried between the time of his death and hers.
    • At the end of Book One, this happens to Estelle after dying from her injuries as she encounters her husband in the next life.
  • What You Are in the Dark: When she reunites with Estelle, Bonnie receives a rather cold shoulder from her former friend and leaves confused over what could've ruined their friendship. However, one of Estelle's subjects indirectly reveals that there were many times before this meeting where Estelle absolutely gushed about Bonnie.
  • X Meets Y: The comic is described by Millar as "a cross between The Lord of the Rings and Mad Max".