Reborn is an upcoming Netflix series, starring Sandra Bullock as Bonnie Black. Bonnie was in her 80s when she died, but then was resurrected in a magical land named Adystria. All the people she loves are in this land with her (as well as monsters and dragons) except for the one person she wants to be with most: her late husband. To find him, she goes on a hero quest befitting the best of any Dungeons & Dragons campaign. This series is directed by Chris McKay and is executive produced by Mark Millar and Greg Capullo, the creators of the original comic book this show is based on.
Chris McKay directed and edited Robot Chicken and Moral Orel for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming, and then directed Lego Batman. This means he knows how to balance action, character legacies and laughs. This is a good sign. Worried that he made nothing but comedy and a film for kids and Reborn might not be a serious enough endeavor? Let me point you to another unrelated McKay: Adam McKay worked on the likes of Saturday Night Live and Anchorman before he made The Big Short and Vice. Not saying Reborn is a shoe-in to be considered a masterpiece but if Sandra Bullock (who can pick her own projects any ‘ole way she wants to now) signs on, that’s a good sign that this project will be highly watchable.
Millarworld is an imprint Mark Millar started after he’d gotten cred from working on ‘widescreen comics’ of the late 90s and early 2000s, literally following up the man who coined the term, Warren Ellis, on the poster child of widescreen comics, The Authority. It was a well-received 12-issue run that got Millar the cred to work on Ultimates, a book that the modern Marvel movie universe takes many cues from, including Nick Fury looking quite a bit like Samuel L. Jackson. From there, Millar wrote Civil War, a classic crossover series that pit Captain America’s resistance against Tony Stark’s establishment. While it remained superhero fights it also traded in genuine opposing political viewpoints rather than straight-up rights and wrongs. Millar’s a smart writer who entered the industry as the legendary Grant Morrison’s co-writer/understudy. He knows how to make base jokes and punches have an importance at its root that resonates with readers.
It explains why he was so successful at getting artists when he began his savvy Millarworld line with artists. The best in the business joined with him to make comics that were geared towards easily becoming films or television shows (and that the artists shared 50/50 rights with him). Wanted, Kick-Ass, and Kingsman have already been turned into movies you’d probably remember.
Reborn was made in 2016 by Millar with artist Greg Capullo, who came up drawing X-Force and the like for Marvel. His major rise, and his finalized style, happened when he became the long-term artist on Spawn. It got him the job on Batman, where he and writer Scott Snyder wreaked havoc and awesomeness on the fandom since 2011, and Capullo solidified his elite status. Somehow, he was also able to draw Reborn in this time period. And it looks fantastic. It’s got a lot of his Spawn creature design skills on display, and it mixes sci-fi and fantasy stuff together in a believable way.
If McKay puts together a show that blends these styles as flawlessly as Capullo, and Sandra Bullock anchors her character in the humanity she embeds all her characters with, then this show will take us places yet never leave us unanchored. This can be a fun ride that we can believe in, and I’m looking forward to it.