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|Directed by||Jeff Shuter|
|Produced by||Jeff Shuter|
|Written by||James Wan|
R. Eric Lieb
|Music by||Jeff Shuter|
|Editing by||Jeff Shuter|
|Distributed by||IDW Publishing|
|Release Date||October 25, 2005|
The comic book is a prequel to Saw, as well as the entire series. It delves into the origins of the tortured John Kramer and his sinister alter-ego, Jigsaw. Also, it fleshes out Jigsaw's past and motivations, and answers some unexplained questions from the first film such as how he knew all his victims and how a dying old man could concoct such elaborate traps. Saw: Rebirth was remade around the release of Saw V with a new animation style to supplement the previous and slight edits.
The beginning of the comic focuses on John's life before he received the knowledge that he had cancer. He is somewhat of a weak and insecure man, living a rather boring life and working at a toy factory. "When it came to taking action... well... there was always tomorrow." He realizes there is more to life, he is just too lazy to grab it. Later on, his wife Jill Tuck leaves him due to his fear of commitment.
Years go by, and suddenly John is overcome with an illness. "Every night I'd come home and puke my guts out. Every day I'd wake up feeling a little bit weaker." It gets worse to the point that John visits a doctor, Dr. Lawrence Gordon, and is told that he has cancer, and that he will probably die.
Depressed at wasting his life and finding out he has little left, he meets a disgruntled orderly (Zep Hindle, from Saw) who shows him around the hospital. "Now that my own life was slipping away, I paid closer attention to the lives of others." He sees different people who he believes have wasted and/or abused their lives; a con artist (Mark Wilson from Saw), a young woman who overdosed on heroin (Amanda Young, who would become his future apprentice), and most shocking of all, a coworker with 'the works' - a decent job, wife, kids - overall, a good life (Paul Leahy from Saw), who attempted suicide by slashing his wrists. In the first Saw film John suspected that Paul was merely yearning for attention.
Deciding he had enough, John tries to commit suicide by driving his car off a cliff, but manages to survive. Because of this, he accepts his fate. Considering people undeserving and unappreciative of the life being denied him, he is "reborn" and begins his mission to make people appreciate their life and realize how fleeting and precious life truly is. "I discarded sleep, neglected meals, there was time only for my task, what I'd already come to think of as my mission." He absorbs himself in research, tests and refining to create devices to test people's lives based on their discretion.
The comic ends with John contemplating on how now he will make a difference, one person at a time.
Connections with the films
The comic fit neatly into the first three films' storyline and explained many unanswered questions. It was discovered that John worked in a toy division, from where he may have acquired his sinister puppet, Billy. It was also discovered how he was familiar with all of his subjects from the first film. It was revealed that John's loss of hair from the first film is not due to chemotherapy but rather him shaving his hair. John was also viewed doing all the research and experiments for his subjects, something that many had found hard to believe prior. Rebirth also marked the first appearance of Jill Tuck, John's former wife, who later appeared in Saw III , Saw IV , and Saw V. (Betsy Russell, who was cast as Jill after the comic came out, bears little resemblance to her character in the comic.)
Writer Leigh Whannell said on the commentary track for Saw II that the scene of John shaving off his hair in Rebirth was originally in the script, and that it was supposed to symbolize his transformation into Jigsaw, but the producers cut it out.
However, Saw IV's backstory on Jigsaw contradicts the one in Rebirth. Here, John Kramer is not a toy designer but a successful civil engineer and devoted husband to his wife Jill, who ran a recovery clinic for drug users. However, a robbery and assault from one of the clinic's patients resulted in the loss of her unborn child, leading John to become detached and angry, which ultimately resulted in the divorce of the couple.
In the remake, Saw: Rebirth has a new animation style to supplement its previous and several scenes removed or altered. The remake does not show that John's girlfriend Jill Tuck left him, instead suggesting it, nor does it show John's attempted suicide. Instead of Zep the orderly showing John around the hospital, John himself walks around and examines the patients.