Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Flash Rebirth #1 (of 5) – A Review

First off, it seems we have not had the response we hoped for with today’s April’s Fools post, but hopefully some people understood the joke.

Flash Rebirth #1 (of 5)
Publisher DC Comics
Release Date April 1, 2009
Cover Price $3.99
Writer Geoff Johns
Art Ethan Van Sciver
Colors Alex Sinclair

Flash is back, the Barry Allen Flash, not the Wally West Flash, not the Bart Allen Flash, not the Jay Garrick Flash, but Barry.

The over riding question I had going into this book is why Barry after almost 25 years and why would I care to see Barry whose story has been told. At the end of this issue I still do not have an answer to that question, but the foundation has been laid and it was a well done comic. It did not bowl me over with an enthusiastic reaction and part of that has to do with over hyping something. DC promoted this book like they have rarely promoted any book and it could never live up to expectations that were so over the top.

The story itself opens with a recreation of the accident that made Barry Allen the Flash, except this time it is a murdering psychopath who is being doused with chemicals and lighting. He has an obvious connection with the Flash and he says he brought Barry back.

Then we switch to reaction shots as Central City celebrates his return and Bart’s return as Kid Flash. We see the reactions from the bad guys to the good guys to the families. All reminiscing about what Barry means to them. This helps to set a status quo for Barry’s place within the DCU.

Then we have Barry and Hal getting together and talking over old times. Barry talks about all the same doubts readers have about why he is back. Barry further goes on to talk about the fact that the speed force is trying to pull him back. At the end of this segment Barry tells Hal to make his excuses but he has to run as he needs to find out why he is back.

Next we are given a light retro-con of what Barry considers to be the one mystery he has never solved and a heretofore unknown element that Barry’s father appears to have killed his mother is revealed.

The final part has Savitar jump out of Barry’s chest emblem escaping from the speed force. As Barry touches him he starts to disintegrate and die. We then see that the speed force is affecting anyone in the DCU connected to it and Barry wonders what is happening.

Of course more then what I recap happened, but that is the flow of this book.

The story was all about laying the groundwork for Barry and it did a good job from that standpoint. I guess it was too early to give us more of the reason for Barry being back, but I would have like to hit the ground running (pun intended) and filled in the blanks in other ways. This felt like a prologue, a very good prologue, but a prologue regardless.

The artwork was excellent. It both delights and annoys me with artists like Ethan Van Sciver, because his work is so good, but he obviously puts so much into every page, I’m worried this series will end up being delayed, but it is excellent work (especially since he apparently did pencils and inks). Ethan’s layouts are great; emotions of the characters are clearly displayed with both subtle and overt expressions, the level of detail is fantastic. In addition he is playing with how to show speed as Barry’s body elongates when he slips into super speed. As always when you see Alex Sinclair as the colorist, you know the art will just jump off the page. Alex is truly one of the best color artists in the business.

The bonus preview of Power Girl #1 was okay, but really not needed in this book and although the cover price was $4, we got 30 pages of the Flash.

GRADE B – A fantastic prologue bringing Barry back into the DCU, but it was only
a prologue.

1 comment:

  1. I had a lot of problems with this issue. Was it Lee that likened Johns to a serial killer? Whoever said it was right. Way too much blood, especially the flashback. Do we really need Barry to have this type of dysfunction in his family? I think that is a major retcon.

    I also didn't like that Bart was back before the end of Legion of 3 Worlds. Guess they couldn't wait another 6 months to have that story finish. What I really didn't like is that Bart seemed young again and his attitude was so poor. Where was the heroic guy fell at the hands of the rogues?

    The art was great and I'm certainly going to see the mini-series through to the end, but so far it's off to a disconcerting start. Maybe Barry will make all the other speeders would everyone like that?