Publisher DC Comics
Writer Geoff Johns
Art Ethan Van Scriver
Colors Alex Sinclair
The art on this book is just outstanding. Ethan Van Scriver may take a lot of time drawing a page of art, but it is worth it when you realize the detail and effort he puts into every panel. His pictures at time just jump off the page. His strong realistic style and detailed line work give this book a feeling of weight and a gravitas that many books lack. It is a wonderful looking comic.
The story is where I’m having issues with this book. I have heard some fans complaining about the retro-con of Barry’s Dad being convicted of killing his mother, but that has not bothered me. In fact it is that kind of level of depth that Barry needed to be more then just a cardboard character. Granted many silver age heroes have been given flaws that were not needed, but so far this is just giving us an insight into Barry.
My favorite parts of the story are the background on Barry. We see him testifying, meeting Iris West and learning what his other lab partners think of Barry Allen before he became the Flash. I got a huge kick out of the small touch on why Barry wore a bow tie back in the day, it was nice to see Johns try and hit many major touchstones. I also enjoyed in the present how the JLA had fixed things to explain why Barry was back and Barry’s reaction to people doing things without even asking him. It was also a good move to have Barry discuss himself and his flaws as Barry is talking to both the comic audience and the people in the comic. It is not a true breaking of the fourth wall, but Johns is laying out to the fans that Barry as a memory was perhaps more then the actual man. In other words Barry has become a legend, but the legend is never the man.
Now I come to the problem I have with the book and that is the central mystery surrounding what is happening. It is dealing with a lot of Flash obscure material and as far as I’m concerned the “Black Flash” is something I don’t even remember and was obviously never captivated by the idea. I will give Johns some leeway to make this work, but obviously Barry who becomes the new “Black Flash” can not remain that way.
Bottom Line I give this issue a C. That is a hard grade on this book, but turning Barry into the Black Flash just felt dumb and using Savitar (another uninspired villain) and having gorillas do cave painting of the various Flashes is not working for me. Maybe it should be a B- or C+, but I try to use just the five letter grades for rating.