‘The Flash: Rebirth’, A Review. Or, ‘Damn that boy run fast, what he hiding?’

How many times can The Reverse Flash actually mess with Barry’s legos? The answer is indefinitely.

Admittedly, I’m little bit obsessed with The Flash at the moment. I bought a ‘baseball’ cap with his shield on. I’ve delved into the comics at what I’m told is a good in point, and I’ve religiously watched the CW show starting Grant Gustin. Actually I wrote a little piece about that and the Green Arrow adaptation ‘Arrow’ a little while ago (PLUG). Fair warning, this review will feature spoilers.

The Flash Rebirth is the first comic book I’ve A) ever owned. B) ever read. So The Flash has the dual ownership of introducing me to comics and a new monetary sink hole.

Written by Geoff Jones and illustrated by Ethan Van Sciver, Rebirth is a pretty intense read. So intense in fact, that MTV SPLASH PAGE dubbed the graphic novel: “Impressive”.

The book is beautiful in its art, and thought-provoking in its narrative. And, if I’m completely honest, I don’t think I’ll ever tire of Jay Garrak throwing his hat like a metal rimmed frisbee of pain. The old timer’s got a mighty fine throwin’ arm.

The plot: Barry Allan is back from the dead. Like many a costume-clad hero before him, Barry has managed to seduce Death into being more relaxed around him. One day, Death left the gate unlocked whilst he was out running chores, and Barry–the naughty little Red Devil that he is–high tailed outt’a there like only a speedster can. That’s how I imagine it happened, anyway. The comic tells us otherwise. Absorbed into the Speed force, Barry had lost all track of his individuality (I didn’t know the Speed force was actually the Borg, but oh well), until a mysterious villain drags him back to the world of the living for some dark, ominous purpose…It’s The Reverse Flash. I don’t know why they even tried to hide it, it’s so obvious.

Now back in the world of the living, Barry faces his biggest challenge yet: the Costume Kerfuffle! See, Wally West had assumed the mantle of The Flash in Barry’s absence (the presumptuous little so-and-so), and now both men have equal rights to the coveted red cowl. Barry’s solution? Become The Black Flash and officially begin the tenth annual Speeder Games! Completely against his will, obviously. The Reverse Flash, criminal mastermind that he is, reveals his entire genius to Barry in a showdown inside the Speed force.

Eobard Thawne (aka The Reverse Flash) was behind bringing Barry back from the dead. He ran fast enough to generate his own Reverse Speed force and contaminated Barry. Turning him into a weapon to be used against his family and friends. Why? It’s simple really: Eobard Thawne is completely insane. Not content with Barry Allen being legitimately dead, Thawne devised his master plan simply so he could make Barry kill his loved ones with a single touch, and live out the rest of his days as a guilt ridden monster, his legacy destroyed, himself a wreck of a man.

It didn’t quite go down as Thawne had hoped though. Barry sacrifices himself again and the two have a face off inside the Speed force. But soon the fight takes them back to Earth were Jay Garrak, Bart Allen, Max Mercury, Jesse Quick, and Iris West (aka Impulse) have all gathered to watch Wally and Barry finally solve their costume war. Wally’s new threads are a darker, maroon red. His gold lighting bolts are glossy finished. His eyes are white and his nose is covered by his mask. Barry accepts these changes gracefully, donning the classic brighter red suit and yellow lighting bolts for himself. The world rejoices as the bloodiest conflict in recent years is finally at a conclusion. Celebrations are had, the universe is finally at peace. And then all the assembled Speeders join together to beat The Reverse Flash or something like that. It’s all fine.

I found Rebirth to be a fantastic point to join The Flash locomotive. You’re being introduced to a world that’s obviously already in full swing (there’s a comment from Superman about them losing Batman somehow, which shows there’s some major background here), but because we’re following Barry Allen, a man whose been dead for the last twenty-three years, it doesn’t matter that there’s some story we’re missing. We know as much as the perspective character, and that’s all we need.

The story (summarised perfectly above) is gripping in all the right ways. As a first time comic book reader, I did have to get used to the format, but once I was in full swing it was an easy read. My only gripe is the sheer volume of characters involved. Many of whom I didn’t know existed. But, this wasn’t written for the intention of giving new people like myself a place to start (I assume). So Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver have used a wide arsenal of Speeders, heroes and villains alike.

It’s colourful and it’s vivid, but it’s also dark in places. Johnny Quick’s death was particularly harrowing.

All in all: comic good.

* * *

The Flash is a DC Comics Superhero known for his ability to run hella fast. His inception is accredited to Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert, but many different characters have been donned The Flash’s mantle over the character’s mammoth seventy-five year run.

The Flash: Rebirth was written by Geoff Johns & illustrated by Ethan Van Sciver.

Here’s a link to the comic on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Flash-Rebirth-Geoff-Johns/dp/1401230016

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