Review: The Flash Rebirth

Published on January 4th, 2011

Whenever you think of super heroes or comic books in general there’s always the same characters that initially come to mind: Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, The Hulk, etc. While he may not be in the top five superheroes of all time, he definitely belongs in the top ten, of course I am referring to The Flash. He’s just as iconic as any of the other super heroes I mentioned, but he just doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. There’s been talk for years about making a Flash movie, but it never seems to happen, he hasn’t even gotten a direct-to-DVD movie yet. Superman and Batman have like five a piece, but Flash can’t even get one of those. After reading Flash Rebirth I think I’ve figured out why, The Flash has the most confusing history of all time.

Flash Rebirth is written by Geoff Johns with pencils by Ethan Van Sciver, the goal for this six issue series was to do for Flash what Green Lantern Rebirth did for The Green Lantern, essentially bring back the Silver Age hero that everyone loves and put him back where he belongs.While I think the book accomplishes that, it didn’t do quite what it did for Green Lantern

flashrebirthThere’s some really great story telling in this book, it shows how hard it is for Barry Allen to return to the world from the living after being trapped in the Speed Force (which is a concept I have the hardest time wrapping my head around). Here’s a guy that sacrificed his life to save the entire universe, arguably the greatest act of heroism written in the DC Universe. Now all of a sudden he’s returned years later, and he’s got his own museum, and he’s getting a parade thrown in his honor. Everyone is incredibly happy to have him back, but he just doesn’t feel at home. While everyone knows him for being The Flash, he’s also Barry Allen who has to pick up his life from where he left off and pretend he’s been in the witness protection program for years. Barry tries to go back to his job as a forensic scientist, and he’s still trying to solve his mother’s murder, but nothing feels right.

Then we start to understand why he’s having trouble readjusting, the Speed Force is trying to bring him back. Then suddenly, Savitar, a villain speedster appears practically out of nowhere. Barry chases after him and when he catches up some sort of feedback happens when Barry touches him and the guy pretty much disintegrates, and every other speedster connected to the force experiences a severe amount of pain at the same moment. Later another similar incident occurs, but this time Barry is transformed into The Black Flash. So then we get the Justice League to try and help Barry and separate him from the Speed Force, unfortunately it doesn’t work and Barry is forced to run off in an attempt to rejoin the Speed Force to protect his family and friends.

When Flash re-enters the Speed Force we find out that it was Zoom (Reverse Flash) that’s been behind everything. He’s got his own Speed Force that is destroying The Flash’s Speed Force, and it was him who brought the Flash back to the land of the living basically so that he can get his ultimate revenge on Barry. And his revenge is pretty messed up. Apparently if used properly The Speed Force can be used for time travel, and Zoom has been going back in time and ruining Barry’s life. He pushed Barry down some stair when he was a kid so he would break his arm, he let Barry’s childhood dog out so it got hit by a car, and it turns out he’s the one that killed Barry’s mother and framed his father for the murder. Pretty twisted huh? So now his ultimate revenge is to go to the night Barry had his first date with Iris (his wife/emotional anchor) and kill her so that he would never know her. So Barry gets all the other Flashes together, and they chase back in time through the Speed Force to catch Zoom and stop him. With all The Flashes working together they are able to stop him and bring him back to the present so they can separate him from The Speed Force once and for all.

The book ends with Barry closing the case on his mother’s murder and officially taking his job back. He also returns to Iris and The Justice League and for the first time since he’s been back accepts his return.

I liked the book, but honestly while I like the character of The Flash, this is the first Flash book I have ever read. I thought this would be a good place to start, but I found myself having to check wikipedia to figure out a lot of the back story. I liked how all The Flashes were brought into this story, but I think it made the whole thing a little too much. The Speed Force is incredibly confusing to me as well, I just didn’t get how running super fast can make someone travel through time. I’m sure Stephen Hawking could explain the concept to me, but I wish they would have explained the concept a little bit more in the book. Honestly I think all this back-story is what turns people off of The Flash. It’s easy to take the character and throw him into an ensemble cast like The Justice League cartoon series, and make him the funny one, but when somebody goes from that to this, it’s just going to turn them away. I think Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver did a good job on this book, but it was written more for hardcore fans than anyone who’s trying to get into Flash for the first time. I will say it’s a good read and you can get the hardcover at Amazon for under fifteen bucks.

Ken Zeider
Ken@ComicImpact.com