Retro Review: The Flash: Rebirth

Writer: Geoff Johns

Artist: Ethan Van Sciver

Collects The Flash: Rebirth #1-6

As we revisit another modern classic from DC with “Rebirth” in the title, I must first make a confession: I, personally, had not read this particular story until now. Yes, I’ve always meant to get around to it and I’m very glad that I finally had the opportunity to do so. Much like Green Lantern: Rebirth, this is not only a fine read, but also a terrific primer on its titular character.

If you’re expecting to read a tale chronicling Barry Allen’s return to the land of the living you won’t get that here; that took place in Final Crisis, another title that gets a high recommendation from me. This story is more so about Barry reconnecting with the world and reintroducing many familiar concepts that one would expect from the Scarlet Speedster’s corner of the DC Universe. You will see what he means to other speedsters, superheroes, his family, the Central City Police Department, and to his city as a whole. Geoff Johns doesn’t fail to put a single aspect of this character under the microscope and his great love for all things Flash is unabashedly on full display.

Much like the aforementioned Green Lantern: Rebirth, this book is penciled by the one and only Ethan Van Sciver, whose artwork is nothing short of majestic. You should also expect to see A LOT of red and yellow. The good thing is that Brian Miller of Hi-Fi and Alex Sinclair not only make it work, but add an extreme sense of vibrancy to the colors.

No great superhero story is without conflict and I love how each bit of strife in this book smoothly segues into another. First you have Barry seemingly killing each speedster he touches before becoming the new Black Flash; his journey back is emotional and provides an organic reason for him to race Superman (why not play with whatever toys you have available?).  This then leads to a brilliant pseudo-scientific reason for the Reverse Flash’s return as well as detailing how he and Barry are inextricably linked.

Another point of interest is that this happens to be the story that revealed Eobard Thawne killed Barry’s mother as well as being responsible for other great misfortunes in his life. It made me sit back and say to myself, “This is one evil guy.”

The finale itself is one that only a Flash story – and one written by Geoff Johns, at that – can deliver. Let it also be known that the foundation for Flashpoint was laid here.

Supplemental material includes a foreword by Matt Cherniss, Geoff Johns’ story proposal, and an Ethan Van Sciver sketch gallery complete with commentary. It’s good stuff.

I advise that you pick this up not only because it’s a definitive Flash story, but also because you can see the great influence it’s had on the TV series. You should also look deeper into it as I suspect future plotlines will be lifted from this.

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