Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash, returned during Final Crisis. The creative team that brought Hal Jordan back with Green Lantern: Rebirth are now doing the same with Barry Allen.
Title: The Flash: Rebirth #1 – Lightning Strikes Twice
Author: Geoff Johns
Illustrator(s): Ethan Van Sciver (artist) and Alex Sinclair (colours)
Cover Date: June 2009
Cover Price: $3.99 US
Barry Allen is back, and doesn’t know why. Of all the people that were trapped by the Speed Force, he’s the only one that’s been released. Now, he’s back in a world that has a very capable Flash and a number of other speedsters. The only remaining mystery in his life was his mother’s murder, but soon enough, a new one is introduced.
Hal finds Barry at the Flash Museum. At the time, Barry is standing there, noting the increased hustle and bustle of the world since he left. As a testament to van Sciver’s art, I never thought a guy standing around in a leather jacket with his hands in the pockets of jeans, watching everything but nothing in particular, could ever look iconic, but this one does.
Hal: The world get too fast for you?
Barry: You kidding, Hal? The world’s finally catching up.
That’s a mighty public place for Hal to use his ring out of costume.
It’s hard to be original when such a similar project came out from this team that they even borrowed the title. That aside, this doesn’t feel at all like the Green Lantern version. This isn’t a mission to bring Barry back from the dead and redeem the character in the process. Barry’s already back: this is about his mission to find a mission. He’s back, and doesn’t know why he’s the exception. I give it 4 out of 6.
The artwork by Van Sciver is great. Clean lines, incredible levels of detail, and a very “busy” feel to the layouts all suit the story very well. I give it 6 out of 6.
The story is shaping up nicely. Barry has his fans, but even his fans question what his role would be in the current DCU. Wally’s doing fine as the Flash, Jay Garrick is still around, Bart Allen is back; there’s no shortage of speedsters. This isn’t ignoring that. In fact, that’s front and centre: what is Barry’s role in the current DCU? Throw in a few new mysteries, not all of which the titular character is even aware of at this point, and it’s shaping up nicely. Past experience with Geoff Johns’ work convinces me that, though the “groundwork” issues can get a little slow, the series will not stay that way. This isn’t slowly paced, but I’m betting the average pace here is going to be the slowest issue of the series. I give it 5 out of 6.
The characterization is very nice. We see the reactions of Barry, Iris, Hal and the other speedsters to Barry’s return, and get a bit of a setup for the unrevealed villain of the piece. I give it 5 out of 6.
The emotional response isn’t as strong for me as it will be for others. I’m more familiar with Wally than Barry; the Barry I know is the one from the Showcase Presents volumes, and the Silver Age hue is pretty apparant. It’s interesting and entertaining in its own right, but others will respond more strongly if they’ve been waiting for “their” Flash to return. I give it 4 out of 6.
The flow is smooth, getting us easily from one scene to the next. It’s hard to do in a Flash comic, which needs to have an inherint speed to the story, but this does the job nicely. I give it 5 out of 6.
Overall, it’s a strong opening to a very promising series. Expectations are high for this group, but so far, it looks like they’re going to rise to meet those expectations. I give it 5 out of 6.
In total, The Flash: Rebirth #1 receives 34 out of 42.