Comic Review – “The Flash: Rebirth #3”

We’re now half way through the series that was recently extended to six issues. Does it move as quickly as we’d expect from a series about the fastest man alive?

General Information

Title: The Flash: Rebirth #3
Author: Geoff Johns
Illustrator(s): Ethan van Sciver (art) and Brian Miller of Hi-Fi (colours)
Cover Date: August 2009
Cover Price: $2.99 US


The last issue ended with the Flash taking on a new role that he wasn’t comfortable with. Now he’s trying to deal with that, and his preferred solution isn’t the solution chosen by his colleagues.

High Point

“Those were for charity, Clark.”

Low Point

Van Sciver’s Superman. I generally love Van Sciver’s art, but there’s something about the way he draws Superman (particularly in the full page mid-race panel) that just doesn’t look right.

The Scores

Johns and Van Sciver get originality points for the triumphant return of a hero that doesn’t feel at all triumphant. Heroes tend to come back from the dead either ready to rock and roll, or disoriented for the course of a single issue before kicking butt and taking names. Barry seems to fit into neither category. That same disconnection isn’t really helping me get deeply involved in the story, but it’s definitely original. I give it 5 out of 6.

The artwork is generally strong. There’s something I haven’t been quite able to pin down about Van Sciver’s Superman that bugs me. (I think it may be the relatively small face in comparison to the entire head, but there’s something about the chest and shoulders, too, that I can’t quite pin down.) The layouts are good, and the speedsters look great. Van Sciver’s generally detailed backgrounds are absent in the latter half due to the story, and they’re definitely missed. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story marches forward nicely. Barry finally finds himself face to face with his tormenter, and we’re starting to understand why he doesn’t feel like he fits in anymore. I give it 5 out of 6.

The characterization is okay. The characters around Barry are acting as they always have, but Barry himself isn’t. That’s quite deliberate in this case, but when the title character still doesn’t seem to give a hoot what happens, it’s pretty hard to get the reader to. There’s a lot going on around Barry that old school Flash fans will love, but I don’t think these few issues will make new Flash fans out of the rest of us. Given this creative team’s track record, I’d say they’ll change my mind by the end of issue 6, but I’m not convinced everyone else plans to wait that long. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response is similarly dulled by Barry’s course through the world. The High Point may have been one of the highest points in anything from this week’s stack, but the issue as a whole leaves me somewhat cold. Maybe it would be different if I were more attached to Barry, but as it stands, I’m not exactly clamoring to get issue 4. I give it 3 out of 6.

The flow is very smooth. Van Sciver keeps the action moving through the issue, and he does a nice job of telling the story with expressions rather than speech balloons. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is an issue with a few nice moments, but if we don’t start to see more of the old, heroic Barry soon I’m going to start losing interest. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, The Flash: Rebirth #3 receives 30 out of 42.

2 replies on “Comic Review – “The Flash: Rebirth #3””

  1. So it sounds like the story is aimed at old-school Flash fans.

    In principle it shouldn’t be too hard to get the reader to care about what happens to the main character in a situation like this — he’s obviously gone through a lot, and seeing him struggle with what he himself wants at this point, and what everyone else wants from him, should be compelling. That it isn’t suggests to me that it relies on the reader going “wow, what happened to the Barry I knew?!” (Not that I’ve read it, of course. This is just from your review. Close?)

    • That’s pretty accurate. Geoff Johns has said in interviews: “The Flash is back, but Barry Allen isn’t.” That’s the basis for the series, in that this isn’t the Barry you knew. With “Green Lantern: Rebirth,” when I read it, Kyle was the GL I knew, but I was still excited Hal was coming back because of the presentation. That’s not the case with Barry here. The only Flash I’ve read previous to this were the Barry Allen stories in the “Showcase Presents” volumes and snippets of all of them from “Flash: The Greatest Stories Ever Told.” The Silver Age heroes at DC were varied only by their power sets, so you don’t really see anything individual in the personalities. The fact that Barry’s “personality” isn’t back doesn’t resonate with me for that reason. They may turn that around, but it hasn’t happened yet.

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