This is the issue I’ve been waiting for.
Title: The Flash Rebirth #4
Author: Geoff Johns
Illustrator(s): Ethan van Sciver (artist) and Brian Miller (colorist)
Cover Date: October, 2009
Cover Price: $2.99 US
Since his return, Barry has felt an indescribable pressure, as though there’s something he has to do that he can’t quite put his finger on. He’s felt manipulated, and as though he doesn’t really belong. Well, here the manipulator stands revealed and Barry learns things about himself he’d never even imagined before.
“… I need to turn this engine over.”
One of these days, we’re going to meet a supervillain who doesn’t feel compelled to brag about his brilliance thereby revealing information that the hero couldn’t otherwise have known.
This is an original take on the Flash mythos. The Speed Force has been an aspect of recent Flash comics that Barry was never directly connected to, and this issue finally explains why. It does so neatly, quickly, logically, and in a manner that is actually important to this particular story, in much the same way the same creative time explained why Kyle’s ring was different from the others in Green Lantern: Rebirth. It sends this miniseries in a new direction that will most likely continue in the upcoming ongoing title(s). (Yes, they’ve announced two new ongoing titles after this.) I give it 5 out of 6.
The artwork led by van Sciver is excellent. There’s one element that’s starting to show up on the faces of all the heroes that the story has been lacking so far: determination. This is the issue where Barry and those around him set themselves along a course of action that they will not sway from. That element appears both on their faces and in the panel layouts, and it makes a big difference. I give it 6 out of 6.
The story is as solid as the art for many of the same reasons. This issue, as mentioned above, starts to reveal elements of the solution to the mysteries of the series, while simultaneously cleaning up some continuity and getting the title hero to start acting like a hero once more. The Flash has been back since Final Crisis, but Barry Allen didn’t return until this past Wednesday. I give it 6 out of 6.
The characterization is there. We see what motivates the DC speedsters, good or evil, and get a front row seat while events conspire to put Barry’s head right back in the game. I give it 5 out of 6.
The emotional response is great. It starts to pick up on page six, and then it continues to build page after page until that final splash image that some people have waiting almost 25 years to see. I give it 6 out of 6.
The flow is pretty smooth, taking us from scene to scene in short order. Van Sciver’s layouts work well, and the rest is aided quite effectively by the simple fact that the story takes place entirely without time gaps in the action. I give it 5 out of 6.
Overall, it’s a solid issue, and the one that finally makes the miniseries gel for me. I give it 5 out of 6.
In total, The Flash: Rebirth #4 receives 38 out of 42.