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The Age-Old Question Answered

June 26, 2009

     In the newest issue of The Flash: Rebirth, Barry Allen is in dire straits.  At the beginning of the issue, in a somewhat unclear scene, Abra Kadabra, the magician, is presumably killed.  His Barry Allen puppet sets on fire, and when the fire goes away, its colors now look like those of the Black Flash.  At the headquarters of the Justice Society of America, the statues of Johnny Quick and the original Liberty Belle, Libby Lawrence, explode.  Meanwhile, back where Barry turned into the Black Flash, various supheroes build a machine to try and drain him of the Black Flash’s powers.  When they bring in Iris Allen-West to try and calm him down, he ends up going berserk.  Green Lantern takes him away from the scene, and he starts to run as fast as he can to rejoin the Speed Force.  Superman ttries to catch him, but Barry states that the only reason Superman ever beat him before was for the sake of charity.  As Barry runs, he relives his life in reverse, and he slowly forgets Iris’ name.  However, he finds Johnny Quick and Max Mercury, the former of whom touches him and dies.  Max Mercury reveals the villain behind everything, Professor Zoom, who then makes his appearance.

     It’s quite appropriate that Barry’s archnemesis, the person he supposedly killed and violated his morals over in doing so, is the bad guy here.  It brings the Flash’s story full-circle, in a way.  This issue also does a great job emphasizing the importance of Iris to Barry and his history.  It’s a great contrast, again, to Hal Jordan, who is always shifting girlfriends and can’t see the person who really loves him, Carol Ferris, who is standing right in front of him.  The whole flashback sequence is great too, because it recounts some of the most important events of his life, including his death, his rebirth, his trial, meeting his friends, Wally West’s transformation, meeting Iris, and his own transformation.  Then, further back, we get to see the importance of his father’s supposed crime, which is a part of Geoff Johns’ superb continuity revision.  I call it revision because, even though it’s a retcon, it’s one that works within the pre-existing material.  Johns proves who great a writer in these pages, but it’s clear that this is not his best work.  Likewise, it isn’t Ethan van Sciver’s best work.  His faces aren’t as detailed as usual, and even though there are lots of people running, they often seem like they’re standing still.  This is still a great miniseries, though, and it’s making a lot of people who never even really knew Barry Allen his fans.

Plot: 9.0      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 9.0      Overall: 9.0

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