I’ve been kvetching about Flash: Rebirth, mainly because it seemed so dull despite having something like 15 speedsters and the always-dynamic art of Ethan Van Sciver to prop it up. With last week’s issue 5, though, I think I’ve pretty much given up on caring.
My main problem with Barry Allen is that despite being the fastest man alive he’s never been that interesting. Part of this could be that he was never “my” Flash, having started reading comics post-Crisis, but part of it is definitely because I don’t find tardiness and exceptionally strong ethics to be especially compelling character traits. Compare this to Wally West, who in his time has been a quitter, a mercenary, powerless, a womanizer, a family man, etc. Some of those worked more than others, but he’s definitely been built up as a strong character.
However, my main problem with Flash: Rebirth has been Geoff Johns, whose contribution to the character of Barry Allen is establishing that REALLY LIKES bow ties. Okay, that’s a cheap shot, but it’s not far off. Zoom is a standard time traveling villain cliche (“Remember that time you stubbed your toe and the dog ate your homework? THAT WAS ME!”) and our extended cast of speedsters only serve as Greek chorus.
The biggest disappointment, however, is the way scenes are constructed. We are often skipped from the middle of one scene right into the middle of another. At one point we see all 30 of our speedsters running, Wally spouts some generic pseudo-science, and then suddenly — everyone is in new costumes*! We then cut to another scene, then jump back and see “Impulse!” being exclaimed in mid-sentence. The argument COULD be made that this is just how we would see speedsters, always in mid-sentence/mid-action, but I don’t buy that argument, and I don’t recall Johns writing this way when we was writing the ongoing series. I’ve been impressed with almost everything Johns has worked on (including an excellent Avengers run),
but this just isn’t up to his usual standard.
*Setting aside Jesse Quick’s horrible new onesie, I dig Wally’s new uniform. It takes the strengths of the original, and mixes in various other designs he’s had from the past (white eye slits, darker red color, stylized belt), and adds a Batman-esque nose. The other thing that really stood out was the 3D, shieldlike chest emblem. I liked it when Van Sciver did it to Green Lantern and I like it here. I think it’s a really strong idea to have symbols like badges of a sort. I think we could take that idea to just about every character, but still I hope DC (and Marvel, if they’re paying any attention) will try not to overuse the concept.