Quick Review: Flash: Rebirth #2

Flash: Rebirth #2 (Standard Cover)I’ll post a more complete review after I’ve had a chance to get home, re-read the first issue, and read through this one again, [Edit: it’s up now] but here are my first thoughts on Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver’s Flash: Rebirth #2.

Things I liked

Good mix of flashback and mystery.

The simple solution to explain why civilian Barry Allen is back, and where he’s been all this time.

Follow-through on both Savitar and Black Flash — the story’s starting to get going.

Nice to see some familiar faces like Patty Spivot, Barry’s lab assistant. That makes me wonder where she is now, and whether she’s ever met Angela Margolin, who had Barry’s former job during Chain Lightning and the Dark Flash Saga.

Sam Scudder’s green-and-orange striped tie from his pre-Mirror Master days.

During a fight, Wally’s costume is ripped in such a way as to suggest Walter West‘s “Dark Flash” costume.

Another mention of Max Mercury (remember, he co-stars in the Mercury Falling collection that also came out today!)

The Gorilla City paintings as a narrative tie.

Things I didn’t like

I can see where he’s going with the new backstory introduced last issue, but I still don’t like it much. Is retfridge a word? Or retro-fridge?

Was it really necessary to take a page and a half to do the Secret Origin of Barry Allen’s Bow Tie? Honestly, I’d have just ignored it the way modern Superman ignores the fact that Clark Kent used to wear a hat.

On one hand it’s a cop-out to bring back missing characters just long enough to kill them. On the other…I guess it’s better than killing off active ones. And it’s not as if death is (usually) permanent in comics anyway.


The last page ends on a cliffhanger. On one hand, it’s shocking in the “how will they get out of this?” sense. As far as revelations go, it’s only surprising in the sense of, “Really? They actually went there?”

Initial Verdict: Good, could be better.

Stay tuned for my full review later today. Update: My full review is up.


8 thoughts on “Quick Review: Flash: Rebirth #2

  1. papa zero

    The change in his history isn’t a big deal to me in that the timeline of any time travelling character is easily changed in a snap – the thing that doesn’t settle with me is that it would be a new driving force to define his compulsion to be a hero. The story arc isn’t complete, but if it ends on that note it seems as if we’ve been handed a “just add water formula.”

    I didn’t see the bow tie thing as taking up a page and a half just to explain his wearing them – to me it felt more incidental in the set up to him eventually meeting Iris. What did feel unnatural was that he would just so happen to “earn the bow tie,” convict Sam Scudder, meet Iris, and get his first date with her in those few pages. It’s good to be an efficient writer and hit touchstones – but we already had plenty of Barry-centric stuff going on both within and outside of the flashback.

    I honestly thought that Barry was Black Flash when he was originally introduced – or some manifestation thereof so it didn’t surprise me where they went with this.

    The thing that still doesn’t feel right about the comic so far for me is the portrayal of Barry Allen. Among many other things, I can’t see him expressing regret about going to the future and starting a family with Iris… saying he ran away from his life. Barry and Iris actually made the decision to have children the night she died in issue 275. It also seems laughable that he would call Savitar a “perp.” I really do like the idea of pushing the forensics side of his storyline – but making him a hard edged, all work no play type character feels less like a rebirth than it does rubber stamping his personality with formula.

    The art was great! I don’t think the busy looking lightning adds anything to the feeling of motion.

    I’m curious as to what in the world happened to Cap Frye! If Barry has only been gone 5 years in DC time – Frye has gone from Captain Invincible to Captain Double-chin in no time!

  2. Dario

    I loved it.

    A lot better than issue #1: there’s more pace, more captivating scenes, a wonderful cliffhanger in the end, and Ethan’s art is on a higher level (#1 had very good art, but this one’s awesome).

    And now the retcon on Barry’s parents is SO huge that I’m even more convinced it will be undone before the end of the series. As it is, it contradicts too many past stories, even written by Johns himself – I’d be surprised if he’d do such a thing, being the kind of guy that loves to build on old stories rather than simply scrap them.

    The witness protection thing is brilliant.

    Oh, and the fact that Barry’s being such an ass now makes a lot more sense, considering that he’s transforming into the embodiment of death and everything.

    Now bring Max back, give me an awesome Wally costume (with assurance that he won’t be completely sidelined) and I’ll be a happy speedster!

  3. Yrani Gami

    Overall: good story so far. The Black Flash thing doesn’t surprise me, I called it when I heard he was coming back… but I don’t believe he will be the permanent Black Flash. I’m in no particular hurry to see the end of this Rebirth story so little easter eggs here and there are ok. One thing; I hope this “dark origin” story involving Barry’s dead parents, or some tragic ending, does not become part of his permanent storyline… Barry’s childhood should be left alone. Messing with it just doesn’t seem to work Remember Cobalt Blue? I wish I didn’t.

  4. Jason West

    i loved it. i love the new direction. i love Barry. i love Bart. i’m enjoying every bit.

    his staff at CC CSI looks like:
    Captain Frye
    Barry Allen
    Al Desmond!!!
    Patty Spivot(?)

    the shot of Sam Scudder made this issue for me! seriously! it was a brilliant piece of art by EVS!

    can’t wait to read #3 of 5?/6? (how many issues are there? they’ve said 5 and 6. i dunno…)

    .-= Jason West’s latest blog post: Life, the Universe, and Everything… =-.

  5. Kelson Post author

    @papa zero: Even if it is something changed by time travel, we have a paradox: if this is what it took to make Barry a hero, what made Barry a hero when it didn’t happen?

    @Dario: Absolutely agree on witness protection. It’s simple, it fits with Barry’s life, and it provides a reason for him to be able to return, all without going to elaborate lengths.

    @Yrani Gami: I still say Cobalt Blue is less of a change to Barry’s past than this is. Secret twin he never knew about vs. retroactively killing one parent and locking the other in prison for life (as opposed to growing up with both)? Huge difference.

    @Jason: I wondered if that was supposed to be Chunk also, but I think someone called him Forrest. Besides, he should be doing physics research, not forensic anthropology. Good call on Al Desmond – I’ll have to re-check the pages, but if that IS him, that’s a neat way to tie him and Barry closer together, given that they were friends when his good personality was in control. I just hope they’re not going to retroactively fridge Patty, too (with Dr. Alchemy’s line about what he did to “her” in issue #1).

  6. papa zero

    “Even if it is something changed by time travel, we have a paradox: if this is what it took to make Barry a hero, what made Barry a hero when it didn’t happen?”

    Ultimately I think this might be the vehicle upon which they’ll establish Flash as a “continuum corps.” If in fact it is rectified in the timestream and not a fullblown retcon we’ve seen Flash retain knowledge of a previous reality. It still serves the same purpose having happened to him even if only in a reality he changed. He’ll still be the TV crime drama cop personality we’re just now meeting.

    It does look too much like Chunk not to be him – and if I’m not mistaken Geoff really liked Chunk. I think you’re spot on with the Al doing in Patty thing.

  7. Corey

    The only problem i have with judging the plot and the pace of the story this early on is that especially with geoffs work is that he sets the story up and then it just explodes with action and chaos he is very detail orientated. i liked the bow tie part it was funny and it was more about revealing barry allens personality hes not the kinda man who owns a tie hes slow and a little socially akward. this is all building up to who barry allen is and why he is back. plus this is leading into a new series u wanna give back ground info to the people who didnt grow up with barry.

  8. Yrani Gami

    Corey, We already knew about Barry’s childhood. Barry was NOT socialy inept growing up. He wasnt Peter Parker. He was popular and good at sports. The thing about the bowtie is okay but a little forced. Maybe just not bring up the bowtie at all if it seems forced…


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