Flash #8 Solicited: Reverse-Flash Rebirth

DC has posted its Brightest Day solicitations for November, including…

The Flash #8

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by SCOTT KOLINS
1:10 Variant cover by STANLEY “ARTGERM” LAU

“Reverse Flash Rebirth!” In this FLASHPOINT prelude, don’t miss the epic telling of the origin of Barry Allen’s greatest foe, Professor Zoom! Eobard Thawne’s story is just beginning — and he intends to finish it with The Flash!

On sale NOVEMBER 24 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US


So, one more stand-alone issue before Francis Manapul returns for the second story arc. It’s hard to complain when the fill-in artist on The Flash is Scott Kolins, though.

That said…I’m kind of disappointed that we’ll only have one Flash story before jumping into Flashpoint. It’s odd that on one hand, DC is absolutely determined to establish Barry Allen as THE Flash before widening the scope to other speedsters, but at the same time they’re jumping straight into this big event.

That and I think I just don’t really like Eobard Thawne that much. He’s too much of a mustache-twirling caricature villain. Hunter Zolomon was far more interesting a character…though IMO neither should appear too often, or else they risk losing their impact. (That pretty much happened with Zolomon during the Villains United/Infinite Crisis period.)

So, who wants to take bets on just how much of Mark Waid’s classic “The Return of Barry Allen” gets trampled by this new origin?

Update: Full solicitations are up. Here are some more Flash appearances in November.


32 thoughts on “Flash #8 Solicited: Reverse-Flash Rebirth

  1. Richard Guion

    Totally agree that Hunter Zolomon was scarily cunning and cruel.

    It does seem to soon for Zoom to come back. We had a lot of him in Rebirth & Blackest Night.

  2. Mark Engblom

    I’m sure “The Return of Barry Allen” will remain in the Flash canon….it’s too big a milestone to toss aside. Considering Thawne’s affinity for time-traveling terrorism, “Return” fits in well with that M.O….though Johns may remove the amnesia angle from the original to reflect evil intent on the part of Thawne. We’ll see.

    Speaking of evil intent, I don’t really think classifying Thawne as a “mustache twirler” is very accurate. Arguably, all of Flash’s Rogue’s Gallery acted like classic “evil” comic book supervillains and not the finer moral shadings that we have (demand?) today…the difference with Thawne being that he (like Barry) have been off the chessboard for most of the modern era of comic book storytelling. With this updated origin of Reverse Flash, I would expect Johns to introduce the subtleties you’re looking, as the writer has done for all of the Rogue’s he’s done special issues for.

    1. Kelson Post author

      If I’ve learned anything in my years reading comics, it’s that nothing is too big a milestone for a new writer or editorial regime to toss aside.

      Spider-Marriage, anyone?

        1. Mark Engblom

          I wouldn’t say Barry’s origin has been “completely changed”. There were some (not so great) details added to it (like his mom’s murder), but he was still covered with lightning-charged chemicals to gain his super-speed….so I’m not sure what you’re referring to when you say his origin was “completely” changed. Unless Barry is now the super-speeding son of the mutant Magneto, I think you’re exaggerating a bit there.

          1. papa zero

            I would tend to agree with Kelson on the idea that the origin is completely changed (if perhaps for a different reason). The motivating factor compelling Barry to be who and what he is has been shifted to a single moment in his childhood. He doesn’t pursue justice because he got powers – the powers are incidental to the hero’s motivation. Of course the powers were also incidental before Rebirth but now instead of a character who was cultured to believe in utilitarian pursuit of justice like Superman raised by the Kents, we have murdered parents as a defining moment more like Batman.

    2. papa zero

      Actually I think the Professor’s origin and character is pretty interesting since his original motivation was to be a hero LIKE his role model The Flash… I dare to say that Superboy Prime might loosely even be a sort of modern version of his plight. Good intentions based on an obsessive compulsive need, but then fixation and transfering blame to rationalize ever increasing transgressions. I think I’ve had a few girlfriends like that.

  3. cm22

    I don’t think “The Return of Barry Allen” will necessarily be written over. Geoff doesn’t do that too often, it’s more likely he just won’t directly acknowledge or include it in Thawne’s origin if he doesn’t like it. That way it’s still there if someone else wants to use it, but he doesn’t have to draw attention to it and complicate the origin. If anyone should have lean quick origins it should be speedsters.

    I don’t really have a problem with Thawne, I think you can use him to tell great stories, and ROBA is proof of that to me. But I DEFINITELY agree that he shouldn’t be used often. It’s a variation on the law of diminishing returns. The more you use any villain, without significant cause or change, the less impact they have. They very quickly become non-threats, or worse just plain and boring characters that don’t hold any significance. It’s obviously worse when you have actual “Arch” villains that you use. If Superman fights Lex Luthor every week Lex becomes a constant joke and a loser. If Superman fights Lex once every 4 years it’s a big more serious. Same thing applies with the Flash.

    Of course, this also works out to be a good thing, every story arc that has Prof. Zoom as the villain means one less with the rogue’s as the villain(S), which keeps their credibility and stock a little higher.

    1. papa zero

      I agree with your notion of the law of diminished returns and it probably applies to Thawne as is – BUT I think Luthor is a bad example. This is only because of what the villain represents and the dynamic he plays in regard to his nemesis. Luthor, to a degree, has come to represent the system, bureaucracy, and many other spirit crushing aspects of “the last man’s” rise to power. There is no end to the number of stories to be milked from that kind of dynamic. The real challenge is for the writer to pose a new question with each encounter – or even be willing to see the hero face defeat if only symbolically. I know I was impressed with Joker’s antics in the most recent Batman movie when I thought I’d seen it all.

      1. I.Strange

        I agree with your essential point. Luthor represents ego and/or institutionalized corruption. Joker, madness. Sinestro, fear. Those are renewable themes. Zoom, both Zooms, however, represent tragedy, which generally requires shock value and radical upset to the status quo. That’s… tricky.

        1. papa zero

          Actually I believe there is a fundamental concept (with lots of leg room for variations on a theme) that anyone under the mantle of the Flash could represent (except Barry Allen post Rebirth) – and just as important would facilitate almost all of the Flash villains enough space to represent a slice of opposition to that concept – especially Zolomon and Thawne.

          1. papa zero

            Free will versus fatalism. You’ve got all the ingredients… time travel, villains with victim mentality (every baddie blames someone or something for their choices), and enough internal conflict for the hero to question whether he really has a choice. I do think this idea has been touched before in silver age and with Wally self actualizing his identity beyond that of his mentor – but not really fleshed out to the potential a book like Flash facilitates in a mature fashion. In my opinion each villain could manifest a different aspect on “defeated free will.” Trickster could be rationalization, Abra Kadabra could be external locus, Mirror Master could be fear of self awareness/ reflection, I could go on and on given the rich dynamic of knuckleheads in the Rogues

            On the surface it sounds like a one trick pony but a character with physics based powers, time traveling villains, legacy characters, super-evolved apes… there is a gold mine of storytelling.

            Unfortunately, with Barry’s current origin as seeking justice from his own moment of victimization – that being his raison d’etre, it falls apart.

  4. EJ

    I actually feel the opposite, Rebirth made The Reverse Flash truly scary and evil while i’ve always thought of Hunter as a one note gimmick that got tired quick. Anyways, i’m very happy to have Kollins on Flash since I can’t stand Manapul’s art. Also i’m not sold that Flashpoint will start directly after this I could have sworn that Johns had another arc planned before that started.

    1. I.Strange

      I agree that Zoom’s “tragedy will make you better” mission has become one-note, but Hunter Zolomon prior had been richly characterized. I’m hoping we’ll see more of the brainy, ineffectual Zolomon before he’s reverted back to Zoom.

  5. Mark Engblom

    The way I look at it is, if Geoff Johns could convincingly bring Hal Jordan back to life and the side of the good-guys….all the while keeping all the Parallax continuity intact, I think he’s capable of keeping the “Return of Barry Allen” storyline intact (or largely intact) as well. After all, the guy wrote Wally’s adventures for years, so I’d like to think he’s got genuine respect for the milestones in Wally’s journey…and isn’t out to short-circuit those stories out of spite or disinterest.

    On the other hand, we DO realize with that, with the Reverse Flash, we’re dealing with a crazed time-traveling bad guy who’s playground is the timestream itself, so to expect his background to stay rock-solid consistent and free from gerrymandering/alteration/paradoxes/self-revision seems to me a little unrealistic (if I may use such a laughable term when talking about fictional beings).

  6. Touch of Grey

    Nooooo-! Then again, it’s sort of appropriate, in a morbid way. That arc was, arguably, what made Wally West into THE Flash for DC back in the nineties. But still.

    Geoff Johns, if you by some miracle are reading this, go find a chalkboard. An actual chalkboard, not a whiteboard. Pick up a piece of chalk and I want you to write “I will not step on the toes of the great writers that came before with this Zoom story” as many times as it takes to get through to you.

    (Also, Zoom is a time traveller, oui? Am I still allowed to still hold on to my hopes of Inertia somehow being revived/saved before he died, or is that pipe dream dead as disco?)

    1. Perplexio

      If they bring back Thad Thawne, I hope it’s as Kid Zoom, not Inertia. I much preferred the Kid Zoom costume. And now there are Thawne family ties to take into consideration. But I hope that if Prof. Zoom goes back to save Thad before his death at the hands of the other rogues he goes to rescue Owen Mercer as well.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if, in light of the impending speedster team book that may happen that Johns brings back Owen and Thad to form a team of super-villain speedsters– seperate from the Flash’s non-speedster rogues. Owen, Thad, Zolomon, and Eobard…

      And knowing Johns predilection for mining for the obscure and making it anything but. I wouldn’t be surprised if Johns somehow brings Barry’s almost second wife, Fiona Webb, into the mix.

      1. Hyperion

        If they bring back Thad Thawne, I hope it’s as Kid Zoom, not Inertia.

        Good God, no; then everyone would see him as a psychopath, not the simply-really-messed-up kid he was originally written as.

  7. I.Strange

    So, who wants to take bets on just how much of Mark Waid’s classic “The Return of Barry Allen” gets trampled by this new origin?

    Didn’t Blackest Night: Flash allude to it?

  8. Married Guy

    I think that with DC trying so hard to make Barry THE speedster of choice, it pretty much ensures that Waid’s ‘Return of Barry Allen’ will be retconned away. After all, it was ultimately a Wally story establishing him as the equal of his Uncle.
    Johns already took that away when he made Barry the centre of the Speed Force. (In doing so pretty much pissing away everything established in Dead Heat)

  9. Jason West

    @ I Strange: yes. I just reread BN: The Flash and in issue 1/3 as Thawne’s memories are being downloaded he (the ring) says something along the lines of “and I stumbled back in time wanting to meet the Flash and became amnesiatic and in turn BECAME him”. Half the stuff in his one page origin is from ROBA. Thawne screwing with Barrys history is PERFECT for the character. You trusted Johns for 6 years on this book. Trust him now. 🙂

  10. Perplexio

    ROBA permanently changed me from a fan of Barry into a fan of Wally. I liked Wally before that… I’d started to warm to him as early as Flash #50 but at that point I was still bummed Barry was gone. From ROBA on I was completely sold on Wally as the Flash. I was even a little miffed when he got “lost” in the Speed Force and John Fox was brought in to stand in for him.

    I didn’t mind when Walter was brought in as he was still Wally kinda/sorta… just an older, more grizzled, and cynical version of him… oh and of course the different colored eyes. Besides I dug the Dark Flash costume.

    But… with DC wanting to pound into our brains with the subtlety of a jackhammer in a library that Barry is basically the Bret Hart of Flashes (“the best there was, the best there is, and the best there ever will be”) the reasons why I don’t want ROBA retconned out are likely the very reasons that may actually happen.

  11. Jeff Lebowski

    I agree with the opinion that Johns did a great job with Wally and we should wait and see what happens with regards to Zoom. Flash Rebirth, in all honesty, fell a bit flat in the end. I had almost wished that Barry would die again and let Wally take over as the main speedster.

    The new Flash series with Johns and Manapul has restored my enthusiasm for Barry Allen. It’s strange–I read Flash since 1970, even though Barry was my favorite for a long while, Wally West become the best Flash–because he had some of the best story arcs. Is Wally coming back? I find it really sad and strange he’s just been pushed to the side.

    For Zoom, the thing I dislike most about that character in Rebirth is his time travelling powers. I know that is central to his origin and character. But I get a headache thinking about all the ways he could mess with time in order to get revenge. But I have confidence that Johns will figure out how to handle Zoom.

  12. Brandan

    Geoff is not above retconning, he has quite the track record of doing so. He’s even retconned himself before. And I wish people(including Geoff) would stop mentioning his last run on The Flash. Writers should always care about the stories and characters they are writing, so writing Wally for years doesn’t mean he won’t screw him over now.

    As far as Thawne: Rebirth goes…I’m already going in with rolling eyes. At this rate, Thawne will become another one of Johns overused villains(Anti Monitor, Superboy Prime, and yes, even Sinestro). Someone mentioned earlier that fewer times we see The Rogues the better they look, and I completely agree. That goes with EVERY villain.

    Hunter Zolomon didnt become one note until he started popping up elsewhere in the DCU. We don’t need a year’s worth of stories to tell us who DC/Geoff thinks is the Bret Hart of Flashes(damn good analogy, btw), we see that every time Wally/Barry are running and Wally is 20 yards behind in every panel.

    I’m trying to be optimistic about “Flashpoint” but the more I think about it, the more I feel its going to be one big time traveling retcon. I guess that means there’s potential to bring Barry’s parents back though…not that HE cares.


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