Flash New Comics Day! FLASH #52 and REBIRTH #1!

This may turn out to have been one of the biggest days in FLASH history…at least it’s the biggest day in the last several years. We see the end of a terrific run from Van Jensen and company on THE FLASH, and we find HUGE TERRIFIC NEWS WITH SPOILERS ALL OVER THE PLACE in REBIRTH #1! If you are a Flash fan and aren’t happy today, there is something seriously, seriously wrong with you. And, if you want to know more, just follow us after the jump!

SPOILERS AHEAD – LOTS AND LOTS OF SPOILERS – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

flash 52 coverTHE FLASH #52

It’s the end of an arc and the end of the pre-REBIRTH era for Barry and company. While I wasn’t such a big fan of having a member of Batman’s rogues gallery be so successful in Central City, I have to admit that I really liked how this wrapped up.  We start with things looking very, very bad for the Flash and for the city he loves…

Riddler thinks he has it all won – Barry has revealed his identity and is willing to be executed in public to save the rest of Central City from Riddler’s armed drones.  No one can step in to save him without triggering an all-out assault on Central City, and as a back-up Riddler has a captured Heat Wave set to decimate the entire city if things don’t go his way. No one, not the police, not anyone else, appear able to save the day….except for…

Wally West, who now realizes he can do something with his new super speed. He moves at a rate that the drones are guaranteed to pick up, disabling one of the drones and making Riddler think that Barry must be faking…after all, there is just one superspeedster in town, right?  This makes everyone believe Barry was just risking his own life to protect the Flash, and it gives him a chance to go after help…from…

The Rogues!

Short version of what happens next:

  • Trickster finally becomes useful by restoring Glider, after Flash resets Riddler’s “gift” arm to Axel. The change does more than wake her up…now she can transform directly into her meta form, and she joins the rest of the Rogues.
  • Trickster then is the key to freeing Heat Wave, even though he was injured in the process.
  • …did I just say two good things about Axel? Yes I did…wow!
  • The Rogues then help Flash confront Riddler, who brings in ALL his drones in defense…bad move here…

Flash can now destroy all the drones, and now Riddler is out of luck. The Rogues are on the same side as Flash for once…and so are the police, who finally drop their attempt to arrest Barry. The Flash then races off into…the REBIRTH era!

Just a note – one of the alt covers is a tribute to Francis Manapul’s iconic pose of the, and the ending page is a pretty clear nod to the first Wally West Flash cover post-COIE.

SUMMARY FOR FLASH #52 – As wrap-up stories go, this was an excellent chapter for Barry. His secret identity is safe, he is no longer hunted by the police, the Rogues are back together and proved once again that Flash’s Rogues are better than any of those silly little Bat-rogues that may exist in the DCU…and Wally uses his speed in a way that foreshadows his REBIRTH adventures as Kid Flash. Van Jensen did a great job in wrapping up this arc in his swan song with THE FLASH, with some excellent artwork by Jesus Merino (and great colors by Guy Major).

Just a note here – I have enjoyed the Venditti & Jensen era of THE FLASH, and even though I am looking forward to Josh Williamson’s take on my favorite speedsters I must take a moment here to give my opinion about the chapter in the life of The Flash that ends with this issue.  I realize that there are some detractors out there for this run…just like there were detractors during the Manapul & Buccellato run that many also enjoyed.  But, all of these writers were working under the constraints of the New 52 – no Wally West (at least not the original), no marriages (for Barry or Wally), and a much different and somewhat darker vision of the DCU.  As for me, I enjoyed just about every issue of the entire run. Venditti and Jensen brought us the New 52 version of Wally, one who was controversial at first more for his somewhat petty-criminal behavior than anything else, and developed him into a character that has come into his own as he prepares to take on the mantle of Kid Flash. I’m VERY glad to see the original Wally return (see below in my REBIRTH review), but at the same time I’m also glad to see that THIS version of Wally will remain.

I do enjoy Josh Williamson’s work (I’m a huge fan of NAILBITER, among other titles), and the interviews he has given about what’s coming up for THE FLASH sound really good. Still, I didn’t want this moment to pass without saying a proper goodbye and word of thanks to Van Jensen, to Robert Venditti, and to everyone who has worked on THE FLASH up to this point.

rebirthREBIRTH #1

It’s Geoff Johns, it’s the ORIGINAL Wally West, it’s a major change in direction from the New 52, it’s…what fans have been pleading with DC to see. What more can you want?

When I was a kid (many, many years ago), I would go down to the local drug store (no local comic shops back then) and plunk down 25 cents for an 80 Page Giant. It had collections of some of the best stories of the Silver Age, and I loved every page.  Now, THIS 80 page book may cost more than a quarter US, but the price IS a considerable bargain…and it changes, well, a LOT in the DCU.

The Flash has been at the center of almost every major change in the DCU since the Silver Age began, and this is no exception…though with a twist. This time it is Wally West, the original Wally West, combined with Barry Allen that makes this change happen. Wally is our narrator for the tale, giving us the lowdown on the REAL story of the New 52. Yes, Pandora was there, but someone else has manipulated the changes, made the world more grim, and worst of all…

They took away 10 years from the DCU.

This explains the more youthful heroes, including Wally himself. Taking away that 10 years meant that all of the DCU heroes are less experienced, more vulnerable, less likely to successfully face…whatever is coming up next.  In the midst of this, Wally himself was drawn out of existence and into the Speed Force itself. He has been trying ever since to be heard, to find some connection to the world so that he can return. The problem is, no one remembers him…not even the love of his life!

In famous tales of the Wally West era, it has been his connection to Linda Park that has allowed him to exit the Speed Force. But, this Linda has yet to meet Wally due to that 10 years stolen from the DCU…and she doesn’t recognize him. Neither does anyone else that Wally knows.  Wally sees the other Wally and explains his existence by noting two brothers for Iris with two sons, both named after the same person…and he likes what he sees in the new Wally. He’s more than happy to pass on the mantle of Kid Flash, and he is ready to give up, to accept his fate, to fade into the Speed Force itself, so he goes to his mentor to say goodbye…

And that’s when it all changes.

Barry finally remembers Wally, and it is that connection that pulls Wally back into the DCU. Barry is tearful, wondering how he could have ever forgotten Wally.  Now, we have a chance to bring back the elements of the DCU that have been missing all along.

Legacy.

Hope.

Love.

And, we also have a new mystery – and a big bad from a most unexpected source.  Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock and ignoring the internet, you’ve probably heard by now that Doctor Manhattan is behind all the changes that caused the New 52 universe…but for what? That’s a mystery we will have to explore as we move forward into this new era of DC.

SUMMARY: Joy. Hope. Love. Legacy. WALLY! This was a well-written and beautifully drawn epic issue, and while the Watchmen ending is a bit head-scratching (and so is the idea of 3 Jokers) I’m still VERY happy overall with this title. It is a new direction, a fresh take on the DCU that has been sorely needed for a very long time. Think about what we now have: a Superman and Lois that are married with a child who becomes the new Superboy. Arthur and Mera engaged. Hints at Green Arrow and Black Canary finally getting together. The return of Wally West. The full return of the original Titans. A concrete sign of the Legion of Superheroes.  THIS is a great sign of things to come.

Now, before I fanboy out too much, I realize that everything will depend on the execution of all these storylines as we move forward. Still, this is a great start – and I’m happier as a DC fan than I’ve been in a long time.  Welcome back, Wally – we’ve missed you!

24 thoughts on “Flash New Comics Day! FLASH #52 and REBIRTH #1!

  1. married guy

    FINALLY!! Wally is back!
    After years of apathy, I’m actually curious to see where DC goes with all this.
    I’ve been burned too many times to jump in wholesale, but I have already pre-ordered Titans (Wally is back!), Flash (Hopefully more Wally here too) and Aquaman.
    I’m also waiting to see what DC do with Kyle Rayner and Connor Hawke. Not sure if I’m in the minority here, but I loved that time when Kyle, Connor & Wally were the leads in their respective titles.

    Reply
    1. Kyer

      There’s a huge spread of the superheroes….none of those are in it. Believe me, I searched hard for Kyle.

      Reply
  2. Jim Thomas

    I read this today and i have to say it was awesome, Wallys Back! Wallys Back! Its like DC realized they messed up and are trying to fix it. The fact that old stories are bought up that i thought were gone is great. The moment when Barry is like Wally how did i forget!, it was like DC saying sorry guys, our bad. Its ok DC, its ok. We kinda forgive you. Just dont pull this crap again!

    Reply
  3. Flashfacts

    Flash 52: Didn’t care for this run in general and this issue was no different. I feel overall they took the wrong risks and their general view of Flash (or what they presented anyways) is very different from mine. Glad it worked for some of you but I’m ready to move on.

    Side note: Since it’s the end of new52 I’d like to mention that I liked the Manapul/Buccellato run. If it wasn’t as gorgeous as it was I’d probably have dropped Flash straight after new52.

    Rebirth: WOW! It may say “DC rebirth” on the title but we all know it was “Wally rebirth” and boy was it everything I wanted and more. Glad all his history was acknowledged, glad the kids were quietly swept under the rug (a guy in his mid twenties with two tweens was weird…) and I even like the Linda twist. This ain’t their first time displaced memory wipe, they’ll pull through. Would have been nice to see him in his Flash suit one last time but I get the advantages of doing it like they did. Did like the new costume that Booth posted though. It’s been a while since I’ve loved a Flash story this much. Thanks for listening DC!

    Wally fans (esspecially the loud ones): A year ago DC had zero plans to ever bring this version back. You made this happen. I know we all will have our own nitpicks and expectations for Wally but today was a HUGE win and return to form so please take a minute, pat yourself on the back, and enjoy that Wally @#$!ing West is back. Slow down and smell the roses.

    Williamson’s got quite the hand he’s been dealt. Can’t wait to see what he does with it! Great start DC!

    Reply
    1. Lee H

      “Wally fans (esspecially the loud ones): A year ago DC had zero plans to ever bring this version back.”

      Are we really sure of that?

      Titans Hunt #1 hinted at Wally West as an original Teen Titan, and that was published 7 months ago and solicited 9 months ago. It’s not inconceivable that the idea was being kicked around 12 months ago.

      Reply
  4. Mr. F

    THERE ARE SPOILERS IN HERE

    DC really doesn’t want my money apparently. I’m in a tough position. Wally West is my co-favorite superhero and I’m happy to have him back. I swore I would start buying DC again only if/when OG Wally West returned, so I should be happy.

    Thing is, you can’t disrespect Watchmen like that. You can’t take what is arguably THE greatest comic ever written and metatextually blame IT for the decreasing quality in the increasingly dark and dreary DC universe. It wasn’t Watchmen that ruined comics…it was guys like Geoff Johns who misunderstood the appeal of it and started doing things like blowing out Ted Kord’s brain into our face, turning “heroes” into tortured psychopaths who maim and kill as they squabble incessantly and undoing what is probably the greatest self-sacrifice in the history of superheros (see Crisis on Infinite Earths) just so that the same character can pervert the entire universe he died to save when he weirdly and selfishly goes blubbering back through time to save his mommy.

    Happy to see Wally back, I really am. Also I agree with Flashfacts that this is a big victory for the Wally West fans who have genuinely been wronged by DC editorial. That feels good.

    But I am not down with DC: Rebirth #1 at all. I don’t have much faith in Johns, but I sure hope he has plans to spin this Watchmen angle into something wildly different than it appears. Otherwise, it’s blatant disrespect to a legendary comic book and an insult, not only to comic book fans, but to the entire comic book medium.

    The boycott continues.

    Reply
    1. Dallin Turner

      Ironically, Johns isn’t going to stick around for any of the credit or criticism from this “new direction” for DC, since he’s going to apparently be focusing on the movies now. I find it very odd that DC would Johns launch this whole Rebirth thing and then not stick around to oversee it.

      But yeah, I agree with your criticisms. Blaming Watchmen is a strange copout. And the return of Wally is exciting, but it comes with a price. We now have two Wally Wests, one white and one black. One with the Titans and one with the Teen Titans. And to make it even more confusing, we’re going to now say the uncle of the black Wally is now actually his dad. How long is that going to last?

      Reply
    2. Flashfacts

      I don’t know if I’d say that DC is disrespecting Watchmen. They seem like the obvious choice to represent darker and more mature tones in comics. I don’t think quality or blame has anything to do with what they are trying to say.

      When I think of DC and those types of comics the two which pop instantly into my head are Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns. An older and gruffer Batman wouldn’t have the same impact or meaning as Dr. Manhattan in a time stealing, universe changing epic. A new villain would also be kind of lame in this scenario.

      We don’t know yet what role the Watchmen will actually play yet but introducing them in this way is something that hasn’t been done before, will get people talking and gets it’s point across to even more casual fans. I think it’s rather smart actually.

      Reply
    3. Lee H

      “just so that the same character can pervert the entire universe he died to save when he weirdly and selfishly goes blubbering back through time to save his mommy”

      I’ve never understood this argument.

      Nora Allen wasn’t murdered in the original timeline. A time travelling villain did that. Barry went back to RESTORE the timeline, not change it.

      Reply
    4. Kelson

      It does seem rather disingenuous to blame the darkness of the last five-to-ten years on a book from thirty years ago, doesn’t it.

      Reply
    5. Kelson

      On second thought, there’s a definite through-line in the movies, with Zack Snyder’s Watchmen feeding into the darker tone and aesthetic of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman…

      Reply
  5. Steve

    Bought Rebirth #1 and watched the Flash season finale in the same day. Lonsdale is killing it in the show as TV Wally, and the Classic Wally returns to greatness in the DCU. Not only that, but we have the beginnings of a genuine Flash family again, with him, Barry, and KF Wally.

    As if to serve as a counterpoint to big things happening fast, the Vendetti/Van Jensen ended their slog with yet another miniscule advancement in the life of New 52 Wally. While solicits hype him “springing into action!” all he did was take apart a robot. That’s it. Maybe two panels of action, and he never suited up or fought any bad guys directly. This was their last chance to use the character, and they underutilized him yet again. Here’s what makes me bitter: this whole time, DC publicity was extolling the character as the next Kid Flash, recycling the single cover image of his alternate future self again, and again, and again as if the actual character were a superhero. Two plus years and he still isn’t. The old Wally West was finally brought back, and the new one has yet to even begin his life as Kid Flash. He has powers, but has done nothing entertaining with them. That’s how inexcusably inept DC has been with handling the character. They promote Keinan Lonsdale as an adaptation of the new 52 Wally, and there is still no real source material to adapt. No decent new 52 Wally stories. No New Kid Flash stories at all. Classic Wally returned before NuWally had any adventures in costume. That is how poorly the character was handled by Vendetti/VanJensen.

    Reply
    1. Veronica

      NuWally or Kanye West was never anything more than a token character. He was a part of the forced diversity at DC, which going by sales, just didn’t work. Personally as a Black reader I found to be patronizing. It didn’t help things that they turned they turned him into a stereotypical hoodlum and a brat. Honestly I would rather see no Black characters in a story than to see them written in a way that makes me cringe with embarrassment. What I am happy about is that they’ve brought back the old/original Wally and made Kanye into a new character, which what should have been done in the first place. Time will tell how popular Kanye becomes, but I guess that he will be eventually just forgotten or reduced to wall paper character on Titans.

      Reply
  6. Dallin Turner

    Why do we have two Wallys and zero Barts?! Ugh. I guess I’m supposed to be excited, but I’m not. Flashpoint was a big, fun, splashy event, with many promises that DC “would get things right” afterward. What’s different this time? How am I supposed to believe this company will live up to all its promises? They couldn’t even keep the story straight on their promotions for Rebirth, initially showing a bunch of shadows that seemed to include Jay Garrick. But then they “revealed” the shadows to show an entirely different group of characters without Jay.

    Yes, the Rebirth issue was good. But a couple of things still bug me. One, why didn’t Wally try to find Barry first? He went to everyone else in the world, then finally to Barry only after he had given up on life.

    Two, why didn’t Batman learn more about the Joker while he was on the Mobius Chair? He was on that thing for like a week, and the second question he asked was who the Joker is. The chair apparently told him there are three Jokers, to which Batman cried out, “That’s impossible!” … And then he neglected to ask a single follow up question to that. And don’t tell me he didn’t have time, because he spent a whole issue cleaning up crime in Gotham with that chair.

    Reply
  7. Wayne Lippa

    While I enjoyed DCU: Rebirth (a lot), I am kind of scratching my head that Johns had Wally come out of the Speed Force when the the end of the Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost miniseries literally showed pre-Flashpoint Bart Allen being pulled into the Speed Force in the midst of Flashpoint. It would have made more sense to me to see pre-Flashpoint Bart come out. I realize, though, that that may not have had quite the impact as Wally returning.

    Reply
    1. Kelson

      As with a lot of Johns’ stuff, there’s a meta-textual element here: Wally symbolizes both the hope and the legacy that they’re bringing back.

      Reply
    2. AuldFart

      “There’s someone else in here with me, I try to grab onto them…”

      Paraphrasing, essentially, but Wally actually says there’s someone else with him in the speedforce. Could be Bart!

      Reply
  8. Kelson

    I’m still a few issues behind on the main series. The Venditti/Jensen run just hasn’t done it for me, I guess.

    DCU: Rebirth … I loved the Wally stuff. Great to see him back with at least his early history intact, hoping that we’ll get at least some of his later character growth in. And that he and Linda will still have a future.

    Funnily enough, the page that made me smile the most was when he watches his cousin rescue someone and then revel in the awesomeness of having just saved someone’s life with super-speed. It reminded me of Dash Parr letting loose in The Incredibles.

    Some of the random setup bits were confusing because they clearly expected me to know more about current events. I can pick up some things from context, but found myself wondering about when they brought Steel in, or who the woman was talking about Diana’s sister.

    They at least seem to understand what’s missing from the New 52 that they need to bring back: hope and history/legacy. Going back to the JSA and forward to the Legion, symbolized by Wally West, who both achieved his dreams and bridged two generations of heroes.

    But ending on setting up a confrontation with the characters from Watchmen as the over-arching direction for the DCU over the next however long…that left a sour taste, and makes it hard to feel optimistic about all the, well, optimism they were trying to set up.

    Reply
  9. Kelson

    If I understand correctly, “Titans Hunt” set it up so that a lot of the classic Titans did exist in the early years of the New 52 but were erased before we picked things up 5 years after the founding of the Justice League.

    So this is the rebooted New 52 version of redheaded Wally West, only his time in the speed force has allowed him to remember his pre-Flashpoint life as well. He couldn’t jog Linda’s memory because they’d never met in this timeline. He could reach Barry because they had, but Barry’s memories had been suppressed.

    Does that sound right?

    Reply
    1. Lee H

      Yeah, Titans Hunt revealed that the original Teen Titans existed in New 52. In order to defeat Mister Twister, Omen had to erase the world’s memories of the Teen Titans.

      Then they reunited in the present day and started to remember. At the end of the last issue, they realised that there was someone missing, but couldn’t remember who. Then there was a flash of lightning.

      It would seem that Wally got trapped in the Speed Force the same time Omen erased people’s memories. Whilst in the Speed Force, Wally gained knowledge of the old universe.

      When Barry remembered Wally, he remembered the “Titans Hunt” gang. Barry was also wearing his New 52 costume in his memories.

      So this is a New 52 Wally. Everyone forgot about him because of Mister Twister and Omen. He got trapped in the Speed Force and gained knowledge of the Flashpoint and his old life. He escaped the Speed Force and that knowledge faded away.

      Reply
  10. Kelson

    Also, does anyone else remember “Tangent: The Joker’s Wild” — a 1998 comic in which the Tangent Universe’s Joker’s personality variations and ability to be all over the city are explained by there being three Jokers?

    Reply

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