Tag Archives: Max Mercury

Full Review: Flash: Rebirth #4 — “Flash Facts”

Flash: Rebirth #4 Standard Cover

Well, I said I wanted this issue to knock my socks off, and Geoff Johns & Ethan Van Sciver certainly delivered! After three issues of setup, Flash: Rebirth #4 kicks the story into high gear. Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash, stands revealed as the villain behind Barry Allen’s troubles, the mythology of the speed force expands, and everyone gets involved in a high-stakes battle for the legacy of the Flash.

The Professor is In

I’ve never been a huge fan of the Reverse Flash. Sure, there’s a reason the evil counterpart is a standard villain type. For one thing, it’s always interesting to see what a villain can do with the same powers but no scruples (as demonstrated admirably when Lex Luthor and the Flash have their minds switched in “The Great Brain Robbery” episode of Justice League Unlimited). For another, when the villain has the same powers as the hero, it cancels out the hero’s usual advantages — but the side effects of their struggle are often doubled.

The thing is, Professor Zoom always struck me as an overdone, melodramatic villain, evil or the sake of being evil — the kind who would twirl his mustache while tying Iris to the railroad tracks. Maybe that was because he never really got updated with modern storytelling the way the Rogues did, except for a single story — appropriately enough, Mark Waid’s “The Return of Barry Allen.” By contrast, I found Hunter Zolomon a much more interesting character with unusual motivations, though one who should be used sparingly. So having Zoom II taken off the playing field in Rogues’ Revenge and Zoom I brought back at the same time as his own arch-nemesis seemed, well, lazy.

This issue, however, presents a Zoom who is thoroughly menacing. Barry’s internal monologue zeroes in on the key constant in Zoom’s appearances: he’s a predatory stalker. And now he’s been reimagined as — like his opposite number — a scientist. A scientist with an obsession and no ethics committee, who has spent his life experimenting on the subject of his fixation.


There’s so much going on in this issue that the first time through I didn’t realize what a huge chunk of exposition is dropped at the beginning of the issue. For one thing, it’s interspersed with a battle. For another, despite Thawne’s academic affectations, it’s much more straight-forward than the technobabble at the beginning of the last issue.

Also: a couple of items bring home the fact that this entire miniseries (or at least what we’ve seen so far) takes place in the space of one day. The first issue established a number of celebrations and parades that were going to happen later that day — and this issue, one of the battles crashes through that parade.

I don’t think I can say much more without giving away plot points, so be warned: Spoilers after the cut.

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Speed Reading: Resurrection Poll, Happy, Dorky, Launch Sales and Photos

I’m saving up links to reviews of Flash: Rebirth #3, and I’ll post them in a few days. For now, here are some other Flash-related items I’ve stumbled across lately.

Crimson Lightning has the results from the latest poll, and respondents overwhelmingly wanted to see Max Mercury return. The next poll will be up soon, but first, they want your Flash casting ideas in the event of a Flash movie!

The Absorbascon‘s latest things that made me happy includes a couple of items from Flash: Rebirth #3.

4thletter! ponders Red Robin as compared to the days of Young Justice: “Remember when Tim Drake was a skinny little dork? And Superboy was even skinnier and dorkier? And Wonder Girl and Impulse were the skinniest and dorkiest of all? And they hung out together having skinny, dorky adventures?”

ComicsAlliance talks about rooting against the big guy in Flash: Rebirth #3.

The Beat looks at DC’s April sales, putting the success of Flash: Rebirth #1 (102K) in context with the last two Flash relaunches: Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1 (120K) and All-Flash #1 (98K), noting that “neither one of them had the benefit of the company‚Äôs most popular creator, as Rebirth arguably does.”

Every time I compare two photos of the same scene, one taken with a flash and one without, I always think of this joke. The image has been floating around long enough that I don’t know who made it.

Full Review: Flash: Rebirth #3 — “Rearview Mirrors”

Flash: Rebirth #3

Well, the good news is that this issue does read better the second time through. I’ve re-read Flash: Rebirth #1 and #2, then read #3 again. Oddly enough, I liked the first two issues better the first time through than the second, and like this one better the second time through than the first read.

The bad news is that the cliffhanger still leaves me cold.

Now it could just be relaunch fatigue. The excitement of “Geoff Johns is back! With Ethan Van Sciver!” has worn off by now, and in a sense the actual relaunch isn’t going to be for another four months or more. Flash: Rebirth isn’t so much a new direction as it is the process of changing course. It’s not the new house, it’s the act of remodeling. And you know, it would be nice to actually move into that house instead of watch the contractors working on it.

But the main purpose of Flash: Rebirth is to convince people that the new direction is worth their time. People are asking, “Why should I get involved with a series that DC has relaunched 3 times in the last 3 years? Why should I let myself get attached to this new direction when they change it every 6 months? Why should I let myself get attached to the main character when they replace him every year?” By going back to Barry Allen, the one character whose resurrection was not an option for more than 20 years, they’re making a commitment: “This time, we really mean it!” In theory, that should clear away the baggage the Flash has accumulated over the last 3 years and leave it on the same level as any other comics launch.

Which still leaves hooking the readers on the Flash, and hooking them on Barry Allen.

I don’t think I can really go into the rest of the issue without spoilers, so… you’ve been warned! Continue reading

Archive: 5 Possible Candidates for The Flash: Rebirth Mystery Villain

Originally published as a guest post on The Weekly Crisis, on June 9, 2009. Imported here after that site shut down.

The biggest question in Flash: Rebirth so far — after “What’s up with Barry’ Allens parents?” and “How the heck did Barry come back, anyway?” — is “Who is the mystery villain?”

The very first scene in issue one is a break-in at a Central City crime lab: an unseen assailant kills the CSIs and re-creates the lightning-and-chemical accident that transformed Barry Allen into the Flash. In his internal monologue, he “speaks” as if he knows Barry Allen and even claims to have brought Barry back from the dead — and that it was the worst thing he could have done to him. It’s not likely that Geoff Johns is introducing an entirely new character. So, who might he be?

What we know for sure: He’s a man, has white hair, and carries a staff tipped with a lightning-bolt-shaped blade at each end. In short, not much. Also worth noting, Barry has picked up a new, traumatic backstory, which Geoff Johns has hinted is part of a crime committed against the Flash — in short, deliberate manipulation of history. One page of the preview for issue #3 also suggests a time traveler may be involved.

There’s been a lot of discussion on various message boards and around the web about the possible candidates and I’m sure everyone’s been wondering just who the mystery villain is. As such, I’ve put together my own list of candidates and reasons why each makes sense. Hit the jump to find out who made my short list of suspects!

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Trade Contents Confirmed: Mercury Falling and The Human Race

The newsletter DC Comics Direct Channel #914 identifies the contents of the upcoming Flash Presents: Mercury Falling and Flash: The Human Race trade paperbacks.

May 2009: Flash Presents: Mercury Falling (Todd Dezago, Ethan Van Sciver) will collect Impulse #62-67. That covers the 5-issue story arc itself as well as the one-issue epilogue guest-starring the Justice League, Justice Society and Young Justice.

June 2009: Flash: The Human Race (Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Paul Ryan, Pop Mhan) will collect Flash v.2 #136-141 and a story from Secret Origins #50. The Flash issues cover both “The Human Race” and “The Black Flash.”

The Secret Origins story is undoubtedly the retelling of the classic “Flash of Two Worlds,” (Flash v.1 #123) in which Grant Morrison figured out how to incorporate the parallel-world story into a single-world setting. Unless I’ve forgotten something, this volume and Flash: Emergency Stop will cover all of Grant Morrison’s Flash solo work.

It also lists the Final Crisis hardcover coming out in June, along with the Final Crisis Companion trade paperback, which includes all the FC one-shots (including Superman: Beyond, which started as a one-shot that just got too long.) No word yet on when Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge will be collected, but there are supposed to be more summer 2009 announcements later this week.