on 29 June 2013
As a reader of "Barry Allen era" Flash from the 1960's, I bought this as an exercise in nostalgia as much as anything, and I wanted to see how they would revive a long-dead and much loved character (is it really over 20 years since he was killed off?)
What I found was a completely new approach to the characters and story-telling. Much more aimed at adults, without resorting to crudity, bad language or excessive and graphic violence (although elements of violence exist in the story). Characters die, villains are killers, not just thieves or megalomaniacs but true psychopaths. Heroes have wives, children and all the issues involved therein. They are three dimensional, rather than the cardboard cut-out goody-goodies of the past.
Indeed, Barry Allen acknowledges than he had a black & white / no grey areas world view before his "death". Guilty or not guilty, good or bad, innocent or evil. He was, simply, too good to be true.
Part of the story involves his journey towards a more enlightened, less naive attitude. For the most part, though, it is a fast moving, action packed exploration of the so-called "speed force", with some genre-altering exposition, and a really surprising twist affecting all those who wear / have worn the Flash costume, as well as forerunners (no pun intended) like Jay Garrick and Jonny Quick.
With cameos from old villians like Captain Cold and Gorilla Grodd, as well as appearances of the Justice League stalwarts Superman, Green Arrow and Wonder Woman, this is one for old time geeks like me, as well as those new to the DC Universe.
The Kindle edition was easy to read, even on my smaller, older basic version. Recommended.
on 19 October 2014
After I had read and hugely enjoyed Green Lantern: Rebirth by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver. I became very interested in Barry Allen's resurrection. This iconic character who is about to hit TV screens in a new live action series. Writer Geoff Johns has specified that this book serves as inspiration for the new show.
The success of Green Lantern: Rebirth led to popular acclaim for its creators and allowed them to revisit the concept for another classic DC character in 2009. The Flash: Rebirth gave Barry Allen the same treatment, which it had a lot to live up to. This six-issue miniseries celebrates Barry's return to the DC Universe after a more than 23 year absence. Barry Allen died during Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 in the 1985 series. Barry's death was truly heroic and is often regarded as one of the greatest, most selfless sacrifices in superhero comics. It's probably why the character wasn't resurrected for so long. Barry became untouchable where no creator potentially taint the character's legacy.
Barry Allen's eventual resurrection doesn't change the fact that his original sacrifice to stop the Anti-Monitor from destroying the universe remains one of the DC Universes most memorable and often-referenced moments. While some heroes had died saving a loved one, others maybe there beloved city or maybe even there home planet. Barry literally saved the entire universe from being erased from existence, he became a legendary hero. This Flash was a beacon of purity and inspiration which helped fuel the Flash lineage after he was gone for over 20 years. Barry's return happened within the Final Crisis event and Flash Rebirth is the story that explores his return and the exploration of The Flash mythology.
Barry Allen has broke free from the speed force where he had been trapped and has now returned after a lengthy absence. While the stage is set for celebrations for both Barry Allen and The Flash's return, he is reluctant to do so and is still adjusting to a world where he was always felt so detached from. We see how is return has impacted the other heroes and speedsters and what he means to them. Forgoing the parties, Barry is eager to get back his role as The Flash, but all is not right for the speedster and his powers. Barry is a police forensic scientist and seeks out the mystery of what and why has corrupted his connection to the speed force and why others speedsters are being adversely affected by it. Barry's friends and family are also at risk with the change he is experiencing and flees back to the speed force to avoid harming anyone further. The Speed Force is a new addition to the Flash mythos, a major revelation in the story is about its origin. The Speed Force is a vaguely defined extra-dimensional energy force from which most, but not all, superspeed-powered heroes source their enhanced abilities.
The book and it's issue covers contain some homages and references to key moments in The Flash's history including, meeting Jay Garrick the original Flash of the Golden Age, Barry's accident, the race with Superman along with Barry's death and return. The travel through time system allows the story to refer to these moments along with the flashbacks into important events in his life as well as being integral to the story. As the nature of the story deals a tampering of the Speed Force, only one person could be responsible; Eobard Thawne/The Reverse Flash/Professor Zoom. This series brings back the classic Flash villain as Barry's ultimate nemesis that just lives to antagonize him and ruin his legacy. There is a big revelation but if you're like me have pieced it together from the episodes of The Flash TV series.
This was a hugely enjoyable and great story that reintroduced the character into a new age.Barry Allen was back and the whole Flash family had joined him for the start of a new era. It' s a big story with many supporting characters and many speedsters including Wally West, Bart Allen/Kid Flash, Jay Garrick, Wally's twins and Barry's wife Iris West-Allen along with Max Mercury the "guru" of the speed force.
Flash Rebirth successfully brought back the character that was dear to so many fans hearts without undermining his ultimate sacrifice. It maintains the same style formula of story that the creators did with their previous rebirth miniseries story line with Hal Jordan Green Lantern. Re-Introducing the character and his history while telling a epic story that is a great starting point for new flash fans thus making Barry Allen the important Flash there ever was.
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