Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash that sacrificed himself to save the universe from the Anti-Monitor during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, has returned to life. But why? And why do the other wielders of the Speed Force keep having tragedy befall them? And what does The Flash's arch-nemesis, Professor Zoom, have to do with it?
First, a little history lesson. As I've mentioned in a couple reviews in the past, the first comic book I consciously remember picking out for myself was an issue of DC Comics Presents featuring Superman teaming up with Robin. What I've never mentioned before is that when I began getting comics second hand at flea markets and yard sales, they were issues of The Flash, many featuring art by Carmine Infantino. While I was young when Barry Allen sacrificed himself during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, I understood that Wally West picking up the Flash mantle was significant.
So why was I skeptical when I heard Geoff Johns was reviving Barry Allen much in the way he revived Hal Jordan? For one thing, I thought everyone on the planet had accepted Wally West as the new Flash. Barry had been gone for 23 years, rivaling Bucky's death for length of staying dead. Heck, I wasn't too crazy about Johns bringing Hal Jordan back either. Well, for nostalgia reasons, I gave The Flash: Rebirth a shot anyway and I'm glad I did.
The Flash: Rebirth is the story of a man out of time, much like Captain America was portrayed during the 1960's when he was first brought back. Barry knows he was brought back for a reason and thinks it's to solve his mother's murder and clear his father's name. Little does he know...
As I get older, super speed is one of the super powers I'd most like to have, and Johns and the artist, Ethan Van Sciver, know how to use it to it's fullest in a story, both visually and conceptually. I loved the revelation about the origin of the Speed Force and the murderer of Barry Allen's mother. Lots of speedsters past were brought back and used better than they have been in years. I expected Wally and the rest to be swept under the rug when Barry returned but they all got decent screen time.
That's pretty much all I can reveal without spoiling the core of the story. If you've ever been interested in the Barry Allen version of the Flash, this one isn't to be missed. It's an easy four for what it is.
Also, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner is superior to Hal Jordan. Just sayin'.