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The Flash: Rebirth #6 [Review]

Fastest Man Alive

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Ethan Van Sciver
Inkers: Ethan Van Sciver & Scott Hanna
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Colorist: Brian Miller of Hi-Fi
Colored by: Brian Miller of Hi-Fi
Cover by: Ethan Van Sciver
Assistant Editor: Chris Conroy
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Published by: DC Comics

This mini started out billed as a 5-issue series. Then it got expanded to 6 issues. This sixth/final issue comes basically 10 months after #1 shipped. Frankly, the issue–while something I’d like to…well, like…seems to be something that ought to have been wrapped up long before now.

Story-wise, we open on Barry and Wally chasing Zoom through time–the latter has vowed to kill Iris, the former are trying to stop him. Of course, the duo catch the villain and ensure he won’t threaten anyone ever again (well, for the rest of THIS issue, at least…it’s a comic. He’s gonna come back!). Then they return home where there’s a parade for Barry…I believe the one he was nervous about way back in issue #1. And what would a re-insertion of a classic character into contemporary continuity be without the “validation” of the Justice League affirming the return and his place with them?

The art for this issue–while good–lacks a certain sense of greatness, and isn’t nearly as appealing as I’d’ve hoped. Perhaps the lateness of the issue would suggest time was taken to really make it pop, or something. Even on a couple of the huge full-page/double-spread shots, I’m not entirely clear what’s being shown, though they make a little more sense when I take time to go back and “study” them, looking for what they COULD be, beyond what simply looking at them AS I read the story gives me. There’s one that I’m not sure if it’s being suggested that this chase through time IS the lightning that gave Barry his powers in the first place (which would seem to be a time paradox), or if they’re just viewing it, or if it’s just there to fill out the page and clue us in that they’ve reached the earliest time OF Barry’s time as The Flash.

The story itself mostly ties up the broadest of loose ends, but already sets the stage for not only the return of Zoom to active status, but also someone called “Doctor Alchemy,” who I presume is some largely un-used silver-age Flash villain that’s gonna be raised up to show us how awesome he can be, much as was done with Black Hand in Green Lantern (though I’m not expecting lightning to strike twice, in this case). Johns seems to have a definite love for the character, which I applaud…but this series in itself has done far too little to “sell” me on Barry as the primary Flash character (seems if anything, it’s been Johns using Barry to such good effect with Hal in Green Lantern and the core Blackest Night book that’s sold me at all on the merit of having Barry around.

Obviously, if you’ve already bought the first five issues, this issue’s one that you might as well consider picking up for the sake of completing the series. It’s in no way a selling point in itself though for the series, and based on this issue alone I’d suggest ignoring it. The collected volume will probably read much better, with the wait between issues stretching a mere turning of a page or two rather than months, and the whole of the story will be fresher in one’s head and thus probably feel more coherent.

As a whole, this issue’s quite a disappointment, a lukewarm ending to what should’ve been a hot series.

Story: 4/10
Art: 7/10
Overall: 5.5/10

The Flash: Rebirth #3 [Review]

Rearview Mirrors

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Colorist: Brian Miller
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Chris Conroy
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover: Ethan Van Sciver, Alex Sinclair (variant by Van Sciver & Brian Miller)
Publisher: DC Comics

The “Rebirth” bit is losing its shine with me here. While expectations have been that the trumpeted return of Barry Allen is the focus of this series–that he’d be restored as Hal Jordan was to Green Lantern in that title’s “Rebirth” mini–my expectations are steadily dropping.

This issue sees reaction to Barry apparently interacting with the speed force in such a way that others tapping into it are dying as his body seeks more and more speed power, in an almost vampiric sorta way. While everyone else hustles to figure a way to separate Barry from the speed force–sure, he’d lose the speed, but at least he’d be ALIVE–Barry determines to go his on sacrificial course…one that puts him back in the familiar role of essentially racing Superman. The issue’s ending puts Barry face to face with who the villain of the piece likely is, in a way that also reminds me very much of the Green Lantern: Rebirth series.

The story, somehow–perhaps I just don’t want to like it–seems one of the weakest I can think of from Johns. While I’d known Kyle as Green Lantern longer than Hal, I’d still known Hal as Green Lantern first. However, the first real exposure I had to the Flash, it was Wally–and in restrospect, had BEEN Wally for bout 3 years before I owned my first comic. While the situation presented in this story is mildly interesting, I do not find Barry himself interesting…certainly not the way I did Hal. And I make the comparisons given the creative team and the title of this series–obviously meant to BE compared to GL:R.

The art by Van Sciver–ESPECIALLY the cover–is top-notch; I really can’t complain about it. Much as Van Sciver brought in the glowing/projected imagery for the GLs of the Lantern logo, he brings that to bear on the Flash with the lightning. Not that it’s original, but something about it really pops.

As a whole, this is a higher quality book than the first couple issues of the post-Bart-as-Flash title that I actually read. It’s not bad for those new to the Flash family of characters (I am myself learning more of the character grouping than I’d known of them prior), so overall accessible to new readers. It’s just lacking a certain excitement and enjoyment factor. With Green Lantern, it felt like the return/rebirth of Hal Jordan mattered. With Barry…it feels like we’re looking for a reason FOR his return to matter.

Story: 7/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 8/10

The Brave and the Bold #23 [Review]

Shadows of Tomorrow

Writer/Artist: Dan Jurgens
Finished Inks: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Brian Miller of Hi-Fi
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Assoc. Editor: Chris Conroy
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover: Jurgens, Rapmund, and Tom Chu
Publisher: DC Comics

It’s been a long time since I picked up any issues of this series–it’s one that seemed to have a promising concept, but just didn’t strike me as “mattering” all that much, and so I didn’t keep up beyond the first couple issues and a random issue or two I’ve scored from a bargain bin. This issue is one in which the cover was extremely influential–far, far moreso than most comics (since I usually walk into the store already having decided what I’m going to buy).

This one I saw on the shelf, and the combination of the cover image and the characters being put together (Booster Gold & Magog) made for something I was actually interest in checking out. The cover image of a grim Magog–shadowed face, angry-Booster reflected in his armor–reminds me a bit of that classic Wolverine vs. Hulk cover (whether it was intended to or not). I’ve enjoyed the most recent incarnation of the Booster Gold series, and his post-52 status quo has been interesting and really done a lot for the character in my mind–giving him a lot more purpose and credibility. And given the events at the tail end of the Thy Kingdom Come epic in Justice Society, I’m quite interested in seeing how the “new” Magog is handled, as there’s more to this version of the character than what had been running around the DCU for much of the past decade.

This issue opens with Booster and Skeets racing to the time lab in response to alarms, and finding mentor/leader Rip Hunter materializing, apparently in battle with someone. Working the Time Platform, they isolate Rip, bringing him back without his assailant…but with a scrap of a Superman costume from another time/world. When Rip forbids Booster from investigating Magog’s future (the assailant), Booster decides he can at least begin researching Magog in the present. Booster’s investigation leads to an encounter with Magog where the two–with vastly different methods–attend to a hostage situation and terrorists.

On the whole, this issue really felt like an issue of Booster Gold. Jurgens and Rapmund on writing/art are quite familiar to me recently for their work on the Booster Gold title. That said, the art for this issue is quite enjoyable–the visuals by this creative team make for my favorite depiction of Booster & co., and the take on Magog leaves me with no problems, either.

The story, too, felt like (despite being a single-issue/on-off tale) it really belongs in an issue of Booster Gold (and would have been a perfect filler in place of what we got in Booster Gold #20. As the creator of the character, Jurgens knows the character and supporting cast, and seems to have a good grasp of what makes for a good story with them. He also adds some depth to Magog, and sets up what could be an interesting relationship between Booster and Magog, given the nature of the characters and time travel.

This seems a great issue to snag for a single-issue enjoyable read. It doesn’t seem to be directly continued from any prior cliffhanger, and it leaves on a satisfying ending that does not require one to jump right into the next issue for a cliffhanger’s resolution. As a one-shot, regularly-priced ($2.99) comic, this is easily the best comic of the week for me.

Highly recommended for readers of Booster Gold, or fans of either character.

Story: 8.5/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 9/10

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