Comic Noob: The Flash – Rebirth

Because I’m a sucker for CW programming, I wanted to start getting into The Flash comics. The Flash is actually the superhero show I’m most excited by at the moment: Barry Allen is so charming, and I appreciate the scientific reasoning for metahumans vs. the mysticism that’s been happening on Arrow.

I started with Rebirth because it seemed like a good gateway comic. Writer Geoff Johns and illustrator Ethan Van Sciver had quite a task to accomplish. Bringing back a beloved character from the dead in a way that doesn’t diminish their sacrifice isn’t easy. I knew that because Barry is coming back from the dead, a lot would have to be explained about his history, and it was. I read the entire six issue series in under an hour – I was so enthralled! Time literally went by in a flash.

THE Flash
Barry Allen is considered THE Flash of all the other heroes who have gone by that name, kind of like Hal Jordan is widely considered THE Green Lantern (he’s actually a character in this comic too). I knew Jay Garrick from the TV show, but I didn’t know Wally West (Barry’s nephew) and Bart Allen (a family member from the future but who’s a kid in the comic. It’s real confusing). The family members have different reactions to Barry’s return, but it’s overall positive. The man is still widely respected even after years of being missing, which thanks to Wonder Woman’s help, the public believes is because he went into witness protection. In reality, after the saving the universe (the universe, y’all) by running super fast (really, really, really fast), Barry got lost in the Speed Force.

May the Force Be with You
The Speed Force is what speedsters tap into for their speed energy. It surrounds them and binds them together (that’ll be my only Star Wars reference. Maybe.) We find out that not much is known about the Speed Force until the end of the comic – it originated with Barry’s accident. So Barry is THE Flash and THE Force. He creates it when he uses his speed powers. This isn’t so easy, however, because Zoom is once again after him.

Zoom, zoom, zoom
In the TV show, Zoom is also referred to as Reverse Flash, and it’s the same in the comic. And like the show portrays, Zoom is out to get Barry in every way possible. Zoom is responsible for all of Barry’s troubles in life (in an almost literal way. A lot of flashbacks were used for this), and he generates negative Speed Force, which overtakes Barry’s Speed Force. Barry’s powers are out of control because of this, and the only way to stop Zoom is to bring all the Flash family together. And the Justice League!

Some Justice League members were present in this series, but noticeably absent was Batman/Bruce Wayne. This must have been a post-Dark Knight Returns world. It was fun to see the Green Arrow steal cake, the Green Lantern be BFFs with Barry, and Superman try to challenge Barry’s speed. Barry could’ve accidentally harmed his loved ones if it weren’t for the Justice League’s help. I love how they’re just a big family.

Finding your “lightning rod”
Each speedster needs a “lightning rod” to help them slow down and return to the present. When they access the Speed Force, they begin to lose themselves, so they need a person to think about to remember who they are. For Barry, it’s Iris. This reminded me a lot of finding your “constant” in LOST. Ugh. I’m still recovering from those feelz. #NotPennysBoat

Iris West, reporter
In a flashback, we learn that Iris approached Barry first because he worked in a crime lab, and she’s a crime reporter. The two go hand in hand. When they first meet, she alludes to how she’s not at Lois Lane level yet but aspires to be there. YES. I like seeing Lois being an inspiration not only to readers, but to characters in her same universe. Iris is Barry’s “constant,” as I said, but she also hasn’t aged since Barry left. The Speed Force is the best anti-aging treatment one can find out of Sephora, apparently. Her lack of aging is basically explained in this way; everything that Barry touches is in some way affected by the Speed Force.

I also bought Flashpoint and The New 52 Flash Vol. 1, and I’m very much looking forward to continuing my Flash reading! You know, whenever I have time. I’m not a speed reader like these guys!

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Angie Dahl

Angie feels about books the way Smaug feels about gold: she can never get enough and will threaten people with her fire breath if she finds any are missing. Her book collection can only be matched by her stash of lipsticks, where her favorite shade is the same color as her boxing gloves. Her ultimate goal in life is to go on a murder mystery train.

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