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The Flash: Rebirth Paperback – May 3, 2011
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About the Author
Geoff Johns is an award-winning writer and one of the most popular contemporary comic book writers today. Johns is the author of the New York Times best-selling graphic novels Aquaman: The Trench, Blackest Night, Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War, Justice League: Origin, Superman: Brainiac and Batman: Earth One which hit number one on the bestseller list. He is also known for transforming Green Lantern into one of the most critically and commercially successful franchises in comics. Johns has written for various other media, including episodes of Smallville, Arrow, and Adult Swim's Robot Chicken, for which he was nominated along with his co-writers for an Emmy. He is the Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment and resides in Los Angeles, California.
Ethan Van Sciver has been drawing comics and comic book characters since he was four years old. Back then, DC wouldn't return his phone calls. Now he's working with the best writer, inker, colorist, and editorial team in the business. Persistence is key. At home, Ethan likes to watch terrible old movies, listen to surf music, and play Hot Wheels with his son, Hunter. He blames his expanding waistline on the fabulous gourmet cooking of his wife, Sharis, but admits it's also probably due to a lot of long workdays putting more lines on Sinestro's face and eating cookies.
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I admit that I was skeptical about Barry Allen returning from the dead after he had been gone for so many years (especially since I had grown up with Wally West being the Flash in both the comics and on 'Justice League' and 'Justice League Unlimited '), but this story was just so exciting and enthralling...all my doubts were immediately thrown out the window! And when I saw how much influence this story had on 'The Flash' TV series, I got excited again (and was not dissapointed).
I loved this one Flash story so much that I actually bought the digital copy for my Kindle so I could take it everywhere with me (and even though I own the original printed 6-issue series). That alone should tell you how great it is!
I think my biggest complaint is with the artwork. While the artist excels at action scenes (there were a couple of really beautiful frames, one being when Barry was running on water, every tiny rivulet of water was lovingly hand drawn, and when Wally and Barry were being torn apart by the Speedforce, very creative, very engaging, lovely panels), he struggles to maintain women's faces. I kid you not, there was a panel where I would NOT have recognizes Iris West if not for context and hair color. And Nora Allen? *shudders at the thought* The artist tried to draw her at a challenging angle and ended up drawing her like a melting crone. The notable exceptions to the artist's "can't consistently draw women" rule are Irey West and Jesse Quick - proving that he is only capable of drawing little girls and super hot chicks.
But I think I take particular issue with the design of Barry Allen. This might be my own personal beef with DC/Marvel comics in general, but how come all the superheroes look professional wrestlers? Like, ok, sure, their superpowers make them mad buff, but what about Barry Allen BEFORE he got his powers (through a ridiculous and apparently very reproducible lab accident involving lightning - coming in through the window? - and a bunch of chemicals, making Barry Allen basically DC's Power Puff Girl). Barry was a CSI geek, who basically lived at the lab trying to solve his Mom's murder, when exactly did he have the time and the inclination to hit the gym and become mad swole? For someone who was supposed to be super slow and a total dork, he looked suspiciously like John Cena. And even after he got his powers, I mean, come on, that's just bad character design. His mad all-over muscles connote super-strength, not super-speed. For Superman I totally get the body-builder physique, but for a Speedster I'd expect him to be streamlined, have a runner's body. It's just lazy artistry: "I'm drawing a superhero? Oh, I clearly should draw him like 90's Arnold Schwarzenegger" without even taking into consideration his a) day job, b) super powers, or c) personality. Very disappointing.
The writing is preachy and full of MacGuffins but is a pretty good summary of everything that's happened in the Flash storylines up to this point so you can read from Rebirth on and be pretty clear on events. Art is beautiful on action sequences but suffers in character design, especially that of Barry Allen, and consistency of female characters.
Very bland, but if you want to get into the Flash without starting in 1950, it's a good jumping off point. Also, I think I've decided Wally West is a much more interesting Flash than Barry Allen, if this story is anything to go by.
Unfortunately I can't say the same about this sequence. Apparently there's a lot of complicated continuity that I've missed over the last 25 years, and if you haven't been following this, you will probably have no idea what's going on here. It's extremely talky, with a lot of dialogue and discussion and exposition but not much plot. I read the first half and put it aside.
I'll give it 3 stars because I really like the artwork ---- great layouts and inking --- but the story is convoluted and uninvolving. There's just too much detail for someone who isn't "in the know" to follow the story, and there's way too much talk.