Flash: Rebirth #2 (July, 2009)
Writer – Geoff Johns
Art – Ethan Van Sciver
Letters – Rob Leigh
Colors – Alex Sinclair
Edits – Chris Conroy, Joey Cavalieri
Cover Price: $3.99
Well, leave it to me to start an ambitious (ambitious for the late-2023 version of me, anyway) little project during a busy holiday week. During our final pre-Thanksgiving “clean sweep” of the house, my short-stack of Flash: Rebirth books were snapped up from the coffee table, and stowed away… somewhere. I’ll admit I didn’t look too terribly hard for them… but, when I finally got around to it, it took a bit of doing. I wasn’t gunning for “daily” coverage, but… jeez, I assumed I’d be able to do a little bit better than monthly. Apologies.
Been doing a bit of a Chris is on Infinite Earths “revisit” kick, rereading old stuff… tidying up the place a bit. This time of year kind of lends itself to reflection and what-not, doesn’t it? This little site wasn’t ever anything to write home about… but, I tell ya what, I really miss the fella I was during the “hey-day” of daily discussions. I miss connecting with people… and, hell, just connecting with myself through this silly little hobby. It’s been a bit of a rough patch for me personally these past 12-18 months. No real sign of there being a light at the end of the tunnel just yet… but, we do the best we can. Here’s to a brighter 2024.
Anyway, with all that dreariness out of the way… howsabout we get into the second issue of Flash: Rebirth?
We open in one of my least favorite Flash-comic-locales… Gorilla City. If you’ve followed my stuff, you’ll know there are a handful of places in the DC or Marvel Universe that cause my rapidly-declining eyes to glaze over. Gorilla City is definitely one of ’em. Anyway, here we see some pretty cool Flash cave art, depicting black lightning bolts emerging from Barry-Flash’s lightning bolt emblem and hitting the rest of the Flash fam. From here, we hop over to the Balkans to meet up with Ivana Molotova, Lady Flash… as she’s attempting to make contact with the recently-crispified-critter we know as Savitar. She whips something up and is able to bear witness to his final moments and powderfication at the unwitting hands of Barry Allen.
Speaking of Barry, let’s check back in on him… as he sits next to the cremains of Savitar. As Hal Jordan arrives on the scene, Barry warns him not to come too close, lest he be crispified as well. Barry notes that his “death-touch” or whatever didn’t affect Sav’s metal mask… only his flesh. Hal takes the remains as Barry heads off to chat up Wally about his “perp”, Savitar. I know Barry’s a cop (or cop-adjacent), but I don’t think I’m digging him referring to a supervillain… even one as ineffective as Savitar… as a “perp”. That seems a bit try-hard to me. Anyway… Barry’s off, and during a pass-by of Iris’ house, sees that there’s a police car outside. This causes him to flash-back to the recent-retcon concerning his mother’s murder… which, also feels a little bit “try-hard”… almost like it’s cribbing on “blood and pearls” outside a showing of Zorro. The flashback (and retcon) doesn’t end there, however, as Barry then recalls the day he first met Iris. It takes a fair bit of liberty with the original take… but, it’s harmless enough not to ruin anybody’s day. It just moves their meeting day up to the day of Barry being struck by lightning, rather than the day after. It also gives us a bit more context regarding the Nora Allen “cold case”.
Back in the present, Barry enters Iris’s house and chat up the visiting Captain Frye. It’s here we learn that Barry’s death and absence has been explained as his being in witness protection (this is all thanks to Wonder Woman’s connections in the government). Barry isn’t too sure how he feels about any of this… he says that the world moved on while he was gone, denoting that there’ll be a bit of difficulty and discomfort if he tries to “pick up where he left off”. Also, we mustn’t forget that our man believes himself to be on “borrowed time”, just waiting to be sucked back into the Speed Force.
The conversation grows more and more uncomfortable before being interrupted by a Wally West phone call. He reports in that the entire Flash family just suffered speed-seizures… which we saw at the very end of the previous ish. From here, Barry and Wally head off to Fallville, Iowa… where a crazy lightning storm is going down. Fallville, by the by, is the town Barry Allen was born in. During the run, Barry mentions that he didn’t feel anything when the rest of the Flash Fam was struck with seizures.
Upon arrival, our Speedsters find themselves attacked by Lady Flash. No sooner does Barry lay hands on her than she’s rendered into dust. We close out with the revelation that Barry Allen has become the new vessel for the Black Flash.
So, you might be asking: Just what in the hell is a Black Flash? Ya know, up until not too long ago, I’d have been asking that same question myself. This is kind of a “deep cut” reveal. The Black Flash doesn’t make all that many appearances (though, I swear, at least half of those experiences are somehow considered its “first appearance”… good luck snagging any of those for a decent price). The concept of the Black Flash is pretty interesting… and, we’ll be fleshing it out as we go on. Part of me wonders, though… how did this reveal “land” with less savvy/knowledgeable Flash fans back in 2009? I suppose there was always a Wiki or two to peruse.
We’re still building the story at this point, though I must say, it’s sidestepping the feeling of decompression quite well. Like, somehow not much has happened yet… though, at the same time, lots of stuff has! It’s pretty weird, but I’m digging the feel and flow here.
It ain’t perfect though.
For one thing, if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear this was a conscious effort to wipe out Wally’s Rogues Gallery. In two issues, we see the dustification of Savitar and Lady Flash. If I’m Killg%re or Murmur, I know I ain’t gonna be in any rush to get involved in this. With the power of hindsight (and the upcoming DC Comics toilet-flush), this is naturally less of a concern/worry… hell, members of Wally’s Rogues Gallery actually outlived Wally himself!
The retcons. Hmm… I’m a little bit conflicted. I don’t necessarily mind them, but I feel like we’re already overdoing it. Not talking about Barry and Iris’ first meeting being bumped up a day… that really doesn’t hurt much of anything. The Nora Allen murder though… I dunno. Maybe because I know where it’s heading… and how it’ll be the catalyst for the aforementioned New-52! toilet-flush… but, it already feels like this bit of retcon is, uh, “insisting upon itself”, if that makes any sense?
Overall though, I’m still enjoying this. Really, at this point, it’s just a story… because, who can even say what’s in or out of continuity anymore (the poor Wiki-contributors must be writing themselves in circles every single week with how slipshod, nebulous, and contradictory it all is nowadays). As a story though, it’s neat and well-drawn.
Will hopefully get back to this in the coming days… though, if I wind up vanishing into the Speed Force myself, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas/Holiday Season.