Written by: Joshua Williamson
Art by: Carmine Di Giandomenico, Ivan Plascencia and Steve Wands
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: June 7, 2016
There are a whole bunch of reasons why I have been hyped to get to this issue of Flash Rebirth, but most of all are my love of both The Flash and Joshua Williamson. The man made me love a genre of comics (horror) that I normally avoid like the plague so I am so eager to see what he does with one of my favorite characters. Plus, if any book is going to change after the DC Universe Rebirth Special, it would have to be this one. However, sometimes change isn't good and sometimes it doesn't come at all. So, what is the case in the Flash Rebirth? Let's find out...
The issue starts off with a crime scene and it is a familiar one. Son watched as his mom was murdered...Husband is the likely culprit...you get the point. When the reader turns the first page, however, we see it's not a flashback, but a new case. A new case that Barry Allen is determined to solve.
After Williamson's clever switcheroo, the first thing that the reader will probably notice is the art style. At this point I thought it was a style more in line with say, a Constantine book than a Flash one, but it did grow on me by the end. The second thing I noticed was Barry was a bit of a mess.
As Director Singh tells Barry the case might be a bit too personal, Barry freaks out and "sees" Wally West and then Zoom. Actually, he sees and hears them and while Barry doesn't know what's going on, Singh has seen enough and pulls Barry off the case. It's a pretty cool start to the story especially the Wally bit which ties into the Rebirth Special.
We then get a quick Barry Allen/Flash history lesson from his origin through the New 52. The New 52 part is just to let any new reader know that his father was cleared of his mother's murder and is now out of jail. Nothing here for longtime readers, but I understand why it's needed for those jumping on with Rebirth.
The reason is he goes to talk to his father about these visions. Henry offers up some theories and Williamson lays down hints that the Speed Force will be investigated during his run and Barry leaves none the wiser.
At this point, he is juggling the case (I thought Singh made it clear he was off of it?) and doing "Flash Things" when he runs into Wally West. If you read the Rebirth Special, you will know this scene because it is exactly the same scene. I said earlier that I understand why Williamson gave us Barry's origin and a little New 52 history, but this seems like overkill. Maybe I shouldn't assume that everyone has read the Rebirth Special, but really...everyone should have read the Rebirth Special!
Eventually, we get some new stuff...Wally doesn't want talk with Iris and is off to see his old Teen Titans buddies, but that all felt forced and left open-ended to get to later. It ends with a great looking homage to the Tale of Two Flashes, but even that felt a little shoved in here.
The issue ends with Barry hanging out with Bruce in the Batcave and then a hint that Zoom and the Speed Force may be involved with the murder aft3er all . I loved seeing Barry and Bruce working the case together because we never got that in the New 52, but it ends with the idea that nothing will come from it...until something needs to come from it.
That's kind of how I would sum up this entire issue. Williamson seemed stuck between wanting to lay some huge things on the reader, but not being able to do so for one reason or the other. We get Wally, but he doesn't want to go see Iris, we get Batman and Barry working the Watchmen case, but they have no leads and decide to keep it on the down low until they are more sure of things. I do like the continued ties to the Speed Force and want to see what Zoom has to do with this all, but again, it will have to wait.
I said at the start of the review that Carmine Di Giandomenico's took some getting used to and it was actually until Barry was the Flash that I was sold. From then on out, I really enjoyed the art and the way Di Giandomenico expressed the speed of the Flash. Then he gave fans the Flash of Two World's full page spread and I was sold.
Bits and Pieces:
I understand the need to get new readers up to speed (pun alert!), but Williamson doesn't do much more. He does give us the start of some huge things that will probably fuel at least one future event, but it's obvious this isn't the time for them and leaves them hanging. I liked Carmine Di Giandomenico's art style, but in the end, there just wasn't anything here that made it feel like a Rebirth for the character. It really felt like Williamson's hands were tied a bit here so I am still looking forward to the start of his run in two weeks, but this issue was my first Rebirth disappointment.