Warning! This review contains spoilers!
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Remember Barry Allen? He was the fun, dorky, aloof police scientist that showed up in DC’s Silver Age and became The Flash, ultimatly dieing in “Crisis on Infinite Earths“. Geoff Johns is trying to bring him back to life, but unfortunatly, the Barry Allen we all know seems to be dead.
Picking up where the last issue left off, Barry’s powers are out of control, resulting in the death of Speed God Savitar, a death that had a backlash through the Speed Force felt by all other speedsters…all but Barry, that is. The issue spends most of its time avoiding this and going throught he paces of Barry reunited with Iris, and establishing that everyone believes Barry was in Witness Protection all these years. Its a much, much better issue than last week, but it also contradicts so much of the original Flash stories. Barry’s mother being murdered, and his father dieing in prison before Barry could prove he was innocent of the murder? Cool plot point, except both were alive at the end of Barry’s original series.
It seems that Johns has created his own New Earth Barry Allen, and he’s the polar opposite of the original. He’s incredibly straight laced, dead serious, and intense. He doesn’t have villains, he has perps. Barry is a stock, cut from cloth policeman now, no longer the fun dork he used to be that made things interesting. The only thing Barry seems to be feeling that makes sense is the hate towards himself that he’s returned and seemingly brought everything down.
The issue isn’t without its great moments, as well as its twists. The discussion of the history of Barry’s bowtie, while pretty unnecessary, is a joy to read for fans. And the last page, in which Barry is revealed to be the new Black Flash is a pretty big shock, but its incredibly confusing also. The implication is that the Black Flash has died because he was weaponized to be used against Darkseid, calling back to the last issue of Final Crisis. Well, okay…but wasn’t that Black Racer, the New God incarnation of Death that was used against Darkseid? Are Black Racer and Black Flash the same?
All in all, this is a much improved issue over the last issue. Hopefully, the trend will continue, with next issue slated to feature a new Flash/Superman race. Will the Black Flash be a permanent change? We’ll find out soon enough, I guess.
Final Grade: B