Review: The Flash: Rebirth #1

Writer – Joshua Williamson, Artist – Carmine Di Giandomenico

Note: This review contains spoilers for DC Universe: Rebirth #1.

The first week of DC’s Rebirth specials have focused on setting up the new direction for the ongoing titles they are associated with, but The Flash: Rebirth special instead expands and continues the core story of the event itself. This makes sense, as both Flashes – Barry Allen and Wally West are at the center of the Rebirth event.

The story starts with Barry at a crime scene similar to his mother’s murder, where he has disturbing visions of Professor Zoom and Wally West. Barry discusses his concerns over these visions with his father before settling back into his regular daily routine.

Then we get into the centerpiece of the story. Once again, we get to see the reunion of Barry and Wally, but this time we see it from Barry’s perspective. It’s a touching scene, where Barry’s joy to have Wally back in his life reflects the joy of Wally’s fans to have him back in the DCU.

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We are also given a bit more information than the DC Universe: Rebirth special had given us previously. Wally confirms that there is still much that he and Barry don’t remember, but he still remembers being married to Linda Park. This leaves open the possibility that his tenure as the Flash might yet be reclaimed as part of the official DC canon, depending on how the Rebirth story develops.

Despite Barry’s urging, Wally decides that he isn’t ready to talk to his Aunt Iris, as he cannot face the possibility that she might not remember him. Instead, Wally decides to seek out the original Teen Titans and compare notes – which should prove fruitful, since the Titans have been faced with recovered memories that contradict New 52 canon.

While Wally leaves to do this, Barry reaches out to Batman. They don’t arrive at any conclusions, but they agree that they should work together to get to the root of the mystery.

Then the story ends with the revelation that one of Barry’s most dangerous foes has returned.

The Good:

I loved almost everything about this issue. One thing is the appearance of the Flash’s costume. It appears that Barry’s costume has backed off a bit from the armour-like New 52 version, and looks a lot more like the classic Silver Age costume, but with a bit of the New 52 style added.

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On the subject of costumes, I love that Wally’s Kid Flash costume is exactly as it originally appeared in the Silver Age rather than a retroactively updated New 52 version like Dick Grayson’s New 52 Robin outfit.

I also liked the observation that Barry feels a connection to Batman due to the fact that they both are forensic scientists. Otherwise, the Flash and Batman are almost opposites: Barry is a bright an optimistic powerhouse, while Batman is a dark brooding avenger. However, they can connect on this shared professional interest.

But my favourite part of the story is the affirmation that Wally is a Flash. He’s not being stepped back to being Kid Flash, and despite the new costume, it appears he is not being given a new non-Flash identity. During his time as the Flash – especially during the Mark Waid era, we saw Wally move out of Barry’s shadow and earn his place as Barry’s successor. It is gratifying to see that DC recognizes this.

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The Bad:

I can’t find anything to fault about this story. I would have liked to see Wally’s reunion with Iris, but there will be plenty of time for that as the Wally’s story continues through the Rebirth storyline.

The Verdict:

Overall, a solid issue. DC’s Rebirth event continues to please. The commitment to returning the best of the old is manifest in respect being given to Wally. DC has realized that both Wally and Barry can be the Flash without any detriment to either.

5outof5

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.