[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Davide Gianfelice
Picking up where last issue left off, Kid Flash is in the Shadowlands fighting a horde of the Shade’s shadow creatures.
Back in the real world, Barry visits Iris, having promised to talk with Wally about having skipped school. Barry is surprised to learn that Iris is writing a screenplay about the Flash, and even more surprised that she considers her movie to be a horror. Apparently Iris feels that superheroes are a terrifying subject.
However, Barry and Iris discover that Wally has snuck out again, so Iris sends Barry home and goes in search of the Flash. Barry returns to Iris as the Flash, and informs her that he doesn’t know where Wally is either.
When the Flash tells her that he grounded Wally from being Kid Flash, this angers Iris, who feels it is her prerogative to make decisions like that, not his.
At this point, the Shade appears, begging the Flash for help. He tells them that Kid Flash is in the Shadowlands, which causes Iris to rush at him and disappear into the Shadowlands as well. Barry quickly follows, but instead of catching up with Iris, he finds Wally and the horde of shadow creatures.
I believe it’s significant that the Shade is featured in this story line for a number of reasons. First, he gives a good contrast for Barry’s hope and optimism. However, I also believe that Shade’s presence contains a number of hints regarding the overarching Rebirth story.
Historically, the Shade was a foe of Jay Garrick. We have seen a major hint that Jay is returning to the DC Universe in The Flash #9. While it hasn’t been specifically stated that the Shade’s history with Jay is still canon, the Shade’s backstory in this issue follows from the events of the Starman series, implying that series is still part of the DC canon. However, that series relies heavily on the Golden Age Starman’s career also being canon. Given the other hints in the Rebirth titles, it seems the Justice Society is due to be restored to DC history soon.
I am also somewhat relieved to find that the Shade’s redemptive arc from Starman wasn’t totally undone. It seems quite possible that the story may lead to his being reunited with Hope and returning to his more recent heroic role.
There seems to be a growing gap of mistrust between Barry and Young Wally, which hopefully will be resolved soon. Realistically, Barry can only keep his identity secret for a short while before Wally should start to figure it out for himself. I expect that Barry will tell him soon.
It’s clear with this issue that The Flash is central to the Rebirth storyline. Not only do we get some hints at the possible return of the Justice Society, but the idea of Barry as a beacon of hope and optimism is reflective of his classic role in the DC Universe. Reaffirming this idea, brings the character back to his core, which is the stated mission of the Rebirth storyline.