Later than I’d hoped, as I was away chairing Mark Millar at the Glasgow Film Festival yesterday – full report on that, with some tit-bits on future projects, soon.
You can understand, given the success of bringing back Hal Jordan in Green Lantern: Rebirth, why DC (and Geoff Johns) would want to do the same thing with Barry Allen in The Flash: Rebirth. But while GL: Rebirth was expansive, even cosmic, Flash: Rebirth is curiously domestic, even static. There was a sense in GL that the rules were being rewritten (and it’s surprising reading it again, and seeing how many of the later plots were seeded in the initial saga). Flash: Rebirth is content to just re-establish the character of Barry Allen. It doesn’t help that the character had already returned in the pages of Final Crisis, giving this whole volume a latterly, subsequent feel. One of the strengths of the franchise is its Rogues Gallery, and of all of these, Professor Zoom is hardly the most complex or convincing. Indeed, the whole “origin” story involved time-travel, the murder of Barry’s mother, the stereotypical vendetta is rather contrived. (Almost as an aside: I loved the fact that in the original Silver Age origin story, Barry was obsessed with comics featuring Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash. This issue could do with some of that lightness of touch). Hopefully having dusted the character down, straightened his tie and combed his hair for a modern readership, Johns will actually start telling some interesting stories with him.
Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin #9 marks the end of the “Blackest Night” arc, and it’s a very satisfying and conclusion. Trying to explain the plot – the new Batman, Dick Grayson, has tried to resurrect Bruce Wayne, our original Batman, using a Lazarus Pit, but the corpse turns out to be one of the clones from Final Crisis – doesn’t do justice to the comic at all. Morrison’s eerie, fractured dialogue for the “broken” clone is excellent, and Damian Wayne (the new Robin) gets some cracking one-liners.
The Blackest Night tie-ins conclude with JSA #3 and the Green Arrow special. The JSA special is fine – and it’s good to see Alan Scott getting to do something (I’m crossing my fingers they haven’t dropped the ball on the future glimpse we had of him way back in Origins and Omens). The Green Arrow tie-in is a lovely homage to Andy Diggle’s Year One, and the Black Lantern version’s mocking sarcasm is far more disturbing than other examples we’ve seen – in part, perhaps, because it seems as if he’s telling the truth. The penultimate issue of the main event throws doesn’t disappoint: there are some superb Ivan Reis scenes of the entire seven corps, and a gorgeous reveal (which I won’t reveal). My only quibble is the “big secret” that’s been hinted at throughout, the revelation that is “the Guardians’ lie”. So… it turns out Life started on Earth. The chronology makes absolutely no sense – did the Guardians (supposedly the oldest beings in existence) evolve on Earth and then migrate? But hey, it is only a comic. I can’t understand why I jib at that but not at a blue space elephant or a ring that replaces cardiac functions…