Review: Flash: Rebirth #3

 

Since the Wally-lover handled the last issue, I thought it’d be a nice change of pace if an actual Barry-lover (Yes, I’m a hundred years old, you young whippersnapper) reviewed this issue. Having said that, let’s get the bad out of the way first.

The Bad: This issue came with the promise of some kind of big Superman/Flash race. Yeah, that lasts about a splash-page, fitting, I suppose, since the Flash is so damn fast. However, where this issue does seem to meander a bit is in Barry himself. Now, as a big fan of Barry’s, I couldn’t be happier, but some of the youngins have never read a single Barry comic. Will they care? Probably not. To them, they’re paying to see an old man reminisce about bow ties. And what doesn’t help is the fact that we’ve seen so little action so far.

The Good: Johns has done a good job of modernizing Barry. He’s from the Silver Age. Barry is a consummate hero, and that’s “boring” to today’s audiences. So, Johns’ main goal is to try to give Barry new purpose. We’re seeing the part Barry plays in the Flash family dynamic. We see that Barry still has an unsolved case to solve. We may also see the return of some old Barry villains. Also, the fact that Barry himself keeps asking “Why am I here?” is a very smart move in that it helps answer the fan’s questions, and makes him more relatable. Though every issue has been near-actionless, at least they all have a cool last page. This one is no different. Oh, and Sciver is still rendering the best work of his career.

Final Word: This is the best issue yet. As a Barry fan, I’m happy and touched to see Barry alive and running again. I just worry about the Wally and Bart fans. Johns has tried to please them, but I’m not sure they’re sold yet.

Grade: A-

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11 Responses to Review: Flash: Rebirth #3

  1. seventhsoldier says:

    I’m so glad I didn’t read more than a single issue of this, because everything in your ‘good’ column is something that I consider to be some of the worst aspects of modern comics, and Johns in particular. The obsession with horrible last-pages that rarely work in context to the issue itself and read horribly outside of a monthly format, the obsession with making EVERYONE gritty, the belief that tragedy is the only motivator, the ceaseless angst – these are the things that make me despise a lot of modern mainstream comics.

    Guess what, Johns. I’m a good person. My dad didn’t knife-rape my mom, my parents weren’t murdered in front of me, and my wife’s twins weren’t murdered by a friend I failed to save. I am not a librarian because the library provided shelter after my dad took his belt to me, and I don’t love books because the one in the pocket of my jacket in high school slowed down a knife enough to save my life after I was jumped in the street and assaulted by two of my closest childhood friends.

    • dclebeau says:

      You forgot to explain your love of bowties.

      Johns devotes even more time to explaining Barry’s bow ties!

  2. […] you want to read a positive review of this issue, click here.  For a review from someone who doesn’t wet himself every time Johns puts pen to paper, read […]

  3. brucecastle says:

    @DC: “You forgot to explain your love of bowties.

    Johns devotes even more time to explaining Barry’s bow ties!”

    Yeah, for a page. Calm yourself.

    @Seventh:

    Modernizing: I used that word, and that’s probably what pissed you off. Johns isn’t really changing Barry, just having him react to the situation he’s in. Yes, Johns did add some tragedy in Barry’s life, but, I suppose, only to give him a new, driven purpose as a hero. Ok, it is a bit frustrating. I’ll give you that. Though, shouldn’t we wait until the end of the series first? Flash have dealt with time before. What if this is all a set-up for Barry to go back and save his parents? That’s a good heroic story.

    Last Page Shock: Again, I see where you’re coming from, but consider this:

    Comics are episodic in nature, and every episode needs a climax. Yes, if said climax didn’t fit with the story, that would be a problem, but I think it does here.

    • dclebeau says:

      The bow tie thing was dumb the first time Johns did it. Doing it again in the next issue was laughable.

      I don’t know Seventh Soldier, but I’m fairly confident he would not like this book. I think his first response to your review is probably pretty dead-on what his response to the book would be.

  4. seventhsoldier says:

    But the climax doesn’t come on the last page, and certainly not on the last page of a serialized story. Climax is generally followed by falling action and then denouement. Climax isn’t the end of a story, and certainly every chapter should end on a climax.

    Admittedly, that formula of storytelling isn’t terribly modern and thus isn’t applicable, but the idea behind it DOES fit – you don’t end on climax. Well, okay, porn does, in more ways than one, but no other bit of scripted fiction really does.

    Because it is a serialized medium that wants to keep going as long as possible, you want to make sure that your readers keep coming back month to month. The idea is to never give them a 100% solid dropping off point – you should constantly be seeding B, C, or even D stories in your issues that build over time, so that by the time Superman finally manages to beat Lex Luthor, that story Lois has been working on at the Planet the whole time really explodes into something huge.

    Johns, however, tends to just smack you at the end of every issue. It’s a blatantly manipulative device meant to make his work seem ‘cool’ but one that falls apart as soon as you have the next issue in hand, or, God forbid, a trade.

    It isn’t the word ‘modernizing’ that pisses me off. Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Ed Brubaker – these guys can tell thoroughly modern stories using modern storytelling formats without resorting to cheap tricks. I don’t care if the issue is time travel – if you want to tell a mystery in a serialized format, you have to let on that there is, in fact, a mystery. Otherwise, why should anyone care? There very probably is – Johns and co. have hinted as such on forums multiple times.

    Do you want to know why a lot of people don’t believe him? Because that’s what he does – Zoom is 100% Johns author stand-in. Tragedy makes you a better hero is what he genuinely seems to believe. It’s like he read WATCHMEN once and completely missed the point, deciding that the reason it was adult was because of all the rape and murder, rather than because of the complex narrative, characters, and issues, and so he’s set about emulating WATCHMEN in everything he writes in the most juvenile possible way.

    It’s sloppy storytelling, regardless of how the series ends.

  5. brucecastle says:

    As always Seventh, you make good points. Oh, and DC, I’m not trying to convince Seventh to read this. He doesn’t like it and that’s fine, it’s just fun to get a long answer out of him.

    You’re right, Seventh, Johns does put a lot of death and tragedy in his books, but, for some reason that I can’t properly articulate at this point apparently, his comics make me feel all warm and fuzzy. There’s an air of nostalgia, certainly, but there’s something else. His characters do act like true heroes, and you do believe a man can fly.

    Having said that, he does seem to think that tragedy makes the hero. Zoom and Superboy Prime are Geoff Johns in comic form. I shit you not.

    Johns isn’t the best writer, but GL and his last three runs on Action are pretty stellar. That’s how I feel and I’m sticking to it.

    Good points, though. For some reason, I’m just not that angry about it. Probably for personal reasons, and you cant really argue those.

  6. brucecastle says:

    Just consider it my inexcusable love, like your love for Robinson. ;)

  7. seventhsoldier says:

    I don’t love everything Robinson has done – but I recognize STARMAN as one of the most well-crafted works of superhero fiction of our generation. His Superman has been good so far, but his Justice League looks bad and I haven’t even bothered with his Batman. When Johns produces something on par with, or even in the same league as, Starman, I will begin to lay off him and believe that, despite his flaws, he does have talent. Thus far, however, he’s shown me nothing but a bad formula that inexplicably caught on. He’s the Stephanie Meyer of comics.

  8. brucecastle says:

    There’s a reason why that was a second comment.

    It was a joke. No need for defense.

  9. […] Read/Rant (1) – “This is the best issue yet. As a Barry fan, I’m happy and touched to see Barry alive and running again. I just worry about the Wally and Bart fans. Johns has tried to please them, but I’m not sure they’re sold yet.” […]

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