By Joshua Williamson, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Ivan Plascencia, Steve Wands
No relation. Barry Allen gets a new start and a new creative team, but can he outrun the past that is quickly catching up to him?
Perhaps the most interesting and crucial of the Rebirth titles is The Flash. Joshua Williamson was a big name during his Image debuts with consistently great scripts, so him being announced as the writer for the Flash was a source of excitement and for me apprehension. A lot of promising big names have walked away from DC Comics, so hearing that someone of Williamson’s caliber was brought on for a hero whose profile is the largest its been for years was a cause for celebration. The Flash title has sort of sunk as the New 52 went on and eventually ended. It’s a good time for the Flash to get back on track, but there’s still a sense of trepidation.
Barry Allen is experiencing flashes of memories that don’t exist (anymore), and as he tries to regain his composure by visiting his father and doing what he does best. As he runs away from his old problems, new ones appear in the form of a long-lost friend that he had forgotten and a force from beyond that has tampered with the DCU. Williamson’s script fits well into what a Flash story should do, with emotion, a sense of duty and the necessity to run towards the future rather than away. Ironically, its the standing still parts that stick out to Barry and the reader.
Carmine Di Giandomenico’s art is something I haven’t seen in a while, but I remember enjoying it as it fit the stories he drew. It felt raw and edgy, which fit as his Marvel work was in the realm of noir or pulp. Here, along with Ivan Plascencia’s colors, Giandomenico’s art looks like a technicolor fushion between Kaare Andrews and Scott Kolins. This works well when Barry uses the Speed Force and interacts with the world standing still, but when the world is moving at the same speed it feels very stiff and misshapen. It’s not a matter of consistency, its that I’m not sure Giandomenico’s art style fits with the Flash. The visual story telling is unusually dark for the mundane scenes, but when the extraordinary appears there’s all these bright colors, its almost too much chiaroscuro. It’s undeniable that his art breaks far away from the DC House style, but visually it embodies what many dislike about it. The real test is seeing how he draws scenes that aren’t set at night and characters that feel something besides morose.
It’s an unusual first issue in that it feels typical of what others have done recently, indeed the events of DC Rebirth #1 get touched on here, but Williamson and Gianomenico occasionally tap into the Flash that readers have been craving. Hearing what Williamson has in store next month with Flash #1 sounds like more of the same, yet I can’t say I’m not interested. This issue feels like he was fulfilling someone else’s notes, with a few touches of what I expect from a writer of his renown. He really seems to get the character and I want to see that, but I worry that the title is becoming bogged down by other parts of the DCU. If more of Williamson’s voice can come to the forefront of this title the way the character has become a hit on TV, I think it will be a success. For right now, this is another mixed Rebirth issue.