After last issue’s focus on one of Barry Allen’s super-villains, this issue focuses on … one of Barry Allen’s super-villains.
Is there a problem here? I know writer Geoff Johns loves the Rogues Gallery, but after dumping Wally West to bring back Barry, it’d be nice to get to know the guy again. As it is we’ve had six issues of super-speed time travel adventure with the odd Barry scene, followed by an irrelevant recap of Captain Boomerang’s origin, and now another villain focus with a heavy emphasis on time travel.
For this issue is setting up the coming Flashpoint event, which will again go heavy on chronological chaos. Is Johns missing his days as writer of Booster Gold? Sure, Barry had his share of time-centred tales in his original three decades of publication, but I’m starting to suspect that time twisting is now the official theme of the book. At the very least it seems to be the default setting. Green Lantern went from being a book about a guy who happened to have a certain power set and met varied villains to being about a ringslinger who only ever meets other ringslingers. I dropped that book and I can see myself dropping this one if every issue centres on time-spanning speedsters.
‘Reverse-Flash: Rebirth’ isn’t actually bad. As villain focuses go, it’s pretty good, showing us that Eobard Thawne – Professor Zoom, the Reverse-Flash – has always been a sick puppy. A series of scenes show him as a hubris-heavy young academic, becoming ever more bitter, all the while receiving a murderous helping hand from his future self. Rather than straightforward super-speed crimes, Zoom’s shtick now is to constantly revise the past, editing time. He’s the ultimate rewrite man, having recently given Barry Allen a tragic beginning contradicting previous history. My hope is that the continued emphasis on this aspect of Zoom’s operation – he’s the only speedster able to change history – will lead to the restoration of Henry and Nora Allen, Barry’s parents, as a happy couple. I wouldn’t put it beyond the tricky Johns.
The 25th century as imagined by Johns and artist Scott Kolins is a rotten place, one which considers itself forward thinking while being horribly oppressive. ‘That outburst has been registered in the family log,’ snarls Zoom’s father as Eobard has a spat with his annoying little brother. It’s a wonder more people don’t crack (thank goodness Booster Gold escaped into the past!). The moments when future Zoom steps in to help/shape his past self are very effective, and really rather creepy. Kolins has a knack for showing a character’s rage and frustration which, combined with his skill at depicting super-speed, makes him perfect for this story.
Overall, this is an entertaining look at one of Barry’s classic villains. I do hope that one day Barry gets a similar spotlight.