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The Flash: Rebirth #5
writer: Geoff Johns
artist: Ethan Van Sciver

At this point, it's apparently been so long between issues that I cannot remember if I read the fourth one or not. But in the grand tradition of the old days of actually making any issue of a comic book that you might pick up actually accessible, it doesn't matter. Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver take you right into the action and get you up to speed.

From the cover, which jabs at the classic Flash #123 "Flash of Two Worlds," this is the all too rare book that grabs from the beginning and doesn't let up. If you missed #1-4 of this series, you can still buy into the status quo, but you're not going to want to miss #6.

The original Reverse-Flash has returned from the dead and takes on the entire Flash legacy. This means that if you've never read the Flash before, you get a crash course on who all the speedsters are. Of course, you have read the Flash before, so Johns has something new to offer you - not only does he set up a new/old character that people want to see back, he gives a far more adequate explanation for certain inconsistencies in the time-line.

You say that's not enough? Okay, he offers up an explanation for certain retroactive continuity that just popped up with this series. Yes, Johns is the king of doing ret-cons, but there's a moment of realization here for both Barry Allen and the reader that will make you forgive all of it. Seriously, it makes sense, at least in terms of the Flash, and I might even offer up that Johns planted the seed for it as far back as the first couple of issues of Booster Gold.

Not that you have to read those either. This really is a book that tells an exciting new story the old way. It's accessible, it's cool and it ties together the entire Flash legacy while making it all fresh for new readers. Johns has done some great work before, and some not so great; some of it has been with the Flash legacy before. But this - combining this with his work on Blackest Night means that Johns has so utterly raised the bar on himself that we're in for about a year of letdown after this - it's hard to imagine where he could go professionally after this.

And of course, he's got Van Sciver, doing the best work so far of what will also hopefully be a long career. Every character has a good signature look, and without getting cartoony, Van Sciver's kids look like kids. Jai and Iris appear to be somewhere between age four and six, kids in exceptionally well-fitting Halloween costumes. And if you think you hate Jai and Iris, think again.

Pick it up, because like every other issue, this one's destined to be gone in a…


Derek McCaw


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