Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Scott Kolins
With Barry Allen as one of the main characters in the principle Blackest Night series, the Flash tie-in series should give a chance to see what the other Flashes and Flash-family characters are up to. After all, there are so many with Flashes being second to only Green Lanterns in number. But no. Geoff Johns apparently hasn’t gotten enough Barry action from the main book or The Flash: Rebirth miniseries he’s also writing.
The issue starts with Barry Allen doing his Paul Revere run from Blackest Night #4 to warn everyone about the Black Lanterns. There is even an ALMOST word-for-word reproduction of a conversation Barry has with Wally and Bart (odd that it’s not quite the same when it was written by the same guy both times). Barry has some run ins with a couple of friends and foes while on his jog before ending up appearing again at the end of Blackest Night #4.
This is an example of one problem with these blockbuster events DC and Marvel are so fond of – wanting these tie-ins to actually seem important. DC screwed themselves doing this last year with Final Crisis, needing multiple extras just for the story to make sense. This issue, on the other hand, doesn’t seem important plot-wise to the main series, but it is adding further content upon one of the main characters. You can overwork a character with a lot of story, but luckily Barry can work really fast to actually get it all to fit.
With that said, Johns looks like he’s using this story to set up future Flash stories with some of the elements found within. I’m really not looking forward to the editor’s box down the line saying I should have read a small tie-in that doesn’t have anything to do with the main book. If it needs to be in the main story line, keep it in the main series (see last review)
The true promise in this book is the other focus of the story – the rogues. Flash has an impressive rogues gallery that stand well on their own and uniquely together. Here we get to see the villains dealing with their own coming back from the dead, and Flash’s rogues are teaming up to deal with them. With many being legacy villains, it’s shaping up to be an exciting fight. Unfortunately, we only get a little lead up to the showdown that’s hopefully going to take place in part two of this tie-in.
Everything looks exaggerated and silly, almost cartoony. There are too many ripped muscles and teeth gritting. Barry looks like a steroids-junky bodybuilder in some panels. Not the best build for a guy whose power is to run fast. Bart kind of looks the same, so he’s got the family resemblance going for him, but that’s not such a good thing here. Especially worse is that it’s inconsistent.
Scott Kolins also has a couple of scale issues. Starfire in her one appearance has her hair trailing so long from her that Rapunzel would be jealous. Reverse Flash has a weird, almost ‘90s Liefield-esque puffed out chest.
Not all characters are bulging out at odd places. The rogues look decent (again, they’re the better part of the book). Kolins gives Captain Cold has a hardened, gritty look befitting a villain of his age and experience. Basically he looks kind of old and pissed off all the time, and it works.
Plus, the gorillas look fine.
This miniseries has potential if Johns leaves Barry in the main book. And maybe use Wally or Jay instead. Really though, he should stick to what this issue’s main strength is – the rogues.
Overall (Not an Average) 4/10