Review: The Flash #8

By | December 31st, 2010
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Written by Geoff Johns
Illustrated by Scott Kolins

“Reverse Flash Rebirth!” In this FLASHPOINT prelude, don’t miss the epic telling of the origin of Barry Allen’s greatest foe, Professor Zoom! Eobard Thawne’s story is just beginning – and he intends to finish it with The Flash!

Geoff Johns loves himself some villains, particularly when it comes to The Flash. Last issue was a nice little Rogue Profile on Captain Boomerang, reminding longtime fans of Johns of his original Flash run, and this issue brings us the origin of Barry Allen’s most feared foe. Follow the cut to see what I thought of this issue.

First, a note: I get tired of fans who give comics that they see as “filler” the finger. Josh already talked about this a week or so ago in his write-up on Thor: The Mighty Avenger, but if you’re buying a book that advances continuity over one that you deem better because the former “matters” more, you are hurting the industry’s ability to put good books on the shelf. The same is true of single issues like this: just because it doesn’t advance the ongoing story doesn’t mean you should skip it. If the writer is just writing something to take up space and creates something that has little to no value as a story, than go ahead and deride away, but just because the issue is one that doesn’t necessarily “change” things doesn’t mean it is inherently bad. I didn’t think that this would be a problem with this issue, as it is written by Johns — meaning, in technical terms, it is not a “fill-in” issue — but I’ve heard people make the complaint about this issue and wanted to set forth my opinion on the matter. I can’t make you buy things, but I sure as hell can reprimand you.

So, why buy this “filler” issue that retells Professor Zoom’s origin story? Because it’s awesome, that’s why. What a daft question. I’ll be honest: my favorite thing about Geoff Johns’ superhero comics are the villains. The Rogues and Zoom (Hunter Zolomon) were the best part of his first Flash run, and how he writes Sinestro is by far the best part of his Green Lantern (in my opinion, of course). So all these Rogue Profiles and origin stories that others may disregard as filler are some of my favorite issues that Johns writes. This one was especially good, partially because it shed some more light on a character that many modern readers aren’t as familiar with outside of Johns’ Flash: Rebirth. I’ll admit that once Professor Zoom was revealed as the antagonist of Flash: Rebirth, I had the same reaction that I had to Barry’s return in regards to Wally: “Aww man, now we’ll see less of Hunter Zolomon.” This fear was furthered when Zolomon didn’t show up in Flash: Secret Files and Origins, while a few less prominent characters. Much like the first few issues of the new ongoing warmed me up to Barry, though, this issue made Professor Zoom seem much more interesting, and I’m much more open to seeing more of Thawne. Zolomon should be saved for Wally, after all.

My favorite aspect of this issue was all the imagination behind it. Johns brought a modern touch to the world of the 25th century, making it easier for the contemporary reader to digest. Sure, it’s still a bit ridiculous, but in a way that doesn’t seem as campy as the 25th century of the Silver Age (something no one seems to be able to do to Gorilla City, because it’s… Gorilla City). Artist Scott Kolins really helped with this, blending rounded curves with jagged edges to make a future that seemed simultaneously organic and techno-centric (for want of a better word). Kolins has always been a favorite of mine, but in recent years he really has improved by leaps and bounds. If you make me forget that Francis Manapul isn’t illustrating the book, you’re doing a hell of a job. The most innovative and flat-out fun to read part, though, was Zoom’s internal narrative. For those who haven’t read it, he basically tells his life story, but as certain things “changed,” he would go back and retell the story due to those changes caused by… well, you’ll see.

If you haven’t been reading Johns’ Flash, I recommend picking this issue up. What other people see as “filler,” I see as a way to get to know what you’ve been missing without going through a whole story arc. Once you get a taste, though, you’ll be coming back for more.

Final Verdict: 8.3 – Buy it!

Walt Richardson

Walt is a former editor for Multiversity Comics and current podcaster/ne'er-do-well. Follow him on Twitter @goodbyetoashoe... if you dare!