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Flash: Rebirth (Review/Retrospective)

This January, I’m going to take a look at some of DC’s biggest “events.” I’ll be starting with the most recent one, Flashpoint, but – in the spirit of the character – we’re going to have a marathon run through Flash stories before we get there. Check back daily this week for more Flash-ified goodness…

From the outset, Flash: Rebirth was going to be an infinitely more complex endeavour for writer Geoff Johns than Green Lantern: Rebirth had been. Both miniseries aimed to firmly establish an older legacy character (in both cases, the iteration of the character active in the late fifties/early sixties) as the core of that particular franchise, replacing their replacements, as it were. However, Hal Jordan had been absent for about ten years, and had been hovering around the DC Universe in various guises during his absence from the role of Green Lantern. Barry Allen, on the other hand, had been gone twenty years and his appearances had been far scarcer. There had been a whole generation of fans (including the author of this miniseries) who grew up with Wally West as the Flash. Bringing Barry back was always going to be tricky, but here it becomes evident just how tricky.

A darker shade of red?

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Wet Blogathon: I Wish It Would Rain Down…

This is part of the rather wonderful “Wet Blogathon” put together by Andrew over at Encore’s World of Film and Television, asking bloggers to pick their favourite scenes in the rain. It’s a great little idead and I was delighted to be invited to take part.

Though your hurt is gone, mine’s hanging on, inside
And I know, it’s eating me through every night and day
I’m just waiting on your sign –

‘Cos I know, I know, I never meant to cause you no pain
And I realize I let you down
But I know in my heart of hearts
I know I’m never gonna hold you again

Now I… Now I know, I wish it would rain down, down on me
Ohh I wish it would rain, rain down on me now
Ohh I wish it would rain down, down on me
Yes I wish it would rain down, rain down over me.

– Phil Collins, I Wish It Would Rain Down

Yes, I was quite fond of that in my young almost-emo teen-in-love days – you know the kind, when one little attraction meant the entire world. I’ve kinda gotten over it. Still, there is something inherently powerful about the imagery of rain – water pouring down from the skies. It can represent – as it does in that infamous scene from The Shawshank Redemption – a divine shower, washing the character clean of their sins, evoking imagery of baptism and rebirth. Or it can be heavenly tears – as in Se7en, for example – reflecting the tragedy of a broken world where all you can do is cry. The always wonderful Andrew over at Encore’s World of Film and Television invited me to contribute to a blogathon he’s hosting celebrating the most powerful rain imagery in film – and there’s quite a bit to choose from. There are a rake of moody and gothic applications of rain – a wide variety and more than a few outside choices to be made. However, I am going to betray my inherent sappiness by picking Chasing Amy, which offered an inherently straight-forward and almost cliché application of the heavy rain as a metaphor for turbulant emotion, but did it with such heart that even cynical old me could not resist.

The raining champion...

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Geoff Johns’ Run on Green Lantern – Blackest Night, Blackest Night: Green Lantern, Blackest Night: Green Lantern Corps & Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps (Review/Retrospective)

Wow. This is pretty much the climax of Geoff Johns’ five year run on Green Lantern, dating all the way back to Rebirth – where he reintroduced Hal Jordan, the original Silver Age version of the character. Since the very start of his run, he’s been dropping hints about the upcoming “war of light” and the prophecy first articulated in an Alan Moore short story decades ago – the prophecy of “blackest night”. Throughout his tenure on the title (and indeed his role shaping the DC Universe as a whole, as one of its guiding writers in the last decade), he has hinted again and again about big events looming on the horizon. Blackest Night is that event. And, in a way, it’s just as wild and crazy and huge as it should be.

Green Lantern reaches new heights...

Note: I am aware that the excellent Peter J. Tomasi wrote the Green Lantern Corps tie-in, but I thought it best to include it in the write-up here. I’ll actually be including my review of the tie-ins under the “Geoff Johns’ Run on Green Lantern” banner, even though he didn’t write all of them. If you’re looking for an opinion on Tomasi’s writing, it’s excellent and it’s highly recommended. Indeed, all four of these wonderful hardcovers are. Oops, did I just spoil my review?

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Absolute Green Lantern: Rebirth (Review/Retrospective)

Face facts, John. The real Hal Jordan is back. And he’s bringing the past with him.

– Batman

Batman states the above as if it’s some sort of dire threat. Perhaps to him, one of the darker of the superhero community, it is. However, to writer Geoff Johns, it’s a mission statement. Let the reconstruction begin. It’s easy to balk at a relatively recent superhero comic being given DC’s prestige ‘Absolute’ format (it’s even easier when you realise it’s only six issues long for that hefty price tag), but Green Lantern: Rebirth deserves it. Not because it’s as iconic as, say, Alan Moore’s Watchmen or Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, because it isn’t. Nor is it because of the series’ increasingly important place in the DC canon. It deserves the treatment because of what it represents. This was the moment that the pendulum swung back in mainstream comics, a conscious rejection of the “darker and edgier” philosophy that gripped the medium in the nineties. It’s also a pretty good read.

Shine a light...

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