The Flash Rebirth Deluxe Vol. 01

Looking for a great jumping on point to start reading The Flash? Rebirth has you covered!

As someone who had never read a Flash comic until this deluxe collection, I was more than a little sceptical. When I think the Flash, I think of a guy who beats his Rogues gallery simply by running fast. Where’s the fun in that? Having now sped through the first 13 issues and the Rebirth one-shot by Joshua Williamson, I was completely wrong. The DC Rebirth Flash title is an incredibly fun and energetic read even to a complete Flash novice like myself.

Spinning out of the DC Universe Rebirth one-shot (shameless plug here!), Barry Allen is reunited with the pre-Flash Point Wally West. Setting the tone for this Flash series, and giving us a clear idea of where Barry is in live and where Wally goes from here. The series first 13 main issues give us 4 main stories, with the bulk of the book exploring what happens when a speed force storm grants multiple citizens of Central City Flash’s abilities. The Flash takes on a mentor role, and re-evaluates everything he misses about working with the Pre-Flashpoint Wally, until a new villain explodes onto the scene, Godspeed, and begins killing all the new speedsters. Later issues explore The Flash’s relationship with both the pre-Flashpoint Wally, and the new post-Flashpoint Wally. We see Barry taking on a mentor position throughout passing on what he knows, as well as learning that he can always be better. That there is always more to learn. The two-part story, Speed of Darkness highlights this perfectly, as well as how the young Wally is progressing as a hero in training. Ultimately, the series is about trust, optimism, and using your abilities the best way you can, for the betterment of your city. As well as exploring what justice truly means, and what happens when taking it into your own hands turns sour.

The Flash 001-019

“When you and Kid Flash saved me… I had one last vision. And I saw something in the Speed Force I don’t think I was supposed to see. I don’t know what it was but…. It filled me with hope.”

The art, primarily by Carmine Di Giandomenico, is bright and lively with a number of incredibly cleaver techniques that greatly add to the feeling of speed. During the first issue, there is an incredibly clever moment where Flash is depicted running, and managing to out pace the comics own panel boarders from catching up with him. Giandomenico makes incredible use of their talent throughout to add these minor details, that explode in significance when realised. The energy leaps off the pages throughout with the crackle of the speedster’s lightning becoming almost audible, something that makes the book feel complete along with Williamson’s dialogue.

Dc’s Rebirth Flash is an incredibly uplifting and energetic read. A perfect starting place for Flash novices and those looking for a fun read.

The Flash Rebirth Deluxe volume is available here:


Deluxe hard covers, The price of books, and Independent stores

Over the past two weeks it’s safe to say I have heavily added to my comic shelves. Specifically in the Deluxe hardback department. When it comes to DC and Marvel, though honestly more DC, there are some titles I end up buying multiple times over. For example, take my beloved Superman series. I buy the single issues which I then lend out to a friend. I bought the first two trade paper backs covering the first 13 issues, and the Rebirth one shot. And after that I really wanted the deluxe volume. So, if I was to add everything up at full price that would be $2.99 x 13, which is $38.87 (granted, over a long period of time). I’m doing this in dollar’s despite being English because of the listed prices on the actual item and I’ll do a conversion at the end. Just getting that info out of the way now. The two trade paper backs are $16.99 each. So, $33.98. and the deluxe volume is $34.99. In total that’s $107.84 for the same content 3 times over. And I know someone will say I made a mistake there because it should be $2.99 times 14 with the Rebirth one shot, but I never bought that one so discounted it here. Converting Dollars to Sterling that means I should have payed a total of £79.52. What I actually spent was £81.53 because issues cost an average of £2.50 depending on which store I visit, the trades cost £14.99 in normal book stores like Waterstones (which is not the best option for buying comics, supporting smaller stores has major benefits for both you and the owners) and I got the deluxe volume from Amazon for £19.05.

Yeah, if you can’t tell I’ve been seriously rethinking how I buy comics. Particularly from DC. None of this is a slight towards DC’s pricing I think it’s very reasonable. It’s more talking about the quality of their product to the point that I own the same content 3 times! To be honest its not the only DC content I own 3 times, and I tend to justify it by the fact that they are in different formats. The fact that I have 3 versions of both Kingdom Come and Superman Secret Identity doesn’t bother me. For the record that’s trade paperback, Deluxe edition, and French hardcover.

I love DCs current Superman title so I don’t mind owning it three times. What I do mind is realising how much it all cost me and how that money could have been used to check out other titles and support them. The problem I see is that the idea of spending £2.50 every other week seems fairly reasonable, until you consider the long-term price. But in the past I’ve actively avoided buying what I considered to be over-priced deluxe editions because I can’t afford it. Here in England, the recommended retail price for DC’s current line of deluxe rebirth books is £30 (though when you convert Dollars to Sterling, it should be only around £25.80, but I’ll give them the £4.20 for import charge). Buying these from regular books stores, like Waterstones or WHSmith, that is exactly what you would pay. Amazon lists them between £15 (The Flash) and £30 (Action Comics) with the majority around £20. A recent trip to Limited Edition in Stevenage (a rather charming and friendly comic store in the cities centre) netted me that £30 Action Comics Deluxe for only £20. A damn good deal in my books.

Over the winter break, I took advantage of a little extra money and caved in to my desire to own some of these beautiful deluxe editions. Happily picking up the Rebirth deluxe books for Superman, Action Comics, Batman, Detective Comics, Wonder Woman, and The Flash. As well as the recent deluxe release of Shazam: The New Beginning and a paperback copy of New Frontier. That trip to Limited Edition also got me the first ultimate collection for Image’s Invincible series by Robert Kirkman for £10. Something I am heavily looking forward to trying as Kirkman’s more famous series, The Walking Dead, has never managed to peak my interest. Either in comics or the television series.

Even discounting the fact that most of these books were brought with gift cards, the experience has forced me to evaluate my approach to buying comics and spend money more wisely. However, when taking this all into account I’m forced to think about the actual companies that produce the books I read. As I said earlier the money spend on multiple versions of the same thing could have been used to support other series. For DC’s more popular series, like Batman and Superman, this is less of a problem. They are flag ship titles that are guaranteed to continue publication and get deluxe volumes. However, especially at Marvel and smaller publishers. Good titles get cancelled frequently due to a lack of support. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed the Silk series from Marvel written by Robbie Thompson. Despite being a good series, the book was cancelled a year ago due to a lack of people buying the single issues. Ending on issue 19 of the second run. Granted, Marvel has become infamous for cancelling books early. YouTuber Professor Thorgi mentions how Chip Zdarsky’s Star Lord series was cancelled at only 6 issues in his video What’s Causing Marvel’s Low Sales – HINT: It’s Not Diversity – ediTHORGIals. Leading many readers to believe it was meant to be a miniseries (typically around 4 to 6 issues long), before it was confirmed that the book was cancelled due to low sales. He goes into plenty of detail in his video discussing the facts that the character is popular, the writer is well known and liked, but the book still sold poorly due to a mixture of Marvel’s pricing, constant relaunches, poor marketing and the amount of books Marvel release week to week. This is worse for independent publishers as they have no guarantee for collective trades even if their work sells relatively well.

With these recent purchases, I can say that the deluxe rebirth books DC have released are completely worth the money and the time to wait for them. Collecting at least the first 13 issues, 15 in the case of Batman. They look wonderful on the shelf with clean white spines, and bright defined covers using art from one of the single issues included inside. The paper stock is clear and of high quality with a sown binding to allow the pages to flex easily and creates less gutter space cut off when reading. The crowning beauty of these books is the added detail under the dust jacket. Gorgeous two-page spreads printed directly onto the books cover in place of the standard black. For bigger titles from DC it’s more than worth waiting it out and picking these up instead of the standard trade paperbacks.

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Spotlight on: Nerdsync Productions!

While the properties are everywhere in the 21st century, comics are still one of the hardest mediums to get started with. Especially if you want to dive into the mainstream stuff, such as Marvel and DC. With the use of the internet, you can make the job a little easier for yourself. You can look up character history, cool stories, and maybe get an idea of what you want to read. But it can still be over whelming, with nearly 100 years of comic book history. Enter, YouTube! Through YouTube, it’s never been easier for you to stumble across great comic book content. There are countless Comic Book channels, giving you brief histories of key characters. Run downs of major or recent storylines. Tips on collecting and preserving. Even channels doing fun comic related games, and dares. All you have to do is quickly type ‘comic book’ in the YouTube search engine, and there you go! However, these channels can start to blur together after a time. The same brief histories, of the same characters, feeding back the same information till you can recite it from memory.

Enter Nerdsync.

Since launching their first Comic Misconceptions video on March 26th, 2013. Scott and the Nerdsync crew have worked hard to deliver quality, fun and informative videos for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a well-read veteran, who can recite ever single Lantern oath from memory. Or a movie going fan, who wants to break into the source material. Nerdsync breaks down their material to be completely accessible to even the newest of readers. Beyond that, their choice of subject is far and wide. Giving nice little twists on the now stable Comic Book/YouTube formula. You want a history of Superman? Not only will they give it to you, they will go through the real-life reason for his creation, and the story behind that. When a film comes out, and every channel is scrambling to bring you a funny story or origin relating to the characters involved. Nerdsync proves their nerdy worth by talking about science, history, mythology and psychology. There is a reason why the Nerdsync slogan is ‘helping you grow smarter through comics’!

The show’s host, one Scott Niswander, brings a fun, passionate and energetic feel to the show. Encouraging his audience to get involved, create their own content, and start discussions. The show prides itself on its community of ‘loveable nerds’, banning together to help pool together resources, create on going jokes, and sometimes, just taking to the internet to spread their love of comics. Over the 4 years since Nerdsync burst on to the scene. Other shows and creators have taken to the channel, and added their own little segments, connecting to their own work. Giving us an even greater variation, to an already wonderful channel. We have Hass with Comicana, bringing us insightful looks at how comic pages work. Exploring the flow of panels, pacing and tone, using recent books, and well-known classics. We are given a dose of legal history with Joel in Super Suits, breaking down the insane history of comic book lawsuits. Not to mention the fantastic cameo and cross over appearances from the like of Auram, Ricky of Stewdippin, and Mike of PBS Idea Channel.

What makes Nerdsync stand apart, is its dedication to education through comics. In the world of academic, comics have a surprising and glorious history. They have been the subject matter when talking about so many real-world events. Including politics, genetics, physics, mythology, and pseudoscience. While these concepts, books and papers, may seem dry and none accessible to outside readers. Nerdsync delivers compelling, interesting, and outright fun material, that inspires and entertains the audience. It’s hard to deny the number of comics, characters, theories, and principles you will be exposed to, without realising it. And, you will enjoy every second of it.

“Holy here we go again Batman!”


Spotlight on: DC Rebirth One-Shot – The Deluxe Edition

DC Universe - Rebirth (216)DC’s New 52, now that it’s at its end, can be seen for what it was. A failed cash grab to try and rope in an older audience, and move the characters in, what they thought was a darker, more appealing direction, while forgetting who they are. Some good titles did come out of it, the Batman line springs to mind including Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman, and Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleeson’s Batman & Robin. However, the rest of the DC universe moved away from its strengths. Particularly characters such as Superman and the Blue Beetle. Overall, the New 52 did its job, brought in a new audience, mostly for Snyder’s Batman, but it also served another purpose. To show DC exactly what they should be. DC Rebirth not only acts as an introduction to the new titles, but as an acknowledgement from DC that there was a problem.

While the DC Rebirth one shot, could have been as simple as 20 pages giving seemingly clever allusions to plot points we already know. The one-shot instead gives us a wonderful look at the reshaping of the DC universe, through the eyes of an outsider, and a truly touching story of love. The story is narrated throughout by the pre-flashpoint Wally West, Kid Flash, as he tries to return to a world that has forgotten him. First to Batman, trying to bring up the events of Flashpoint, hoping to spark a memory of his existence, before being pulled away by the speed force as he fails. As Wally travels through this world, looking for his lighting rod, his tether to this world, we see the New 52 through his eyes. His comments feel more like an acknowledgement from Geoff Johns that it had problems, that it was missing what made these heroes iconic.

“I have so many questions. Left unanswered. The history I know continues to echo. Seeing everything. I realize it wasn’t ten years that was stolen from us. It was love.”

EmbraceAs Wally comments on the changes, we see little details starting to correct themselves. Friendships being reformed, events being set up. While Wally’s journey is essentially an excuse to show off all the heroes and give hints to their possible stories that lie ahead, it’s his commentary that makes it worth reading. Finally, Wally’s encounter with Barry Allen, The Flash, just as he is starting to fade away, is both emotional and triumphant. Watching Wally give up on being part of this new world, excepting the new Kid Flash, giving him his blessing, and thanking Barry for a wonderful like, is heart-breaking. The moment where Barry remembers him, only for a second, and pulls him through. Breaking down, franticly apologising for ever forgetting his dear friend and sidekick. The image of Flash and Kid Flash embracing is triumphant. At once emotional in context, and standing for everything DC needs to be again. Even for a none Flash reader, it’s a tender moment.

“Thank you for an amazing life. Thank you for your kindness. For your inspiration. For being there for me so many times. For now. The last time. You were right Barry. Every second was a gift. That’s why I won’t die in anguish. I’ll go with love in my heart. Good-bye Barry.”

The books epilogue has become a talking point more so than anything, the reveal of the Comedian’s iconic smiley face button buried in the wall of the Batcave. As well as the final page taking dialogue from the final book of Watchman. While it’s interesting to see, and certainly sets up future events that are sure to ‘shake up’ the universe at some point. However, they feel forced in, just to give fans something to salivate over, and to debate franticly, up until the time the point is revealed. Luckily, it takes nothing from the overall story, and acts simply as a quick set up.

Written by Geoff Johns and pencilled by Gary Frank. The DC Rebirth One-Shot is more than worth the read, even outside of a set up for the new line. Giving a complete story as well as hints for future events across the line. For those interested The DC Rebirth Deluxe Edition is certainly worth the money, with some wonderful extra pages. Worth it for any DC fan, or novice alike.