Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ethan Van Sciver
Flash: Rebirth has been an exercise in patience. Issue one amounted to little more than everyone espouting how Barry Allen is the bestest best Flash ever while number two was the secret origin of the all mighty bowtie. Coming into issue three, I was a tad concerned over just where this story was going or if it would ever give me a good reason for the return of Barry in the first place.
While this issue didn't answer either of those concerns, it did fill in one of the key pieces of the puzzle for this story - the identity of the mystery villain, who turned out to be none other than the Reverse Flash, Eobard Thawne. I don't even want to try and figure out the logistics behind his return (Barry actually killed him after Thawne killed Iris Allen, who isn't dead either), but I am a little puzzled over just why he was chosen. Zoom, while being mostly Wally's evil mirror image, wears pretty much the same costume, is fairly well known, even by less knowledgable Flash fans like myself, and has similar time based powers (well, I assume Reverse Flash has some form of time based powers to explain the retcons to Barry's new grim past and his being alive and what not). There's updating or reviving old villains, but you shouldn't just kick others to the curb in favour of some Silver Age loving either. We also don't need every single hero to have a mirror image/evil doppleganger.
Mystery villain aside (he only appears on the last page anyways), the issue, for all the supposed speed of the characters and franchise, is painfully slow. It amounted to nothing but introspective "woe is me" Barry self-loathing over his return to the land of the living and most people, who are unfamiliar/have not read a comic with Barry before, have no reason to really care about all this moping he's doing and it's hard to sympathize with him over his situation when everyone and their mother came back to life in comics, especially in regards to the Flash family of characters (every Flash was dead at one point or another if I'm not mistaken). The emotional impact of him trying not to forget about Iris, whom we've seen in all of maybe two panels the entire series and, as far as I know, was last seen prior to Final Crisis trying, and succeeding, to help some villains kill their grandson, Bart Allen, is lost on me.
Verdict - Check It. I don't think this book is written for me or other readers like me. It's clearly being aimed at long time Flash fans who would appreciate the return of Barry and could draw on emotional baggage associated with his Silver Age stories to carry an otherwise unremarkable issue.