I am at a loss to pick any superhero less inclined towards grimness than the Flash. The bright red costume, fairly ridiculous powers, and a group of bad guys that are essentially weirdoes with gimmicks guns, the Flash is at his best just a fun character.
The DC Rebirth of the character worked for the first trade, but what about the second subtitled Speed of Darkness?
DC started the Rebirth period with the return of the original Wally West, so it makes some sense to have a bit of that going on in the background of The Flash, but how much of that is necessarily here is questionable. Of the various issues reprinted here, the first deals with original Wally working with the newer, younger Wally West to help out their mutual mentor Barry. After that there’s a multi-parter where younger Wally and Barry work together to help the reformed villain the Shade regain control of his powers, and then a quick, Christmas-time issue where Wally is working overtime to keep threats away from his aunt Iris because she’s on a date with Barry.
If that sounds rather tame, it is. After a big storyline reintroducing the Flash to the world of “Rebirth” and the next one promising the return of Barry’s classic foes the Rogues, this one mostly felt like filler. Writer Joshua Willaimson has set up a scenario where Barry is keeping the Flash’s secret identity away from the newer Wally, and when the reasoning finally comes out, it feels flat to me. It just sounds like a lame excuse to keep a secret from Wally. As such, though I am looking forward to the next one to see Captain Cold and Co. return to Central City with a vengeance, I didn’t feel like I got much out of this one. Seven and a half paper-powered bad guys out of ten.