The opening story in “The Flash Secret Files and Origins 2010” #1 is an 18-pager, which is longer than I expected. It’s basically a full Barry Allen story, a story clearly designed to act as a bridge between “Flash Rebirth” and the new “Flash” series. Geoff Johns, a plot-centric kind of writer, builds a lot of bridges in the DCU, and he’s pretty good at it. This issue is certainly an example.
It’s better, overall, than “Flash Rebirth,” and that’s probably due to the art of Scott Kolins. Kolins is a better fit for Barry Allen than Ethan Van Sciver ever was, and it’s a bit of added nostalgia to see the Johns/Kolins team return to the Flash universe once again. Of course, between the “Final Crisis” and “Blackest Night” spin-offs, we haven’t exactly been lacking in Johns/Collins Flash stories, but both of those series focused more on the Rogues, and this is a true Flash tale — even if that Flash is Barry Allen instead of Wally West.
West appears here, though, along with the rest of the speedsters. This is a reunion for a relaunch, so within the eighteen pages, Johns and Kolins introduce (or reintroduce) the supporting cast — and give us a glimpse at what the Rogues are working on, as well. Since this is a “Secret Files” book, we also get single-page text-and-image bios of each player in the Flashverse, providing us with a bit of backstory on the likes of Gorilla Grodd and Iris Allen, but also showing some of the geography of Keystone City and Central City and filling us in on the new supporting cast in Barry Allen’s crime lab.
It seems that line about the “unsolved cases” in the finale of “Flash Rebirth” was indeed the launch of the premise for the ongoing “Flash” series, and Geoff Johns has helped to populate the crime lab with a cast of characters who Francis Manapul has already given distinctive looks. Johns’ major contribution to the Wally West “Flash” series was the depth of the supporting cast — and a reinvigorated batch of Rogues — and he looks to do the same with Barry Allen’s comic.
The opening story gives Barry Allen a fresh (re)start, allowing him to reflect on his past while reminding him of what lies ahead. And the Rogues have a plan of their own, with their old pal Sam Scudder’s emergency protocol to enact.
All in all, it’s a fine precursor to the soon-to-launch Johns/Manapul “Flash” series, with a nice balance of story and information — the kind of thing these “Secret Files and Origins” comics were meant to deliver.