Above is the cover to The Flash: Rebirth #5 (click on it for full version). It deserves special mention because it’s a fantastic homage to Carmine Infantino’s classic “Flash of Two Worlds” cover from The Flash (vol. 1) #123. That is, however, not why I’ve decided to write about this particular issue.
Earlier this year, Ethan Van Sciver mentioned in a podcast how he had been tasked with redesigning Wally West’s costume in The Flash: Rebirth, what with Barry Allen being back from the dead and with two characters having the same costume being a superhero no-no apparently. He made it a point to state that he wasn’t a fan of change for the sake of change and that, once you look at Wally’s new costume, it’ll make sense in the context of the character and his history. I loved the small tweaks Van Sciver did to Hal Jordan’s costume in Green Lantern: Rebirth so I was more than anxious to see what he was going to do with Wally. The new costume was revealed this week in The Flash: Rebirth #5 and I knew I was going to have something to say about it.
A scan of the costume and my thoughts on it after the break.
There are couple of changes from LaRocque’s version though, most notably the mouth piece which is more simplified now and closer to Batman’s. The belt and chest pieces seem to be more like beveled, metal attachments as opposed to fabric like it was in LaRocque’s redesign. Aside from that, most of the changes LaRocque made have been picked up by Van Sciver in this version, i.e. the darker shade of red, the Batman eyes and the removal of the little “wings” on the boots, among others.
Then I thought about it some more and I came to the realization that this costume is actually nearly identical to Wally’s costume from the Justice League/Justice League Unlimited cartoons. The chest piece gave it away because it’s an exact replica of the one found in the cartoon, right down to the yellow ring and the simplified lightning bolt. The only difference I can tell between this costume and that one is, again, the Batman mouthpiece which, the more I think about it, seems to be Van Sciver’s one and only mark on this new costume.
After figuring out where the costume was derived from, I had to decide whether it works as a redesign or not. I mean, what else was I supposed to think about during that long train ride back from the comic store? Politics? If anything, I think Van Sciver held true to his word. He didn’t make any wild, random or outlandish changes and this costume really is a Flash costume. He didn’t dumb down Barry by giving Wally a better costume and he didn’t dumb down Wally by giving him his Kid Flash costume back or something so it works in that sense.
I think that, as tends to be the case with me, my problem with the costume lies in my own expectations. I was expecting a redesign along the lines of Ben Reilly’s Spider-Man costume (not the terrible Scarlet Spider one) which I still love to this day and which I still consider to be a true to the original and largely successfully modern take on the Spider-Man costume (unlike, say, the Spider-Man 2099 costume).
My bigger issue with the new costume is that if I were to show a panel of Barry running alongside Wally to someone that doesn’t concern himself/herself with the minutiae of superhero comics, I’m still going to get the “who the hell is who?” reply.
The Flash: Rebirth #5 itself? Predictable to say the least.Posted on November 19, 2009 in Comics |