Back Issue to the Future: Flash #8 by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins

Commentary by Sean H.

Cast your minds back, dear reader, to the not-too-distant past. Specifically, 2010, when coming hot off the heels of Blackest Night and Brightest Day, Geoff Johns returned to Flash to pen a new era in the character’s history. Or at least, he would have… If DC hadn’t then decided to relaunch the entire universe with Johns’s own Flashpoint event being repurposed as a jumping board, ending his run prematurely.

As a leadup to that, however, he got the chance to write one of the best villain origin story issues ever. Drawn by longtime collaborator Scott Kolins, Flash #8 or “Reverse-Flash Rebirth” features the life story of Eobard Thawne before he became the yellow-suited maniac everyone knows and loathes. Watching this life story alongside us is, also, Eobard himself, detached from reality and able to change history without affecting his own existence. With that in mind, he chooses to try and change his life into a success story, believing he can create at least one version of himself who gets it all in life.

Naturally, this involves a lot of murdering people who’re in his past self’s way.

What follows is a spiraling series of events that paints Eobard Thawne not as some transcendent evil nor as an ambitious mad genius, but a deeply petty and self-centered man unable to recognize his own shortcomings, blaming all that ever went wrong in his life on others. This is most evident by the fact that no matter what he changes, he invariably becomes Reverse-Flash, and invariably blames Barry Allen rather than his own failure. For any faults, Johns has always excelled at villains, and Thawne is very clearly one of his favorites. With Kollins providing some trademark frenetic energy to the art, it winds up being a fantastic story from a story which was sadly never able to reach its full potential.