By Joshua Williamson, Carmine Di Giandomenico & Ivan Plascencia
Lightning Strikes Twice is the first volume in the new Rebirth Flash series and writer Joshua Williamson kickstarts the new series on a solid, if not entirely original note as he works Carmine Di Giandomenico and Ivan Plascencia to pit Barry against Godspeed, who is a new antagonist with speedster powers for Barry to face. Whilst the initial threat of Godspeed is interesting the book quickly decides to take a similar stance to that of The CW’s Flash series which had problems of its own when it came to the number of Speedsters that it constantly throws against Barry season after season. It almost looks like Godspeed is tailor-made to show up on Season 4 as the main villain with a storyline that follows a familiar narrative, but that was probably the biggest problem with the book as for the most part it is largely an exciting and fun read.
The Flash also benefits from a few twists to the usual formula that we’ve seen in the comics in the past. Barry has suddenly found himself in the mentor role as a teacher to his new ally, who also has the Speedforce and is just as eager to solve crime as he is. This brings up the potential for discussion as to why Barry is the person best suited to be The Flash when there are others with a similar skill set, particularly as Wally West is another new speedster also dealing with his powers and learning how to control them. This further adds to the various problems that Barry has to deal with over this series and it’s something that Joshua Williamson handles for the most part effectively, making sure that each issue is action packed and contains plenty of content for fans to devour.
For the most part the artwork is effective with Carmine Di Giandomenico taking over duties as the main series artist whilst Neil Googe and Felipe Watanabe lend a hand for a couple of issues which is to be expected because of the fact that this book is one of the double-shipping Rebirth titles. Giandomenico himself has both strengths and weaknesses here because although the series looks great in the more action-oriented sequences as well as those where Barry is constantly on the move as The Flash and using his speedster powers, it unfortunately suffers with portrayals of various human emotion that never quite pay off, sometimes meaning that the emotional impact in a scene isn’t quite as powerful as it could have been. However the artwork is for the most part effective throughout the series and Ivan Plascencia really makes the most out his colouring style to help give the book a bright and vibrant feel that you’d expect from The Flash. The layouts are also inventive and varied as well, and it’s something that the book really benefits from as a result.
Putting its strength in its characters with a solid focus on its characters and its supporting cast, Lightning Strikes Twice sees the series get off to a positive start under the new creative team. If you’re a fan of the show looking to read more of Barry Allen’s adventures while the show is off air then Lightning Strikes Twice acts as a great introduction for newcomers to the character as well as at the same time it manages to appeal to returning fans with plenty of teasers to past events, especially in the opening standalone Rebirth chapter. At the end of the day even if it may not be perfect, there’s plenty to like about this series that shows the promise to only get better from here.