I'm pleasantly surprised with all of this. I had been totally against the idea of bringing back Barry Allen. Wally West is my Flash. I figured Geoff Johns was just running an exercise in worshipping the Silver Age and that Barry would show up, beat Wally at everything, and then take over the costume again. But what Johns has given us is a neat little story about a guy who thinks his time has passed. He's fine with his legacy, and to be honest, Barry seems really tired. It's a neat take on the veteran hero.
Last issue we found out that Barry is the Black Flash, and that he is sucking the life force out of speedsters around the DCU. Savitar and Lady Savitar are already dead, and now Wally West, Kid Flash, Liberty Belle, and a few others are at risk. I really dug how the JLA came together to try and help Barry (and protect Wally). Having Barry call out for Hal to help get him away from the people he was afraid to hurt was a nice bit of characterization, showing that Hal is the guy Barry will call on for help when he's at his worst. The Superman/Flash race was fantastic, as Johns clearly establishes that Supes can't even get close to Flash-speeds. The Iris Allen as Barry's tether was nice too, since this relationship is as much a cornerstone for Barry as the Wally/Linda one that I'm familiar with. I'm not sure what exactly is happening in the Speed Force at the end, but it seems that Johnny Quick is dying again (dang, he has a neat costume). I'm pleased to see Max Mercury is still around, at least as of the end of this issue. And I'm really quite happy to see Eobard Thawne, Professor Zoom, stand revealed as the villain who has tainted Barry's tie to the Speed Force. First of all, his name is Professor Zoom, making him instantly awesome, and second, Zoom was the villain for Waid's best Flash story back in the 90's (Return of Barry Allen). I'm shocked to admit it, but I may just be on board for a new Flash series, assuming there is page time for my guys Wally and Max.
Ethan Van Sciver's hyper-details can be distracting, but he's perfect on these event books. I dug his take on Hourman and Liberty Belle quite a bit, but his Johnny Quick looked awesome. I was pleasantly surprised at how well his modern take looks on the old-timey All-Star costumes.