Barry Allen just bugs me. On a lot of levels.
Understand that I'm not dead-set against the idea of bringing Barry Allen back from the dead. Hell, I'm probably one of the few who liked the conceit in Final Crisis that Barry Allen was literally out-running Death for the better part of a decade. I think, properly done, the return of Barry Allen could have been a good story.
The problem is that we're still in the middle of telling that story (in the creatively titled Flash: Rebirth) and yet Barry is making an appearance in this book - heck, this whole mini-series. This kinda kills the dramatic tension in Flash:Rebirth, since we know that Barry is going to make it through unscathed.
The bigger problem is that Barry's presence - and the way Geoff Johns writes him in particular - is making a shambles of DC Comics timeline... just a few years into the latest historical reboot.
While I admit that the idea of Barry Allen making jokes about finding the Internet and thinking it's too slow is KINDA cute on paper, it doesn't really work unless you believe Barry "died" sometime over ten years ago before the Internet became commonplace. And granting that the DCU Timeline gets fudged a bit here and there and it's rare to see exact calendar dates, it still doesn't make much sense when the best timeline on the Internet says Barry died seven years ago. Heck, even back in the early 90s, AOL, Prodigy and other on-line services were hitting the suburbs, so you'd expect a scientist like Barry Allen to be at least broadly familiar with electronic databases. And that's ignoring the relatively greater technological complexity of the DCU compared to the real world...
But I digress. Despite being a major character in this story, Barry Allen is not the focus of it. And my own issues with the character, what they are doing with him, the corny jokes relating to him and the whole can of worms opened up by his presence... this is not the issue.
The issue is Green Lantern #44 and this is probably the best story we've seen with the Martian Manhunter in years. You know what they say about old heroes; they don't die - they become undead minions of an unseen master, with bad attitudes and a seemingly greater command of their original powers. :)
Basically, that's what most of this issue is - a zombie J'onn totally owning Hal Jordan and Barry Allen. And only by using his own original powers, completely ignoring whatever powers the Black Ring gives him. He wonders out loud at one point, "I'm as powerful as Superman. Why does everyone forget that?" Well, J'onn - probably because nobody ever writes stories where you are allowed to be this awesome, using your telepathy to turn Barry against Hal by hallucinating him to be you and then forcing Hal to have to fight back against fists moving at Mach 3.
J'onn also gives them a lecture about what a joke The Justice League has become since J'onn's death and decries the fact that the man who killed him still walks free. Gee, I guess that means now we now know how well Hal's attempt at forming a pro-active Justice League BECAUSE off J'onn's death worked.
The rest of the issue is a bit more plot-centered, with us getting some fairly important war information about the other Lantern armies and what they are up to. And - because apparently they remembered this is supposed to be John Stewart's book too this month - we also get to see John at Ground Zero as the entire planet Xanshi - a planet which he failed to save - comes back to life as a bunch of very pissed off zombies.
The Final Verdict: All grousing about Barry Allen's place in this book and John Stewart's lack of one aside, this is a pretty good read that's managing to hold the tone and pace of the series well. It's also a definite must-read if you're a Martian Manhunter fan.