Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Frances Manapul
Colors: Brian Buccellato
I always think it’s funny that The Flash is always the title that takes me the longest to read. Even if there is not that much dialog in the issue, I spend a lot of time soaking in Manapul’s art. Then I also get to thinking about how Johns finds new ways to impress me with Barry’s speed force. This issue had all of that, plus more time travel fun…and a really big mirror.
This is part four of “The Dastardly Death of the Rogues” storyline and there is no sign of slowing down. Not only is Barry dealing with the Rogues from the 25th century trying to arrest him, Captain Boomerang is back. So once again, Barry has to be in several places at once, which is the way Flash reads best. The future Rogues are actually on the good side of the law and they are trying to arrest Barry before he ends up killing a Rogue. The Top from the future begins to have second thoughts about their mission and takes it upon himself to explain to Barry just who he ends up killing and why. Although it seems like this story has been told before, I still enjoy seeing things unfold that I wish could be stopped. It’s the whole “Whatever happened, happened” time travel thing from Lost that makes me all giddy. I like seeing characters work to stop something from happening and then it still ends up the way the someone foretold.
I really do think Manapul was born to draw this series. The Flash feels alive and like he’s actually moving off the page. The helicopter scene in this issue is spectacular. Everything is in black and white except for the Flash. So he just explodes off the page. The scene has an urgency and still has Barry looking completely in control of everything. I love how Johns keeps adding these scenes that show Barry using his speed in interesting ways to save people. He could also be writing these scenes just to see how Manapul is going to illustrate them.
There is only once scene that kind of drags and it’s the Top telling Barry his future. It felt like he gave out way too much detail to us as as the readers. But at the same time, that only makes it seem more likely that Barry is going to fail. No matter how fast he is, he can’t stop things from happening that are meant to happen. He can be in multiple places in seconds, but as he always says, he’s still running late. I like when I look back over this issue, it really does seem like the issue took place in the span of five minutes. There is just so much packed into each panel, but it doesn’t feel like overkill.
The Flash hasn’t been this much fun in years. I stopped reading when Johns left the first time and am glad to see that this title is back to a thrill ride. I like Barry more than I thought I would. I’ve only been reading comics for 12 years, so for me, Wally West has always been the Flash. I’ve read trades and back issues with Barry, but the current Flash was always Wally. So I really didn’t want to see Wally go. But this title is working out a lot better than I thought it would and I’d recommend this for anyone to put on their pull list.