As "The Road to Flashpoint" continues, it stands to reason that "The Flash" #10 is going have a lot of hints and teases about "Flashpoint" itself. And sure enough, that's what the first third of the issue is all about, as the Flash and Kid Flash confront Hot Pursuit. Here's the thing, though: it's the least interesting part of the issue.
Geoff Johns does his best to make the wholesale exposition dump in "The Flash" #10 interesting, but it's hard to keep from feeling like you're just reading story notes for an upcoming mini-series. There's no urgency in the scene as information about time travel, the multiverse, and history unraveling is tossed out. Because we're being told about things rather than seeing them happen, it makes sense that it's quite possibly the most boring scene in the current "The Flash" series to date. (And this is from someone who is looking forward to "Flashpoint.")
Once Johns moves Hot Pursuit out of the picture, though, things perk up immediately. Barry and Bart's conversation (and friction) looks to be setting up a larger story, one that both gives the characters something new and also promises the presence of the other Flash characters in the title down the line. And with the arrival of Patty Spivot (after being foreshadowed last issue), we're getting more police work, and it's one of the things I've enjoyed the most about the return of Barry Allen. While the two stories look to be really just different pieces of the same overall arc, it's the prematurely aged victims that's keeping my interest here, not Hot Pursuit's words of warning.
Much more consistent is Francis Manapul's art. I'm sure the slowness of issues is causing some fits in the scheduling department (since "The Flash" needs to lead into "Flashpoint") but looking at the comic, each page is so beautifully rendered I can't find myself worrying too much. Both I and my fellow reviewers have talked about how great Manapul (with the able assistance of colorist Brian Buccellato, whose contributions can't be ignored) is when it comes to the action sequences, but I think Manapul's drawings of the quieter scenes are just as good. When we get the crime scene, Manapul's taken extra care for all of the little moments to shine as well as the big events; from the city skyline in the background, to the careful bend of the police tape as Barry lifts it up. And when the witness is revealed? It's another great piece of art from Manapul and Buccellato.
It's a shame the "Flashpoint" lead-in material is so uneven, because this is supposed to be a big billboard for the upcoming event. Still, the parts that do work absolutely shine, and that makes it worth reading the comic, easily. Once "Flashpoint" is over, I'm looking forward to seeing what Johns and company do next with Barry Allen and company. This series has become my first real exposure to the character, but based on this depiction I'm in for more.