Regardless of your preference for the bearer of the lightning and champion of the Speed Force, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are delivering a beautiful looking book with “The Flash.”
On many of this issue’s twenty pages, including some in this preview, Manapul uses the setting as a background on the page, with the panels sitting over top the larger, full-page scene imagery. The bang for the buck (or three) is definitely present in this comic as Manapul and Buccellato literally fill this book with amazing art. Their characters are more loosely drawn, carrying the sense of animation that would normally be associated with thumbnails. Naturally, with a pair of artists working on this book, the thumbnails are given depth and life.
This issue continues the story of Mob Rule (yet another sign that the availability of character names is running on empty) and Manuel Lago’s attempts to stabilize his clones. Lago has enlisted Darwin Elias in those attempts. That leads to a revelation regarding Flash’s powers and the consequences thereof. In the background of the story are the continued developments in the relationships of Barry Allen and the ladies in his life: Patty Spivot and Iris West. Oh yeah, there’s also a breakout from Iron Heights. With so much going on in this comic, things felt jumpy, like Barry Allen after a double espresso, hopping between Flash appearances, confrontations and conversations, but never drawing any of those to a close.
As previously mentioned, the art is wonderful for this book. There is no chance of miscommunication between writer and artist, as the artists are the writers. The one thing that I did find wobbly with the art had to do with Flash confronting Tar Pit, Folding Man and Girder. There’s something going on with the snow/ice and some momentum on the Flash’s part, but it gets a little shifty. The outcome is discernible, but the execution gets lost in the exhibition of it all. At least it looks good.
“The Flash” has been a fun title in this relaunch. Manapul and Buccellato lure readers in with the pretty art, then surprise the readers with good stories to drive it. As this title stars the fastest man, I would like to see the storyline with Mob Rule pick up the pace. Five issues seems long for that tale to stretch, especially when there’s so much else to see about the relaunched world of the Flash. Regardless, this comic is entertaining, visually engaging, and worth coming back to check out again next month.