"The Flash" #12 is an incredibly fast comic book. No seriously, that wasn't intended to be a pun as the story in this issue zips along (again, unintended, but also unavoidable) at a pace that betrays the beauty and care put into the art. I'm not sure what the division of labor is between Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato writing and creating the art for this series, but "The Flash" #12 deserves to be read once for the story then again for the art and maybe even a third time for the splendor of it all.
When DC relaunched their universe twelve months ago, everything was fair game. Whatever the creators sought to include in their stories had to be a possibility and in the case of "The Flash," so many of the components to the Flash legacy seemed to be required for a book showcasing the Scarlet Speedster. With this issue, it seems as though all of the pieces are on the table and the legacy of the Flash is splashed across this series. From an apparently pending legal issue to a war within the ranks of his Rogues Gallery, the Flash finds himself in a situation that would make Peter Parker think his life is pretty darn good after any given calamity.
With Manapul and Buccellato writing, however, the familiar portions of the Flash's world are not necessarily predictable. "The Flash" #12 provides multiple slices of evidence to that claim as one of Flash's Rogues breaks rank, another breaks lives and a third slips out of character and into a different role, becoming deadlier along the way.
The artwork in this issue, as mentioned already, is pretty. That seemed like an awkward label to pin to one of DC's preeminent superheroes, but there's no denying that Manapul's detailed drawings, sublime storytelling and liquid style blended with the ethereal but bold coloring of Buccellato make this comic completely unlike anything else being published right now. Barry Allen has never been my favorite Flash, but with art like this, I'm willing to let him grow on me.
I'm not a regular reader of this book in floppy format, preferring to have a hardcover in my paws so I can soak in the art, but when a new issue of "The Flash" hits the stands, I definitely spend some time looking through it. In this case, I didn't set it back down. Hands down, this is the most intense issue of "The Flash" that I've read in this series. Luckily the story dribbled out in these pages is set to crash through the "Flash Annual" hitting the rack next week.