Sunday, April 18, 2010

Comic Book Review: The Flash #1

Book Information
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Francis Manapul

A mystery is at hand! (like always) Barry Allen is back in the “Flash” and keeping people safe from the thugs and criminals who wish ill-will on the innocent bystanders of Central City.  But a Mirror Mask look alike has descended upon the City and Barry Allen has no idea what is going on.  The Flash must do all he can to solve this mystery before he is wrongly accused of murder.

My Thoughts
This issue was not what I expected it to be, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Flash #1 focuses more on the reestablishing of Barry Allen and the people around him in the DCU, which means this is a much more dialogue driven script than anything else.  So I would implore those of you who are hoping for a lot of lighting bolt trailing action to sit back and not allow your pre-conceived ideas of this book to dictate your feelings about the story.

The book starts out with a nice entrance as the Flash shoots down the street after the Trickster who seems to have chosen a poor get away car to outrun the cops in.  But I guess the make and model of a vehicle is a secondary concern for Geoff Johns since the entire chase scene is pretty epic, ending with the automobile flying off a harbor dock and the Flash ripping the car apart mid-air to save a kid in a pretty silveristic-age style.

The next 13 to 14 pages place Barry Allen back into his old forensic position at the Central City crime lab.  My problem is I was never a huge fan of the Flash, especially during the whole aftermath of that damned Zero Hour so many years ago.  So for me, having a reintroduction to a lot of the classic Flash characters was a nice re-cap.  However, seeing as how fans wouldn’t want a complete history lesson of stuff they already know, Johns pushed through the re-capping pretty quickly, giving us enough to be informed without dragging the story down.

It’s interesting to me that virtually no time is spent on Iris and Barry catching back up on the years they have missed together.  I’m very much a fan of nostalgic story lines so I was a tad disappointed that Johns didn’t take advantage of that literary opportunity.  There was an instance where Iris and Barry look back on an agreement they made, defining the professional boundaries Barry has to take between his personal life and work; this moment was equally happy and sad, foreshadowing what this married couple’s future could be like.
Rating: 8.5

As the book reestablishes Barry Allen into the DCU, the loneliness that seems to following him along is an interesting aspect.  Not one character in this book is an unfamiliar face in the eyes of Barry Allen, yet the amount of loneliness I sense in Barry is more than I could have endured.  He walks into a city he hasn’t seen in years, finds himself at semi-odds with his wife, and is unable to make himself comfortable in his old workplace.  Now while Johns is presenting The Flash as a happy-dappy man who goes with the flow, and it’s possible I’m seeing things that aren’t there, I can’t seem to get past those moments of utter loneliness.
Rating: 7.5

If you take out the word balloons and thought boxes, I would still find myself enjoying this book equally as much.  Francis Manapul might have just boosted himself as one of my favorite artists.  His style seems to combine both the clean, finished look with the rough sketch approach which makes it very appealing visually as no one else draws like that.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the lighting bolts trailing after the Flash (any of them) so it is a bit annoying to me to have to see that happy trail every time he shoots off.  But minor annoyances aside, I love how well done the speed lines are in this issue.  This is an important and vital aspect in the Flash mythos and if it’s not done well, it’s possible the book could fail.

I do find it odd that Both Barry and Iris look a lot younger than they probably should, but Power Girl has been around for ages and her boobs are perkier than ever with no sag in sight.  I guess I can live with a 70 year old man living in a 30 year old man’s body.
Rating: 9

A fun read; probably one of the better “first” issues I’ve read in a long time.

Rating: 8.3 out of 10 stars

Next Issue Coming May 12, 2010
BRIGHTEST DAY shines its light on the continuing saga of Barry Allen – The Fastest Man Alive! The Flash continues his investigation into the "Dastardly Death of the Rogues" as the case takes a dramatic turn and Barry corners a suspect...and can't believe who it is!

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