Monday, August 2, 2010

Comic Book Review: The Flash #4

Book Information

Written by Geoff Johns
Penciled by Francis Manapul
Colors by Brian Buccellato
Letters by Sal Cipriano
Cover by Manapul & Buccellato

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
When it comes to Geoff Johns, there’s one thing we can be certain about…his ability to successfully revive a hero is unmatched. No wonder DC hired him to remap the DCU, he gives each reawakening such a fresh new start. The work he put in Flash: Rebirth and the secret origin stories of Green Lantern and Superman have been remarkably well done. And with being four issues into the reinstatement of Barry Allen’s once owned Flash title, it’s one heck of jump start.

With the first two issues of this run, we understood right from the beginning that the renegades weren’t necessarily bad people, but we still didn’t like them right? #4 shows us a different side to this futuristic police force, one of compassion combined with a conflicting sense of loyalty to their jobs and fallen comrades. Who should I route for? If the Flash beats these guys, then the Renegade’s deceased partner stays dead. But if the Renegades complete their task in apprehending the Flash, will this time paradox of arresting citizens before they commit a crime become a lawful standard in the future? With each positive option comes a necessary evil that isn’t beneficial to anyone. Just like in Alan Moore’s “Watchmen,” Johns makes us ask the question, “Which side do you choose when both sides are wrong?”

But Johns also brings to the literary table a sense of urgency. With Barry Allen’s new found knowledge of his wife’s possible life threatening predicament, and the secret plotting by Captain Cold and the Rouges to finally put and end to the Flash once and for all, all I can do is hold on tight for 4 + weeks and await the outcome. I just might die in all the angst driven anticipation!

Then there’s Francis Manapul, who has shocked me completely with his uncanny ability to create such marvelous works of art. The separation Manapul makes between what the world looks like when the Flash is running vs. when he isn’t is crisp and eloquently jaunting. And with the very unique painted look Brian Buccellato adds to the Flash Motif, you could honestly sit down in your chair, take an eraser and wipe out all of the dialogue and gaze upon each and every panel and still enjoy Flash #4 just as much as you would with the words. I think I have no choice but to make Mr. Manapul a candidate for my top comic book artists of 2010 list.

My Awesomely Climactic Conclusion
Alas, it hurts me to wait so long for the 5th installment of this awesome title. Johns, like always, has put so much hard work into making this title unique and fresh while still holding on to some of those classic story telling techniques. While I can say with absolute certainty that this issue will not make it as the best comic for 2010, it sure as hell is in the running for making the top ten.

Writing: 10
Themes: 10
Art: 10
Overall: 10 out of 10

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