Thursday, November 18, 2010

Comic Book Review: The Flash #6

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Francis Manapul
Colorist: Brian Buccellato
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Cover Art: Manapul & Buccellato
Editor: Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Do you know why stories dealing in time travel are so hard to write?  Because no matter how hard you try there will always be that paradox causing confusion within the storyline.  Very few books that use time travel as the plot base work fluidly and prevent headaches from occurring.  The guiltiest culprits of poorly written time travel stories are comic book writers, who taken advantage of this sci-fi genre, going a little over board and loosing track of the story in the midst of the excitement of jumping back and forth through time.  The exception to this crowd, however, is Mr. Geoff Johns.

The plot involves Flash calling the Renegades out in their methods and motivation. Flash manages to escape the futuristic police force and proves once again that he is the greatest Flash of all time.  Barry goes back to his own time to save the women he loves and clear his name.  But can he make it back in time before Top accomplishes his deed?  (I’m sure you can figure this one out right?)

Johns still has much to deal with, what with the same paradoxical issues that string along with this arc, but he manages to address those issues in elegant form and style.

First, as stated above, time travel stories face confusion and continuity problems; always deviating from reality and providing conclusions to the story that makes readers slap their hands against their foreheads in disgust.  Bill and Ted is one of the more successful plots involving time travel.  But here, Johns takes these unrealistic and confusing aspects of time travel storytelling and makes sense out of it, putting all the fault on the renegades and showing how they were the ones making the bad time traveling decisions.  This gives off the realistic vibe that trying to change the past really can’t succeed in the way you want it too.

Secondly, the tie-in with what’s currently going on in many of the DC titles helps to solidify that fact that the time stream in the DCU truly is having problems, which is why the Renegades made such awful mistakes to begin with.  Wonder Woman, Bruce Wayne, Brightest Day, etc, it all ties-in to this specific story in “The Flash,” but helps explain some things that many fans, I’m sure, have been severely disappointed in.  (Wonder Woman guys, Wonder Woman!)

As readers, we are tied between the uncertainty of the justice system in the future and wanting crime to be done away with using this type of enforcement.  We aren’t left with any easy answers and Johns does a good job in ending this issue very ambiguously; we still have a fairly happy ending, but both sides of the argument are presented in both positive and negative lights.  Even the villain, Top, wasn’t completely bad.  Living under a system such as this could drive anyone to committing a crime to clear his or her name.  The point is, you can’t put blame on any single person or group as everyone has done something a little sketchy.

How is it Francis Manapul continuously improves the quality of his art as the months push on I have no idea.  I’m beginning to like his style so much that I almost prefer it over the cleaned up, inked-to-hell look.  This sketched out look gives it a very fresh feel that forces the art to stick out, begging to be noticed and praised. 

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
Though Brightest Day is having a lot of trouble standing on its own, Johns is making the tie-in with the Flash fantastic.  But even if you aren’t following Brightest Day, the Flash #6 will still stand on its own and doesn’t RELY on the major DC event for excellence.  The Flash is a great book and you NEED to pick it up if you haven’t already.

Rating: 10 out of 10
Writing: 10
Art: 10
Themes: 10

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