Written By: Geoff Johns
Artist: Francis Manapul
Colorist: Brian Buccellatto
Cover Artist: Manapul & Buccellatto
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Editor: Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza
My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
The most frustrating thing about comics is how fast one can burn through all 22 pages. (Or in Flash #9’s case, 20 pages.) In most cases, and I’m sure I speak for all comic book junkies, I find myself finishing up a comic and wishing it hadn’t ended so quickly. With Flashpoint coming up next month, Johns is making a valiant effort in getting it off to a good start through Flash #9. While the writing and plot progression is great, I felt a little empty at the issue’s end.
It’s one of those stories I like the most from my comics, when the writer takes time to develop the unmasked persona of a hero. Barry Allen is bombarded with work and isn’t receiving a lot of support from his fellow policemen. This in turn is having a major impact on his family and social life having missed the first Allen family picnic since they began who knows when. But of course, this side of the story helps to initiate the angst and drama as Barry does his best to solve the mystery of the 16 year old Elongated Kid who somehow died of old age in less than a day. But to top it all off, this Flash installment ends with Barry Allen chasing after Barry Allen…wait, what?
So this issue is pretty compact with practically three plotlines running through it; Barry having issues with his family, the Elongated Kid mystery, and the motorcyclist randomly speeding through the city who happens to be Barry Allen’s doppelganger. I realize that this is the beginning of Flashpoint and Johns is just using The Flash to help move into the miniseries, but I did feel just a tad overwhelmed…mostly because I wasn’t expecting it.
I loved the focus on Barry’s family troubles due to his job and how he’s having difficulty coping with everything else surrounding his life, especially the tension that he and his wife are struggling through. One thing is clear though despite all the tension, those two really do love each other, which is an encouraging thought. I certainly wouldn’t want to see Iris leaving Barry after he’s been back from the dead for such a short time.
Let’s move to the crime scene with the purposefully confusing and wrinkly Elongated Kid because this is where I have minor difficulties. It’s the perfect way to start a mystery; creating an event that seemingly has nothing to do with the major events in the story. But connected to the family issues and the other Barry Allen, my imagination felt a little too congested. BUT!!! This is in no way stopping me from going to pick up flashpoint and continuing with the regular Flash title. I guess, despite the overwhelming nature of this issue, Johns is doing a good job at keeping me hooked.
Having recently voted Manapul as the best artist of 2010, I’m certain to say his nomination for 2011 is looking exceptionally bright. But even more impressive is Brian Buccellatto’s usage of lighting, both bright and dim. The crime scene flushed with shades of green and the bright orange light bouncing off of the motorcycle as it glides down the side of the building, illuminating off of Barry and his office is a definite sign of pure and error free artistry.
And just a side note…sure, it’s a surprising ending, but if anyone is really THAT surprised by Barry Allen traveling from the future to meet his past self, then you’re either really easily impressed or haven’t been around comics long enough to recognize this trend in comics.
My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
I shouldn’t really complain should I? This is the nature of comics. They come out once a month and we only get 22 pages of storyline that only takes us anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to read through, I should expect some overwhelming stories right? This isn’t a bad issue by any means. It’s not the best of the series, but you won’t read it and think to yourself “What the fuck was that shit?” It’s still worth your time.
7 out of 10 stars.