Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Flash #10, #11, & #12 (Review)

Well, the "New 52" Flash is officially a year old!  Sales have been solid, Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato have proven they can write as well as do fabulous arwork, & this has consistently been my favorite DC Comics title.  "The Man" & "Booch" have introduced us to the re-imagined Rogues, Gem Cities, & Barry Allen with art that borders on masterpiece.....I cannot state enthusiastically enough how wonderfully awesome the artwork is from the first to last page in every issue done by these two creators.

The Flash is one of the most visually-influenced characters in comic books.  What I mean is, the story almost always hinges on the visual....rather than the visual on the story (i.e. Batman, Green Lantern, etc.).  DC Comics made the right decision in giving this title to Manapul & Buccellato, two artists who were new to writing.  They have progressed exponentially as writers over their first 12 issues together, all the while providing the breathtaking artwork that is needed on a title like The Flash!

Looking back over the years at wonderful artwork on The Flash.....from the talented hands of Harold Porter, Ethan Van Sciver, Scott Kolins, & Andy Kubert (off the top of my head) is Francis Manapul's Flash that I always see now when I think of The Flash!  He has made The Flash "Iconic" again in my eyes....Thank You Mr. Manapul!!!

On to the reviews.....

The Flash is in love....with Patty Spivot, but she's disappeared in Guatemala (while investigating a cold case murder).  The Flash is trying to find her, but finds himself facing "waves" of the hands of  Weather Wizard!  Marco Mardon has a drug empire in Guatemala, and with the help of his considerable powers and his sister-in-law, he is not about to let The Flash interfere.

What Weather Wizard & The Flash don't know is that Patty is being held captive by Elsa Mardon, W.W.'s sister-in-law!  The Flash tracks them down, Elsa admits to taking Patty, and a half second later The Flash has saved Patty's life from the drug thugs ordered to kill her by Elsa.

Barry Allen wants to tell Patty he loves her, but she now blames The Flash for Barry's "death" (see: Flash #8).....Not knowing that Barry & The Flash are one-in-the-same.  The Flash decides not to burden her with his troubles, Weather Wizard makes sure Elsa is punished for his brother's murder, and The Glider appears to bring Weather Wizard "home".

A decent issue, with fill-in artwork by Marcos To.  He does well, but he's just not Francis Manapul!

In Slow Burn, Heat Wave makes his first appearance in the "New 52", and teaches the important lesson of what happens when you play with fire.  Barry Allen has decided to "stay dead" for a while, travelling to "The Keys" (a crime-infested ghetto suburb of Keystone City), and finding a new job.

He finds work at the bar the Rogues hang out at.  He has a personal conversation with Captain Cold, and witnesses firsthand the animosity that Heat Wave and Cold have toward one another. Heat Wave blames Cold for what has happened to them, and wants revenge.

Barry changes to The Flash, and puts out fire and ice with some fast running.....Glider appears once again as Heat Wave and Cold are being transported to jail.

Marcos To does artwork again, and again...he's not "The Man"!  Some decent revelations begin to take shape in this issue, linking the changes in the Rogues to something that Captain Cold has done....previous to the "New 52", all the Rogues uses technology or mechanical weapons (Guns, flamethrowers, etc.) their skills are manifested as powers within themselves.

Issue 12 sees Manapul back on full-time artwork duties....and the issue really takes off from the start.  Glider saves Heat Wave, and leaves Captain Cold (her brother, btw) falling to his death as The Flash hunts down Dr. Elias to find out why he's turned against him.  After tapping into the residual power created by The Flash's Speedforce, Dr. Elias is considered a hero.....of course he didn't tell the public where he got the energy that is now powering the Gem Cities and the new "all-green" railway system.

Meanwhile, the Pied Piper is back....and so is Trickster, making their debuts while saving Captain Cold.  The Flash meets Glider face-to-face, and finds out that she has something against Dr. Elias.  She uses her powers to fatally wound him, but makes it look like The Flash has done it!  She & the other Rogues then drive the new railway train off the tracks and into the side of a windowed skyscraper....where it disappears!!!!....thanks to Mirror Master!!

Just as The Rogues are about to make their escape, they find their path blocked by the chilly hands of Captain Cold.....a great cliffhanger going into The Flash Annual #1!!  Loved everything about this issue!

The Flash, The "New 52"....One Year Later.  I have never seen an artist use the panel layout to tell stories like Francis Manapul does.....he can draw within his drawings (see panel to our right) to tell a great story in unique ways.  He does this every issue, making The Flash entertaining and visually exciting!

Sales have dropped over the year, but are still strong at this point....after a couple of fill-in issues on art by Marcos To, Manapul is back in the saddle for the foreseeable future.  I've always been o.k. about fill-in artists, since time/stresses/real life sometimes slow down an artist, so I imagine somewhere down the road there will be fill-in artists again on The Flash.  So long as the majority of artwork is done by Manapul & Buccellato...I'm happy!

My hope for the future of The Flash is that "The Man" & "Booch" stay together and continue their solid writing and phenomenal the end, that is what will propel this title to great heights.  While creative changes are abounding all over the "New 52" titles, this title remains unchanged...that speaks volumes of what fans and DC "higher-ups" think of these two.  With the highly anticipated "Gorilla Warfare" beginning in a couple months, I fully expect to see The Flash back in the Top 20 over the next year.

CITIZEN'S GRADE (one year later): AWESOME.

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