Saturday, October 30, 2010

Review: The Flash #5

(This review was originally posted on September 30 at Population GO.)

THE FLASH #5 "The Dastardly Death of the Rogues - Part Four"
Written by Geoff Johns; art by Francis Manapul.

When the new volume of The Flash launched about four months ago, I wasn’t quite convinced that I would enjoy it much. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Flash to begin with, and I’d read some very negative comments about Geoff Johns’ Flash Rebirth mini-series, in which he resurrected the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen, and set him up to star in this new ongoing series. I decided to give it a shot out of curiosity and because reading a new series from #1 is always more appealing than trying to jump on in the middle of a run, but I was half expecting to drop it from my pull list after a couple of issues. To my surprise, the book was an instant hit for me. And #5 is another issue in a series that consistently feels fresh and exciting.

This is in no small part due to Francis Manapul’s magnificent art and Brian Buccellato’s stellar colouring. These two are a match made in heaven, and every month they make this book look amazing, elevating Geoff Johns’ material to truly inspired levels. This latest issue is no exception. Every page is a pleasure to look at, including the trippy, psychedelic splash page shown at the top of this review. (That’s the unlettered version from Francis Manapul’s Deviant Art profile, which you should really have a look at if you’re a fan of beautiful comic art.)

From the story angle, this issue is also pretty fantastic. The fight between the Rogues and the Renegades (who are mirror versions of them from the future), with Flash caught in between, continues, and we start to get some answers to the questions that have been raised in previous issues. There’s a pretty big twist in the last few pages that seriously alters everything we thought we knew about what exactly is going on here. I’m not going to spoil it, but let’s just say I’m excited to find out what happens next. 

The only minor quibble I have with the issue is about the jarring scene that ties into Brightest Day. It’s very clumsy and serves no real purpose other than to justify the banner that’s been appearing at the top of the cover each month since #1. There’s a similarly out-of-place scene in last week’s Birds of Prey, and I’m assuming the same thing happens once in a while in the other titles tied to the event. If you’re not following Brightest Day, you’ll probably be left scratching your head wondering what that was all about. My advice is to just pretend it didn’t happen and continue reading.

Awkward crossover bleed aside, this is another great issue of one of DC’s best current ongoing titles. Recommended.


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