Story Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Art Francis Manapul
Colors Brian Buccellato
Letters Sal Cipriano
Rebooted slightly younger and single, Barry Allen is on a date with Patty Spivot that’s crashed by mysterious soldiers. After foiling the ploy as The Flash, a dead soldier is unmasked and Barry realizes he knows him…a mystery that only deepens later when the man comes to visit Barry, very much alive and well!
It’s no secret: I’m a Flash fanboy. I always have been, and I’ve made no effort to hide this, so you know that I’ve been pretty critical so far of the character’s role in Flashpoint and the new 52 titles. Thankfully, Barry seems to be in good hands. For the first time since his return, Barry is a fun character, someone I like to see on the page and want to root for. And while the first talk of the marriage being retconned sounded terrible, Iris is a strong presence in the book still, so who knows what will happen there.
The book does have some issues. I still miss the concept of a Flash family; it’s worth noting that Wally is still nowhere to be seen, not being mentioned either in this book or referenced in relation tot he new Kid Flash over in Teen Titans.
And then there’s the costume. Of all the costume redesigns, I think this is the one that suffers the most. While the nonsensical lines actually do kind of have an explanation (seams where the costume seals over his body; we’ve already covered the new suit up sequence), they ruin what made The Flash’s costume so classic: it’s simplicity. The character has always worn a sleek, simple body suit, one that was actually ahead of it’s time when it was created. The lines jumble this up, and look even more ridiculous when they glow bright yellow as he runs.
But this is all upstaged by Manapul’s fantastic art, which finally captures the essence of what a comic book should be. The art is simply gorgeous, and Manapul’s use of panels and movement gives even J.H. Williams III a run for his money; all it takes is one look at the amazing intro splash to see what I mean.
Yes, despite a few worrisome changes, this book is ultimately good. The characterization feels great, the pace isn’t rushed or cluttered (like almost every other big New 52 book), and the story hook is well suited to the character. Unlike several others, this is definitely one I’ll be picking up again next month.