REVIEW: The Flash #2 by Geoff Johns

The Flash #2

Written by Geoff Johns

Art by Francis Manapul

Barry is back in action, and issue two elaborates more on the Reverse Flash Task Force known as The Renegades. They come looking for Barry to take him in for a murder that he will commit at some point in the future, and, well, he’s not happy with that. This is one of my big issues with the concept of time cops, if you’re arresting people for crimes that they haven’t yet committed in an effort to stop them, then you’re jailing innocent people because they don’t have the chance to be guilty. Think about that, by punishing someone before they have a chance to be guilty, you’re punishing the innocent.

I hate time travel. I really really do. I also hate Time Cop, but this isn’t about crappy Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, and if it was, I would have started with Street Fighter. No, this is about Barry Allen being back in the saddle and how I dig these future Rogues, but also how this book is definitely still finding its legs. That is to say that aside from a cool moments, nothing really happens. Kinda like last issue. Plots are introduced and furthered, but the pacing is such that the book just reads quickly, possibly too quickly.

Now this could easily just be a case of a book reading better as a collected arc, but right now the book is reading more like Bendis than Johns. Johns would get more mileage normally out of stuff like the Boomerang subplot, but instead it falls relatively flat. Much like the scenes with Barry at work. It’s funny though, because the first time I read this issue I was ready to gush about how awesome it was, but then last night I read Flash: Rebirth in trade, and then I read the Secret Origins and #1 again, and yeah, this issue lost a lot of its luster. I think the main issue might just be that while Rebirth made a case as to why Barry had to be back, this issue could just as easily have been about Wally West as the Flash and only a few changes would have to be made; and for the most part not even big ones.

It’s not like what Johns did with Green Lantern where he went right in and made it clear why Hal had to be the guy in these stories. Now maybe that’s coming for Flash, who can say? Flashpoint is next year, and it could be kinda awesome, you never know. But in issue number two of Barry’s first solo series in over twenty years, I don’t see it. Maybe it’s first arc set up and jitters, maybe it was just a badly paced issue, maybe I’m just missing something.

Francis Manapul steals the show here easily with his awesome-as-always pencils. If he keeps up this style and stays around with Flash for the long term he might even manage to rival Mike Wieringo, Scott Kollins, and Howard Porter for my favorite Flash artist. His art is far and away the best part of this book, and that’s not a knock on it, it’s freaking great. So much better then his Legion or his Superboy.

At the end of the day though, it wasn’t a great issue by any stretch, but there is definite promise and potential, and since it’s Geoff Johns he gets the benefit of the doubt. The art is far and away the best part, and warrants, if nothing else, a flip through.

5/10

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