The Flash #9
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Francis Manapul
So….this is the prelude to Flashpoint we’ve been waiting on? Or part one of it at least? For a book about the fasted man alive, and written by a guy who already proved once that he really does know how to do so, this book has serious pacing issues. It’s not bad by any means, but it does have a lot of recurring feelings of “Nothing’s happening and now the issue is over”, with occasional moments of cool stuff happening. It was a problem the first arc suffered from, and unfortunately if this is an indicator of things to come, the Road to Flashpoint is going to be a bumpy one.
The issue doesn’t start out seeming like it’s leading to anything important, which I guess is not the worst thing to lead off with if you’re planning on amping up the action. There’s a lot of focus on Barry out of costume as we see a day at the office for Barry Allen, and not just any day, but one after his return pissed off a lot of cops. One of the things I do respect about Barry is that he is the text book definition of a good cop, down to the point about getting the right man and not the convenient suspect. Over the course of the first arc Barry managed to prove a man innocent, proving that the arresting officers forced a confession to get the case wrapped up. Thanks to that cases are being reopened left and right as Central City P.D. goes back and checks over a bunch of closed cases to make sure that they were handled correctly, and not rushed to completion. This is definitely up Barry’s alley as these cases will be solved by his work, however it didn’t indere himself to the offers on the force who are having their cases reopened and investigated, or the cops being investigated for the case Barry already broke.
He doesn’t spend the entire issue in the lab though, in fact, he barely is there at all. Barry gets a case as a dead elderly superhero is found, and while they’re calling it murder, there’s no evidence as to how. It’s an interesting case that unfolds as the issue goes on. There’s also a picnic with the extended Flash family that Barry is going out of his way to skip, and he admits to Iris that he saw in Mirror Master’s mirror from the last that his mother isn’t supposed to be dead, she’s supposed to still be there. That Zoom murdered her just because Barry became who he would become, that he framed Barry’s father for it for the same reason. It’s interesting that Barry is taking heavy note of disruptions in the time stream, as the reveal for who the dead super hero is helps set up the plot for the next issue, as it’s a character who definitely didn’t exist last week.
Flashpoint is coming.
The issue ends with Barry confronting the mysterious Hot Pursuit, the biker who uses the Speed Force, and the issue even culminates with the reveal of his identity. I won’t spoil it in the review, but the reveal is not someone I saw coming at all, but given the nature of what Flashpoint is supposed to be it makes total sense. His job is to save history from the biggest time anomaly to ever threaten history, and he needs the Flash’s help, and this is the point where I immediately found the issue to be worth it. The issue doesn’t really kick in until Hot Pursuit shows up again near the end, but once that does I just immediately wanted more. Now I’m just hoping that the next issue can maintain that same feel.
Francis Manapul remains an inspired choice on art for this book, and while I’m not a huge fan of the delays, I can’t argue that the wait always seems to prove worth it in this book. With not a lot of costume time in this issue, he mainly draws the out of costume stuff and I have to say he does a great job with the crime scene. There’s a lot of attention to detail, and the linework is great, and all around it’s a great looking issue.
The Road to Flashpoint kicked off with this issue, but you don’t really feel like it until the last few pages. It’s not a bad issue up until then, but the cliffhanger that Johns leaves us off on is the best part of the entire issue. The crime scene stuff was cool for me, and given the next issue blurb, as well as the deceased seemingly being an anomaly character I have hopes to see it expanded upon next issue. The book really does have pacing issues, but I felt the same way about Green Lantern before the Sinestro Corps War (as well as harboring a resentment for Hal, and preferring Kyle, who Hal replaced as the primary GL…kinda like Barry did with Wally). I’m optimistic with this title, especially with my own personal hype for Flashpoint building up nicely. The art in this book is great, and hey, the last page reveal is pretty sweet. You can check it out here. But really, to enjoy this issue you have to either be a fan of Barry, or want to be a fan of Barry. If you’re either of those, I think you’ll enjoy yourself, and if not….why are you reading the book?
Tags: Flashpoint (DC Comics), Francis Manapul, Geoff Johns, Reviews, The Flash