Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Franis Manapul
I tweeted and facebooked this as soon as I finish the issue, but why is this book making me want Flashpoint less? I mean, combine this book with all of the announced tie ins and….DC had a better sale out of me when it was just an ominous banner without much known. The mystery of who Hot Pursuit was was intriguing, despite that it happened almost entirely before the character even properly debuted, but ever since last issue revealed that he was Barry….I don’t find myself caring anymore. We are one month from Flashpoint, but unless this book is getting another issue out before the event starts, prepare for a bumpy ride.
Hot Pursuit, or Barry 2 as I shall call him now, opens the issue up with exposition about how Flash, Barry 1, is the generator the Speed Force. Not only that, but how New Earth is the keystone of the multiverse, and Barry 1 is the keystone of the Speed Force. Pardon me while I gag, but did we really need two Barry Allen’s so one can put over the other one? I’m trying hard enough to not resent him and the fact that this title has been a disappointment, I’m trying hard to not whine over the lack of Wally in my life, but does the main character really need to pat himself on the back with help of alternate reality dupes? And does Barry 2’s night stick do anything, or does it struggle with actual police work?
Bart is a nice addition to this issue, for what little page time he gets. Johns uses a portion of the issue to set up why he’s more important to Flashpoint than Wally West, and just why exactly he’s going to be lost in his miniseries. I’ve never really had much to complain about with Johns’ handling of the Flash family in the past; Wally, Bart, Jay, Iris, Linda…he traditionally does a pretty damn good job. Bart is a bit of a dick, he’s hot headed, he’s the first one to assume that his grandfather is totally wrong. It’s actually entertaining, and despite that the segment of Barry and Bart together without Hot Pursuit is dreadfully short, it shows me that the human aspects really are Johns specialty in this title. Barry as the Flash I couldn’t care less about, Barry as a cop I’m interested in, and Barry as the absentee grandfather? That was one of the few times I’ve seen the character completely humanized in costume, that was the kind of thing I’ve been wanting to see.
I’ve said a few times that Barry as a cop is the most intriguing thing about this title, and that the book either needs more of it, or a Keystone Cops book for Barry to do CSI. This issue tries to continue that, but Johns goes ahead and loses me for a bit at the beginning by bringing back a supporting cast member that I don’t think has been around since before I was born. Yes, I appreciate all the rubs to continuity, but come on Geoff, you don’t even use Tom Kalmaku in Green Lantern, hell, you don’t use Cowgirl and you created her, so why is Patty Spivot back? I’m twenty-six years old, and according to my favorite Flash Wiki, she’s had a single mention, and a cameo appearance in a flashback in the time I’ve been alive. I understand the feeling that peppering in familiar supporting characters recreates the feel of the previous run, but it’s a hurdle of history for anyone that hasn’t read a Flash comic prior to 1984.
That said, I do enjoy “Cop Barry” who takes center stage at the end of the book, pretty much after they get over the reunion I don’t care about. “Cop Barry” is the only consistently interesting part of this book, and I wish we could just have a six issue story about Barry having to solve a case as Barry Allen without suiting up, instead of a poorly built to event….wait, no, I take that back. Dan Jurgens did a nice job building it in his recent Time Masters: Vanishing Point mini. Then again, I’m not about to dismiss by fandom of Jurgens.
Francis Manapul does his best to pull the issue together, and I do think he’s a nice choice for this book, but I wish I wasn’t getting headaches from the writng while enjoying his art. His handling of Bart makes me want to see him draw a Kid Flash series. To be honest, there’s not much to say about this issue visually other than I like how it looks. Manapul is a hell of a talent.
This issue falters in a few areas, not the least of which is the complete blow off when it comes to the purpose of Barry 2, and the biggest of which is that the Road to Flashpoint is being paved with uninteresting murder mystery. Who is aging people and leaving them dead? Is Barry 2 the bad guy? Does anybody really think that this book is over at issue twelve with all the work Johns is trying to put into rebuilding Barry’s status quo? Better question; is this issue supposed to get me pumped for Flashpoint? Johns has done a great job building up to events in Green Lantern, giving readers a good idea as to what they’re in store for with his issues without need for teasers. With Flash, honestly, if not for all the hype DC is giving to Flashpoint online I would have no idea that an event is coming.
Bart Allen ges more Flashpoint build up in this issue than anything else, and all that’s said to him is that him being a time traveler is going to make things messy for him, but hey, wait a second, Kid Flash Lost by Sterling Gates is aleady announced, so that’s not really news to me.
Tags: Flashpoint (DC Comics), Francis Manapul, Geoff Johns, Kid Flash (Bart Allen), The Flash