In Review: The Flash #36

An absolute winner of a book. Two Flashes for the price of one. You can't go wrong with this!

The cover: “Beyond conventional time and space,” the Flash is trying to escape getting munched on a by a dinosaur, as another terrible lizard watches from afar. All I need is The Land of the Lost theme song playing as I’m looking at this and I’ll be in seven heaven. This image is by the interior art team: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, and Andrew Dalhouse. There’s a whole lot of detail in this cover and that’s what makes this super. I admit to not being a fan of the lightning effect coming off of the Flash when he went New 52, but it’s grown on me and it’s made me appreciate the work artists put into doing it. Spider-Man has got his crazy web slinging effect, the Flash has lightning. I also really like the dinos on this cover and there’s a tremendous amount of saliva coming out of the creature’s mouth to create the perfect eww effect. The coloring is also really sharp, with the shading on the dinosaur being tops. This is just an incredibly well done picture. Overall grade: A 

The story: “A Tale of Two Flashes in ‘Castaways'” by Robert Venditti & Van Jensen begins with Barry thinking he is in the past, having just defeated a dinosaur, but a flying probe scans him, wailing, “Searching for intruder…” and upon finding him says, “Exterminate.” Barry’s quickly on the run, but, being in a forest, misses that darned root sticking out, takes a tumble. He’d be dead were it not for the buff, shirtless man, whose face is covered by a mask. “Don’t even breathe,” says the stranger as the probe continues to search for its prey. In the present at the Utah Salt Flats, Future Barry, wearing a blue costume, learns from the computer in his suit that he’s gotten younger due to the Speed Force from last issue. Thrilled, Barry goes “home” sweeping Patty off her feet with a big smooch. This issue speeds smoothly between both Barrys, one trying to survive in an unknown wilderness and the other trying to right wrongs in the past, since he knows what will happen. I thought I would prefer one story over the other, but I enjoyed both equally. I was intrigued by what Future Barry would do in the past, but was unprepared for the final three pages. I would say that solidifies my opinion of that character! And the Barry I know is in some sort of Rip Hunter alternate world where things are going very Edgar Rice Burroughs. I’m loving every bit of this story and I’ll be racing to my local comic book store for the next issue. Overall grade: A

The art: The visuals on this book are as brilliant as the story, which is quite a feat as there are two different artists. Norm Rapmund is the inker on both, as Brett Booth does Barry and the Dinosaurs and Andre Coelho does Future Flash in the Past. The details that all three contribute are as amazing as anything you can imagine. The opening splash page by Booth and Rapmund has Barry in the forest, next to the downed dino, with the probe tearing into the scene. The Flash’s costume looks terrific, but the work on the setting really sells the image: the grasswork is amazing! In the second panel as Barry starts to run off, I would have no problem if the art team decided to simplify things; after all, it is a small panel and there’s not much space for the details of the first panel, but they put them in anyway. Look at all the work put into the costume again. This is amazing stuff. When the nameless savior appears on the second page all that’s missing is Tarzan’s trademark yell. He looks as though he could rip the probe apart with his bare hands. Coelho and Rapmund are just as successful with Barry from the Future. I love the slick details, which are completely different, in Barry’s costume and his expressions are perfect. A reader can easily comprehend what’s going through this speedster’s mind just with the visuals. Pages 19 and 20 have to be the coolest thing I’ve seen in a super hero comic in a while. Please note, Andre Coelho passed away in October and this issue is dedicated to him in the opening credits. He will be missed and fans were lucky that he shared his talent with us. Overall grade: A

The colors: Beautiful work from Andrew Dalhouse on this issue. He gets two completely opposed settings to work on with two different colored Flashes and he makes the most of it. The forest is wonderfully lush in greens and browns with our red hero running about, while the modern world gets the Blue Flash speeding through it. The final three pages are a definite showcase for Dalhouse as he uses blues magnificently. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Not slowing the pace down is the lettering by Taylor Esposito. He contributes scene setting, probe speak, dialogue, opening title and credits, sounds, Future Flash computer speak, a scream, and a yell. All are great and I’m grateful that he’s allowed to put italics into characters’ speech so I can hear their words correctly. Overall grade: A

The final line: An absolute winner of a book. Two Flashes for the price of one. You can’t go wrong with this! Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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