In Review: The Flash #38

Two Flashes in different times, encountering different challenges, create an incredible adventure.

The covers: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, and Andrew Dalhouse have created the Main cover. It’s an excellent image of the Future Flash shattering a pain of glass whose fragments contain images of the characters from this issue. The coloring is really well done, with the characters in the pieces dulled to show the glass, and the background that’s free from debris is colored in bright blue or violet. Love how Future Flash’s coloring makes him a stand out. Very nice. The Flash 75 Variant is by Howard Porter and Hi-Fi, who work monthly on Justice League 3000. This cover is a tribute to the classic “The Flash of Two Worlds” from The Flash #123 from 1961 created by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson. I had to get this cover because I love that iconic comic and its cover and I’m a huge fan of Porter and Hi-Fi. Plus, I love the Golden Age Flash.  The change up on this cover is the new Flash, covered in his now iconic lightning bolts grabbing a girder that’s about to fall on an innocent bystander. Really well done. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: The split story continues with the “bad” Future Flash in the present, living the life of the heroic Flash, and the hero we know stuck “Outside the bound of time and space, on the savage world of Speed Force.” “Skeletons in the Closet” begins in a warehouse filled with bodies that Barry–evil Future Flash Barry–and Patty are examining to see what killed them. Their examinations are interrupted by last issue’s coach driver going mad from voices and energy crackling out of his eyes. One body bears wounds that look familiar to Barry, who whispers, “I found Overload’s first kill.” Iris West arrives on the scene distracting Barry, and he launches into her saying that these were people, not opportunities for a Pulitzer. He’s stopped when Iris’s police scanner goes off, saying the Mirror Master has been spotted in the financial district. On the Savage World, Barry and Selkirk talk, with the latter revealing his story of how he got to this place. What follows is a two page origin story that could have gone on for an entire issue and I would have been happy. A plan is hatched with these two men, and their story goes forward. The big action of the book is when Future Flash confronts Mirror Master and new villain Napalm. Things do go not go as expected for the villains. This was another great story from Robert Venditti and Van Jensen that shows why the Flash is a major character in the DC Universe. Overall grade: A+

The art: Beautiful work from penciler Brett Booth and inker Norm Rapmund. The introductory splash page with Barry and Patty among the bodies certainly sets the somber mood of this part of the story quickly. When the crazy cab driver appears on the third page, the panel layout cocks at crazy angles to mirror the quick turnaround in Barry’s behavior upon discovering a specific victim. The angles go in a different direction when Iris appears, and lead into a blank background when Iris and Barry have made specific decisions. This is a nice way the visuals accentuate the story. The two page origin of story Selkirk looks fantastic. It makes me miss a monthly Indiana Jones comic all the more. The confrontation between the two Rogues and the Future Flash is sensational, with energy leaping off Napalm and the Flash, and with the Mirror Master involved you know that there will be shards of glass flying. Booth and Rapmund do not disappoint. Page 17 is disturbing, just as the story demands. The third panel on 18 is frightening until someone’s intervention. Every reader will mirror the image in the final panel at the bottom of Page 18. Booth and Rapmund are delivering gold. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Bright, bold, terrific work from Andrew Dalhouse. The opening four pages are splendidly dark to emphasize the horror of all the dead. Placing Barry in a blue shirt and gloves is a spectacular way to have him stand out against the darkness and hint at his alter ego. When brought to anger at the bottom of Page 3, the spark of blue escaping is eye is dynamite stuff! The two page origin of Selkirk is wonderfully made tan and brown to age the tale, and even yellows and oranges are dimmed. The colors transported me to the time instantly. Page 17 is the showpiece for Dalhouse. There’s a lot of detail on that page, but you can’t peek at it without ruining a dramatic point. Excellent, excellent work. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Pat Brosseau provides scene setting, dialogue, opening title and credits, a police scanner’s dialogue, sounds, and yells. My favorite work by him on this issue is “…I’M GONNA ROAST THE FLASH!” It’s done in perfect villain font. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This continues to be one of my favorite DC comics. Two Flashes in different times, encountering different challenges, create an incredible adventure. Fantastic fun! 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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