In Review: The Flash #2

The Flash gets a new partner, but will he become a rogue?

The covers: The Regular cover is a very stylized illustration, in line with those on the recent Black Canary run. It’s by Karl Kerschl and has an enormous figure of August Heart skidding to a stop, while behind him is an image of the Flash. August is colored in bright pinks, while the Flash is in light blues and has several Ben-Day dots on him. This combination of imagery and colors give the piece a very 1960s Pop Art flavor. The Variant cover is by Dave Johnson. This shows the Flash holding the world in his hands. Electricity rips around the world. The left of the image shows the hero screaming, while the right shows the flesh being ripped from his body. Lightning bolts also accompany the figure on the left. This seems to symbolically show how the Speed Force is effecting Barry. I’m a huge fan of Johnson, but this one isn’t working for me. It seems very sketchy when compared to Johnson’s other works.  Overall grades: Regular B and Variant C+

The story: The Flash is watching Detective August Heart flail his arms outside S.T.A.R. Labs. The reason he’s not interfering is because the detective looks as though he’s now been endowed with the Speed Force, having just been struck by lightning. The Flash tells the detective that they should go into the labs to runs some tests, but Heart doesn’t want to, insisting that The Flash run them. Far from prying eyes, the speedster runs the man though some tests to see what his abilities are. Afterwards Heart reveals that he knows Barry is the Flash. Barry says, “You have to understand…I have a secret identity to protect my family and friends…just like you’re going to need one, too.” August stops their conversation saying that he’s famished. As they go to eat, Barry reflects, ‘I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed teaching about the Speed Force…’ Elsewhere, Wally West is making his own discoveries and making his own decisions. The story, written by Joshua Williamson, then moves to Iris and her attempts to find out more about the Black Hole gang, which puts her in danger. Barry, naturally intervenes, but he doesn’t go into action alone. The action sequence is good and right in the Flash’s wheelhouse. I’m enjoying this new group of villains and I can’t wait to see more of them. However, it’s August who really is the focus of this issue. He knows he has abilities and he wants to do something with them, but how he wants to use his powers are already giving Barry concern. August has the ability to do much good, though his words may be telegraphing a dark future. The final page has a cliffhanger that hints that Barry and August are soon to be joined by many others with similar abilities. Overall grade: A-

The art: I’m still finding myself adjusting to the visual look of this book by artist Carmine Di Giandomenico. It takes a page or two for me to adapt, but I’m soon sailing through the pages quickly. The energy ripping off the Flash and August is massive. In previous books, the lighting bolts of energy trailed about a bit, but now it looks as though the Flash is dangerous to stand next to. I admit to wanting to see this trait toned down quite a bit. The bottom panel on Page 6 is a slick way to show the danger that Iris is now in. The settings on this book look great, with the top of 7 showing the skyline nicely. I really like the way the tech of the big bad is shown on 10 — it’s a great combination of technology and science fiction. The Flash’s exit in the fifth panel on 11 is spectacular — this is how the Flash should be shown running to a location. There’s a return to the villain from 10 shown on 12 and he’s much closer to the reader, highlighting the danger in his eyes, his deformed forehead, and more of his glorious technology. The arrival on 14 is fantastic. The look of the character is good, showing off the costume in the first panel and then coming in close in the final panel to show the man himself. I was very pleased to see the point of view in the second panel on 16, which allowed the reader to see the full scope of what the characters’ actions have wrought. The last page is a full paged splash and it nicely teases how the Flash’s problems have been multiplied. Overall grade: A-

The colors: The colors of this book are an absolutely necessary element to art. Since the Flash exists due to the Speed Force, yellow energy is always whipping around him, even when he stands still. Ivan Plaascencia makes this energy an eye magnet that always demands attention. Against the Flash’s red costume, this yellow always stands out. Iris’s journey to find information is given a violet tint, making her search seem unnatural. Colors are key for the leader of the Black Hole’s technology, since much of it is holographic and hovers before the character as light images — it looks really cool! The colors are extremely necessary on the final page, allowing the reader to see where problems now exist. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Steve Wands creates scene settings, narration, dialogue, sounds, yells, story title, and book’s credits. The font that Wands is using for the scene settings is fantastic! It’s elegant and instantly gives some class to the locations. The sounds are also really good, putting the right resonance into every action scene. And I always am pleased to see when a letterer uses a different font for the dialogue and the narration, and Wand does that. Overall grade: A+

The final line: The Flash gets a new partner, but will he become a rogue? Good art and story that shows the lines that the Flash will not cross for justice. Overall grade: A

To find out more about this book and others featuring the Flash go to http://www.dccomics.com/

 

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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