In Review: The Flash #37

This is how super hero comics should make you feel: alive, thrilled, inspired, and hungry for more.

The covers: A pair of covers, each with their own Flash featured. The Main cover is by Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, and Andrew Dalhouse. It shows the Future Flash, not a good guy, being zapped by an unseen foe whose hands are glowing with yellow energy that is making him transparent. I really like the pose of the Flash being upside down, showing the reader that he’s getting hit so hard it’s flipping him over. The coloring by Dalhouse is particularly strong, as the strength of the energy flying around is practically leaping out of the image. The Variant cover is the one I had to buy because it’s by Darwyn Cooke. I’ve enjoyed all the horizontal covers he’s done this past month at DC and I really like the 1960s look to them. This one has the Flash racing a car, that resembles the Mach 5, a jet, and a speedboat. He looks so confident as his arm crosses the finish line first. Outstanding! Overall grades: Main A and Variant A+

The story: I’ve been looking forward to this story from Robert Venditti & Van Jensen because of last issue’s time mash-up and the title only heightens my expectations: “The Savage World of the Speed Force!” Accompanying Selkirk, his rescuer from last issue, Barry gets into the last human settlement on the island, where his powers don’t work and the laws of the time don’t exist. Just as Selkirk says he might be able to help Barry regain his powers, a cry goes up that raiders are approaching. Before it can be shown why the trapped humans built the walls of the outpost so thickly, the story moves to Central City, in the time readers are used to seeing. Iris has gotten a tip about something sinister and goes to discover if her source was being truthful. What she discovers will help her career, but put her at the top of Director Singh’s causes of headaches. This was a good way to keep Iris in readers’ minds as the story follows the Future Flash posing as the present’s Barry Allen and how different he is from the incorruptible Barry fans are familiar with. As the story progresses, Patty starts to get warning signs about this Barry, but is so overcome by his affection overlooks these omens. Back in the Speed Force, Barry has to help defend the fort without his powers, and does so in a very awesome way. That pretty much sums up this issue–awesome. I love the Speed Force environment and how Barry is trying to contribute without his abilities. The last three pages tease an upcoming villain. Absolutely fun reading. Overall grade: A

The art: I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Marvel Comics’ Ka-Zar from the 1980s. There’s something that’s just cool about a hero who’s stuck in the jungle doing battle with dinosaurs and fantasy creatures. This issue goes there with the story and penciller Brett Booth and inker Norm Rapmund bringing it to life. The opening splash page with the ginormous tree-fort, the monkeys, and the dinosaurs instantly transport readers to this place of fantasy. The design of Selkirk is terrific, who’s a cross between lost time traveler and Steampunk. I was already in love with this setting and then Page 10 pushed me over the top. What an entrance that’s absolutely worthy of a full paged splash. The action that comes from these characters’ arrival is wonderful. Page 14 is just as cool as things can get for a hero with no super powers. Wow! It’s beautiful! The real world of Central City is just as lavish, with Iris’s discovery on Page 4 shocking with it being as powerful as it can be without the gore. You’ll imagine you’re seeing more than you are, but you’re seeing enough. I swear I could smell that image. Yuck! Future Barry is drawn so stern I was expecting him to be exploding at any moment, and that’s exactly how a reader should feel looking at him and his body language. Excellent visuals. Overall grade: A

The colors: Helping this book look as lush as it can be are the colors by Andrew Dalhouse. The last outpost of human civilization within the Speed Force is as primitive as I’d hoped it would be: a wooden fortress set among a grassy plane, all before some distant pink mountains. The arrival of the invaders mark a stark change in colors with metals brilliantly highlighting the color scheme. The gun blast on 11 is powerful in reds, oranges, and yellows. I thought it was pretty smart of Dalhouse to leave the background white during this moment to make the blast more powerful and make the running figure at the bottom seem smaller compared to the creature receiving the weapon’s wrath. Page 14 is awesome in red with the light brown smoke wisping about. Central City is also slick, with Page 4 being a textbook example of how to create light in the darkness when a character uses a flashlight in a tight space. Dalhouse is on top of his game. Overall grade: A

The letters: The sensational Dezi Sienty provides scene setting, opening title and credits (and I love that story title’s font!), dialogue, yells, sounds, and screams. His CLOPs will have readers wondering what’s going on with the last three pages. Terrific work. Overall grade: A 

The final line: This is how super hero comics should make you feel: alive, thrilled, inspired, and hungry for more. Recommended. 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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