In Review: The Flash #46

Fantastic, feverish, and frantic fun with The Flash.

The covers: The Flash lies in the street unconscious. This is a recent event, as there is steam rising off his costume and back. The shadows of his four assailants begin to creep over him, his state obviously about to become worse. Good image by penciller Brett Booth and inker Norm Rapmund that teases the fate of the Scarlet Speedster. I like the smoke rising off him and the way his costume stands out boldly against the concrete. Excellent coloring on this image by Andrew Dalhouse, as well, with that costume being radiant. The Looney Tunes Variant cover by Francis Manapul and Spike Brandt has the Flash far behind front runners Speedy Gonzales and the Road Runner. All’s that’s missing on this excellent image is the sound: BEEP-BEEP! Overall grades: Both A

The story: This is a turnaround issue for the Flash. In the previous issue he was taken down quite handily by Zoom and his allies. This time that’s going to change. “End of the Hunt” by Robert Venditti and Van Jensen has the Flash in trouble right out of the gate as he’s surrounded by the city’s best S.W.A.T. team, infuriating the officer on the scene. As he reads the Flash the expected “You’re too dangerous to be allowed to run around” speech, the bigger threat arrives — Zoom and his new cronies. They kick up the action tenfold, though even the villains think this fight will be difficult since one of their members is missing. Where that individual is and who that person is with changes the power dynamics this issue, and it’s a very clever way to have the tables turn in favor of the Flash. The conversation on Page 6 was really cool — normally I’m a bigger fan of having the hero and the villains beat the tar out of each other, but the two characters on this page work well together and, it’s too much to hope for, but I’d like to see them again after everything has settled, and that’s not close to happening in this issue. I liked that Barry had learned from his previous encounter with the baddies, but it still wasn’t enough for what starts on Page 10. 14 is the best written page of the issue because that’s where truths are revealed and they get really ugly, really fast. Next issue is teased on the final page; I’m looking forward to it, but I hope it’s much more different than what the CW has been giving fans of the Scarlet Speedster. Overall grade: A 

The art: Penciller Brett Booth and inker Norm Rapmund are walking on water with this issue, creating absolute gold. The detailed thin line work is staggering, with each line coming off of the Flash or Zoom making it seem as though either one of these men could run off the page. The opening splash is a tremendously detailed shot of the Flash hitting the breaks, surrounded by the officers. They all look terrific, but look at the city behind them — it’s perfect. Page 2 has the pair creating some terrific speed panels, shaped as though they’re rushing beyond the confines of this comic. The arrival of Zoom and his allies on 4 will be live for decades beyond this issue, as it’s impressive. The villain in the large panel on 8 is deliriously demented, making his face as frightening as the shapes his body forms. 10’s third panel is spectacular, to put it mildly. The glee and the pain on each character’s face is awesome. The turn at the bottom of 14 is the most frightening thing this side of the Joker. This book looks spectacular, as it always does when Booth and Rapmund team up. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Also contributing handsomely to this issue is the coloring by Andrew Dalhouse. All the details of the art could become a blob of confusing color if Dalhouse wasn’t skilled sufficiently, and boy is he! Once again, take a look at the first page: the spray of colors coming off the Flash is phenomenal, with the background being downplayed slightly so that all the focus is on the hero. The streak of red shows up every time the Flash is in motion and it sends a chill down my spine when I see it. The two pages that are set away from the battle have realistic colors, making the Flash’s battle all the more sensational to witness. 10 introduces a new set of colors to the story and they, too, are wonderful. Page 19 features Dalhouse’s best work of the issue, as the Flash goes tearing off after Zoom. This is perfection. Overall grade: A+

The letters: A superb story title, creators’ credits, yells, dialogue, sounds, screams, and next issue’s tease are all crafted by Pat Brosseau. His opening title and credits are cinematic and his sounds entertaining — you know you’re looking at spectacular sound work when you find yourself trying to utter each aloud, as SMAK did to me seven times. Overall grade: A

The final line: Fantastic, feverish, and frantic fun with The Flash. You should take a run through these pages! 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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