In Review: The Flash #50

An adequate issue, but nothing spectacular for this fiftieth issue.

The cover: The Flash is speeding forward on this cover, with images of Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Golden Glider, Iris, and Wally on either side of him. Created by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Alex Sinclair, this is an incredibly buffed up Flash, who looks as though he could take someone out without using his super speed. A good illustration for this fiftieth issue with a strong image of the hero surrounded by his most important foes and friends. Overall grade: A

The story: Captured by the Rogues Gallery, the Flash has been arrested at Wally’s high school. The hero is turned over to Captain Frye and the police, with Wally muttering he has to do something about this situation. Mirror Master wants to unmask him on the spot, but Frye says that it will be done once the hero arrives at his destination: the Flash is to be taken to Iron Heights. Before he can leave, Iris has a word with Frye, “–What the hell are you doing?” He answers back with equal emotion, “Flash is a danger. And if you think I take any joy in this day…you are mistaken.” Wally runs up to his aunt saying they have to do something. As they talk, one of the CCPD drones flies above, set to detect the Flash’s energy signature. Iris wonders why the drones would think the Flash was in Wally’s classroom. Van Jensen has his story then make a one page detour to a familiar face, before returning to the story at the infamous prison. Naturally things don’t go easy for Barry, with two recent rogues making a reappearance, but for surprising reasons. What they do for Barry has repercussions, resulting in more rogues on the loose. You know Barry can’t let them run free, so he has to help those who sought to imprison him. This becomes a fairly predictable tale of many villains being confronted by the Flash. It’s been done a million times before, and will be done a million times more, but it’s still enjoyable to see one man take down so many foes. The mastermind behind the drones and the Rogues’ ability to catch the hero is revealed at the story’s end and I have to say that he’s a novel inclusion into the Rogues Gallery. I can’t remember him every battling the Flash and I’m looking forward to seeing what Jensen is going to do with him. There’s a ten page back up story by Jensen titled “WWFD?!” that focuses on Wally’s next day at school. It’s good, but did it really need to be in this issue? Overall grade B

The art: I’m continually stunned to see so many names associated with the art on a book, especially on a fiftieth issue. The pencillers on this book are Jesus Merino and Paul Pelletier, and the inkers are Merino, Scott Hanna, Tony Kordos, and Wayne Faucher. It is noticeable when the art teams switch on this book. The opening pages are the strongest pages, with the ending looking the weakest: the Flash on Page 29 looks nothing like the Flash on Page 1. Pages 6 – 10 look the best in the book, with the detailed art on two of the villains setting it far apart from the other work in this book. The art isn’t poor, it’s just average. There’s a partial double-paged spread on 16 and 17 and it is the most rudimentary construction to show a building’s exterior and the foliage around it. To have that much space devoted to that large an image, the visual must be strong. This isn’t bad, just average. The art is much better in the fourth panel on this spread, which contains several characters. The villains that appear in the second and third panels on Page 19 are satisfactory, but for a fiftieth issue and the number of familiar characters, shouldn’t this be more than just “satisfactory”? I refuse to continue to belabor the point: any reader can find a page or panel that contains adequate visuals, but for a flagship title, “adequate” disappoints. The visuals on “WWFD?!” are by Joe Eisma and they look great. I would have been happier with this issue had Eisma illustrated the entire affair. DC, please give Eisma his own book! Overall grade: C- 

The colors: There are also two colorists on this book: Guy Major and Pete Pantazis. The book opens in a fantastic explosion of colors as the Rogues are shown in a full paged splash apprehending the Flash. The red letters of Cold’s dialogue, the yellows on the villains’ costumes, and the red on the Flash look sensational. The colors dim momentarily as the point of view shows the action from a distance, but, thankfully the brights return on the following page. The dim colors of the mystery rogue nicely up the tension and suspense of his scenes with the Trickster, and the one individual that’s captured within the tube looks fantastic in orange and yellow. The large inmate at Iron Heights has an impressive amount of rust and bronze in his coloring, and electricity seems alive with the blues and whites used for the second prisoner encountered. When the Flash has to take out the individual rogues, the colors are bright and strong; exactly what a fight between them and the Flash should look like. Chris Sotomayor does the coloring on “WWFD?!” It looks great and is just as bright as this issue’s main story. Overall grade: A 

The letters: One letterer is responsible for this entire issue and it’s Pat Brosseau. He provides dialogue, yells, scene settings, a broadcast, sounds, a whistle, a moan, a transmission from the drones, and the tease for next issue. On “WWFD?!” he creates the story’s title, scene settings, dialogue, yells, a future transmission, sounds, and the closing credits. I really enjoy Brosseau’s sound effects. It seems that most modern comics forgo them and to see them on such glorious display here is a marvel to enjoy. The standout work of this issue is the absolutely gorgeous tease for next issue found on Page 30. It’s big and bold and classy. Overall grade: A

The final line: An adequate issue, but nothing spectacular for this fiftieth issue. Overall grade: B-

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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