Sorry this review is so late. Things just kept coming up, and I pushed it further and further back. Then my local comic store didn’t receive their order of The Flash #3 on time (Diamond sent them extra copies of Deadpool Team-Up instead), so I haven’t had a chance to read the new issue…and it occurs to me that this is my last chance to review The Flash #2 before reading issue #3!
So, on to the review!
I’m still enjoying this series a lot more than I did Flash: Rebirth. Francis Manapul’s artwork has a lot to do with that, but also the fact that they’re just telling stories about a guy with super-speed instead of trying so hard to justify why they’re telling stories about this guy with super-speed.
Admittedly not a whole lot happens in this issue, but it continues to move as quickly as the previous chapter did. I expect that when “The Dastardly Death of the Rogues” is finished, pairing it with a collection of Silver-Age stories like Flash vs. The Rogues will provide a great example of the change in comic-book storytelling styles from 1960 to 2010.
The expected confrontation with the Renegades is cut short, leaving the rest of the issue divided between the mystery aspects (presented through Barry Allen’s civilian life) and a visit with Captain Boomerang, providing the Brightest Day connection advertised on the cover. Also: the Flash evacuates, then rebuilds an apartment building at super-speed. Once again, the issue ends on a cliffhanger, only this time it has to do with Barry Allen, rather than the Flash.
Francis Manapul’s artwork continues to stand out, especially in sequences like the apartment evacuation, though there are some places where it seems a bit more static than last issue. Last issue I thought his faces seemed a bit off, but this time I started noticing the way he handles expressions. There are a couple of sequences where he really makes use of changing expressions with similar panel layouts. The last two pages stand out, as does a sequence earlier in which a girl complains that she lost her doll in the building collapse. (His attention to detail holds as well. If you flip back a few pages, there she is…and there’s her doll.)
Okay, spoiler time!
It looks like I got “Reverse-Flash Task Force” right. That’s cool. I like that Barry believes the Renegades’ claims that they are who they say they are, and that they’re honest in their accusations, while Iris rationally points out that it’s just as likely that they’re lying, and framing him for a future crime is just the sort of thing the Reverse-Flash would do…and that being in prison has never seemed to stop the Flash’s enemies.
Speaking of those enemies, we get a glimpse of the real Rogues this time out, and catch up with Captain Boomerang, who has already landed in prison after being brought back to life (more on that in another post). Captain Cold does his usual “I’m a badass” routine, and reads Boomer the riot act for letting himself go in the events leading up to Identity Crisis. While this serves a story purpose for setting up Boomerang’s “Brightest Day” journey, it reads like a “take that” to the way the character was portrayed in that miniseries, much like Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge reads as a “take that”/course correction for Full Throttle, Countdown and Salvation Run.
Tip for Boomer: If you want to be left alone by the justice system, casually murdering a guard in front of a half-dozen other guards while in prison doesn’t seem like a good idea.
In the cliffhanger, Barry Allen learns — along with the entire Central City Crime Lab — that his blood was found on the Mirror Monarch’s body, implying that the Renegades’ accusation is correct. That’s played as a big moment: Now both the present-day police and the future police will be after him. But thinking about it, it seems more likely that his co-workers would just assume he’s incompetent and managed to contaminate the sample when he arrived at the crime scene. It’ll still build up the wedge between Barry and the rest of the lab, but it’s not quite at the level of “We found our suspect!”
It’s kind of odd to think that most people reading this review already know how the cliffhanger turned out, but I won’t until I pick up issue #3 tomorrow!