Tag Archives: Carlo Barberi

Review: Flash #247: “Incubation” (Final Issue)

Flash #247

Well, if Wally West’s series had to end — again — at least he got a decent send-off. Flash #247 concludes Alan Burnett’s four-part “This Was Your Life, Wally West”. This story wraps up threads from the current run of the series, looks back on Wally’s entire super-hero career, firmly establishes his roots in the Justice League and Titans, and sets up a few beats that can be picked up for future stories with the characters.

It picks up immediately after the previous issue’s cliffhanger, resolving the threat to Linda before rushing headlong into battle with the Queen Bee. This month does feature another flashback, this time to the West family’s time on the planet Savoth, but it’s only two pages. It ends with a conclusion that’s not quite an ending, but a place to stop. DC isn’t burning any bridges here the way they did with “Full Throttle” and the end of Bart’s series.

It’s also much better than “Finish Line,” the four-parter that wrapped up Wally’s series the last time it was canceled, from Flash #227–230. It was better written, better researched, and actually made an effort to tie together the rest of the series. The only thing “Finish Line” has over “This Was Your Life, Wally West” is consistent art.

While the first issue of the arc was penciled entirely by Paco Diaz, and the second and third were penciled entirely by Carlo Barberi, this issue was done by committee. Barberi gets the cover spot, but is joined by J. Calafiore and Andre Coelho. I’m not familiar with either of their work, so I couldn’t tell who did which pages, but the shifts in style were jarring. Normally changes in artist don’t bother me, especially if their styles are similar or if the change is done for thematic effect. (An example in The Flash would be Race Against Time, in which each issue used one art team for Wally’s storyline and another for John Fox’s.)

Brian Stelfreze’s cover, on the other hand, has got to be one of the best Flash covers since the relaunch. (I’d also include issues #243 and #246, both by Freddie Williams II) The starkness of it, with the plain white background, the shadow of the grim reaper, and the Flash standing barefoot with his boots off, says everything that needs to be said about what he’s up against. Honestly, I think it would work better without the “Wally West — Finished?” caption, or even the title logo.

Spoilers after the cut: Continue reading

Review: Flash #246: “Infection”

We’re moving into the home stretch, with the second-to-last issue of the current Flash series. Part 3 of “This Was Your Life, Wally West” is written by Alan Burnett with art by Carlo Barberi.

The book was originally solicited with a more story-related cover by Brian Stelfreeze. Normally I prefer covers that have something to do with the story over iconic covers, but I have to say this is one seriously impressive cover by Freddie Williams II.

Carlo Barberi’s art continues to work surprisingly well with the serious tone of the book (I’d previously known his work only from Impulse), and the cast list is combined with the issue’s splash page.

The threats of the Queen Bee and power loss take a back seat to a more personal story: Wally West faces the possibility that he might lose the love of his life, Linda Park West. Much of the first half of the issue is a look back at Wally and Linda’s relationship, starting with their first meeting as reporter and story subject at the end of the “Porcupine Man” saga (Flash v.2 #24–28), working through their tumultuous courtship, interrupted wedding, all the way through to the worldwide memory wipe between Blitz and Ignition.

The flashback is well-integrated with the main line of the story, as it brings up several elements that factor into the second half of the issue as the Queen Bee case takes center stage again.

Oddly, I noticed my local comic store didn’t have any copies of this issue on the shelf. I meant to ask, but forgot, whether they had reduced their order, whether they’d sold more than usual, or whether they simply hadn’t finished putting everything on the shelf. (They were still sorting through customers’ pull lists at the point I got there.)

Spoilers after the cut: Continue reading

Review: Flash #245: “Invasion”

Last month I was pleasantly surprised to find the first issue of the four-part “This Was Your Life, Wally West” was quite good — in fact, the strongest opening chapter of a Flash arc in years. So does part two hold up?

For the most part, yes, with some reservations. Admittedly, I read it right after reading the conclusion of Rogues’ Revenge, which is a tough act to follow.

Carlo Barberi (Impulse, Casey Blue) replaces Paco Diaz on the art an issue earlier than expected. He’s dialed down his usual style to the point that it actually took me several pages to recognize it, but once I knew what to look for it was instantly identifiable. It works better for Flash than I expected, though he isn’t quite as effective as Diaz at making the deadly bee weapon genuinely scary. (They still appear as a credible threat, despite Amazons Attack.)

This issue brings in guest stars galore, both in the present day and in flashbacks, linking Wally’s two super-teams: the original Teen Titans, and the Justice League of America. Members of both (and the JSA) show up to help him deal with the new development revealed in part 1, while the Titans appear in a retrospective of his Kid Flash career.

It seems thematically appropriate to team up the Flash and Black Lightning: someone who got his powers by being struck by lightning, and someone who generates electricity. Similarly, Red Arrow, while serving as a literal link between the two teams, was once known as Speedy — a name that would have worked just as well for a young speedster as it did for an archer with quick reflexes.

Spoilers after the cut: Continue reading

Impulse Convergence

On Friday afternoon at Comic-Con, I went over to Artists’ Alley to see if I could commission a sketch of Impulse from Todd Nauck (Young Justice). He was talking with someone, and they kept talking for something like 5 minutes. When he walked away, it turned out that the guy he’d been talking to was Carlo Barberi — who drew Impulse during most of Todd Dezago’s run!

I talked to Todd Nauck briefly, and asked for the sketch, but I had a panel to get to so I couldn’t pick it up. I went back Saturday around 1:00 or so to pick it up. He was doing a sketch of Secret for someone else. He mentioned that when he started doing Young Justice, he was a huge Impulse fan, but got to really like the other characters over the course of his run on the book. By the end, Wonder Girl had become one of his favorites, because of all the character growth he got to portray.

See also: Autograph/Sketch Tally: SDCC 2008