I’ve been really enjoying the ongoing Flash series despite the frustration and disappointment of Flash: Rebirth. It’s as if “The Dastardly Death of the Rogues” is being written by Geoff Johns, and Flash: Rebirth was written by the mirror Geoff. Or in a multiverse context, the Geoff Johns of Earth-3.
Also surprising: Johns seems to have remembered an old saying about writing comic books: Every issue is somebody’s first. A few deftly placed lines of dialogue spell out the key details of the story so far: Boomerang’s status and new abilities, who the Renegades are, what file is missing and why, etc. Considering this is part 4 of a 6-part story, I suspect most writers today wouldn’t have bothered.
Francis Manapul’s artwork continues to be the highlight of this book. The Flash stands or falls (runs or stumbles?) on pacing and the reader’s perception of speed, and Manapul delivers. This time around, the stand-out panels are splash pages in an effort to rescue pilots from a damaged helicopter. (One nice easter egg: in the background of that double-page spread, we see the bridge that Wally West rebuilt back in “Crossfire.”)
I’m neutral on the “Flash Facts” pages, though if they’re going to keep using them to spotlight the villains, I like the way they link the real tech with the comic-book tech. Last month it was “How Boomerangs Work” and “How Captain Boomerang’s Boomerangs Work.” This month it’s mirrors and Mirror Master’s mirrors.
Some of the luster is beginning to fade, though. The structure is starting to feel formulaic: Barry Allen keeps fighting the Renegades, and every battle gets cut short one way or another. Every issue has a major super-speed feat, which individually manages to be extremely cool, but gets repetitive four issues on.
I think the main thing that disappointed me about this issue was the revelation behind the murder mystery. Sure, it’s one of the few explanations that fits Barry Allen’s character, but it also violates the expectations set up in the first half of the story. To say any more, I’ll have to break into….