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Comic Book Review: The Flash #1

By: Isaac Daniel Frisbie

This is one of my favorite comics from the new DCU.  Francis Manapul’s art is brilliant and Buccaletto’s coloring brings this character to life like no other since the Mark Waid era of the Wally West Flash.  I like that they are both involved in the artwork and the writing.  Just a brilliant first issue.

The story starts out at a tech symposium and Barry is with Patty Spivot, who is a pseudo girlfriend at this point.  Dr. Darwin Elias enters the conversation to talk about a proposed monorail when the party is crashed by some commando squad.  Barry then changes to the Flash to stop whatever they are doing.  They have grabbed a device and the Flash is stopping them, pretty well I must say.  He is able to secure the device while hanging from their getaway helicopter and then falls to the streets below.  Before he hits the ground he is able to phase his molecules through the street and fall into the sewers.  Because he did not perform that feat very well, the street explodes where he fell through.   Iris West is at street level and peeks her head through to ask if he is ok.

We find out the device is a portable genome re-coder and is given back to Dr. Elias.  The scene then segues to Patty who is trying to find Barry, who appears in time for them to go into CSI mode.  They discover a body of a person that had possibly been killed by Flash.  Barry realizes it’s someone he knows, Manuel.  The story flashes back to a scene in his past where they are both running from a Rugby team that is chasing Manuel because of a girl.  Manuel told him it was a good idea to do what he did (not sure what he did).  He tells Barry that he hasn’t found someone worth taking a beating over.        

Back in the present, Iris is asking questions as to if Flash is responsible for Manuel’s death.  Her persistence pays off when he says he will tell her the cause when he finds out.  Patty comments that she is very persistent. At the police station Barry is turning in his report to Director Singh.  Captain Frye expresses concern that the Flash might be involved in the death of Manuel.  But the report says that something else was the cause.

We are taken to a rooftop where Flash is trying to figure out why Manuel was there at the crime scene and why he was wrapped up in it.  Dr. Elias approaches him and assures him that the security video shows him being fine one second and then not fine the next.  The Flash asks if he can borrow the genome re-coder to figure out what happened, to which the good doctor agrees.  He goes back his home lab as Barry and discovers Manuel’s DNA was somehow altered.  During all this Iris is persistently contacting him for info and texts him that she is coming over.  Someone enters his apartment and he confronts him only to find out it’s Manuel.  Someone else breaks in and he tells him they have to get out of there.  As they run Barry ditches Manuel temporarily to change to the Flash and as he catches up with him and the mob that is after him, he finds out it’s a mob of Manuel clones.

I realize I took a lot longer to write this summary but ya know what?  IT WAS AWESOME!!!  Therefore, I wanted to give it more time.  The story so far?  Really well done and the groundwork is being laid well.  I like that they don’t have Barry in a relationship with Iris, but she’s there so we don’t know where it’ll go.  I think one of the problems (yes I said problems, plural) with comic fans is they get too used to things.  Red underwear, who the character should or should not be with, and I could go on but you get the point.  I’m excited to see some of these DC characters explore new relationships which is why I hope Patty is not going to become just a throwaway.  I’ll admit though, even I have some deep seeded feelings about this kind of thing but not so much that I am unwilling to experience it first and try to withhold judgment.  This is one comic that I think needed a reboot badly.  I loved Wally West and hope to see him back.  They discarded his character in a very not cool way and he just kind of faded away before Flashpoint.  Barry came back with a vengeance and we had Rebirth and that was great but there was a hole there.  Barry had been gone for a long time and he just came back all of a sudden.  So I think that made it difficult for me to really appreciate his comeback.  This was the best thing to do in my humble and oh so right opinion.  It feels fresh, similar to Action Comics #1 and the artwork, WOW!  I think this is my favorite artwork next to Batman (which I highly recommend).  I am actually more of a visual person so I think artwork is slightly more important than story.  Only slightly.   A 51:49 ratio.  I have read good stories that could have been great with better artwork.  I think DC has been doing a really good job bringing in great artists and focusing them on the marquee titles.  So suck on that Stan Lee.  Kirby and Ditko are more important than you.  Ok maybe not, but certainly equal.

    

What can I say except that I loved this and I look forward to the Patty/Iris stories moving forward.  And the costume looks awesome!  Kudos to the writing/art team here. I hope they are around for a while!

 Overall Grade: 9 /10

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