Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have been writing, drawing and colouring this book since the DC reboot. Francis has also been involved with the artwork since Geoff Johns brought back Barry Allen as the Flash which led to the reboot. Since that day Wally West has literally faded to a blur and is greatly missed by many Flash fans. That is not to say that the title hasn’t been strong but sentimentality is heavy in readers’ hearts. A lot has changed; Barry is no longer with Iris but a new girlfriend and he has actually killed off his true identity. All a lot to handle but this book launches a new arc which brings back one of the strongest aspects of Flash’s legacy; his rogues gallery. This book sees the introduction of Captain Cold, Heatwave, Weather Wizard, Pied Piper, Trickster, Mirror Master and a new rogue called Glider. Thats a lot of bad guys!
The writing is simple because so much is said by the unique artwork. It is an action packed issue and the sequences speak for themselves. The characters have unique powers that are shown and little needs to be said except for a few lines of dialogue that set up the base line relationships between the rogues and Flash. The plot is relatively unclear but Francis has struck reasonable balance of confusion and suspense. It follows the basic key elements of story writing: new/returning bad guys, a confused protagonist, a beautiful female antagonist and a twist at the end. I just hope it goes somewhere good.
Manapul has a truly excellent style. The characters are drawn with such vigour and are pencilled softly bringing a realness to their persona. The action and demonstration of people’s power works very effectively by the subtlety of the pencilling but more importantly the colouring. This has always been the key to showing Flash moving at speed and works as good as ever in this issue. The shading and colour palette of Buccellato is as good as I have ever seen in comics. The whole book has a lighter shade and almost pastel like tone to the colours which is very visually appealing. The new female antagonist glider is drawn almost dream like which appears to be part of her powers but that has yet to be explained. These two artists in combination produce some of the best art in the DC universe. The direction of the book is a little unsatisfying but with the return of the rogues, the plot twist and the stunning art leaves you very excited!
I could look at this all day 9/10