Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 09.28.2011 – The Flash #1

What did the
iFanboy
community think?

1490
Pulls
Avg Rating: 4.3
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 9.2%
 
Users who pulled this comic:
Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO
Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
Variant cover by IVAN REIS and TIM TOWNSEND

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

Throughout all this DC Relaunch roller-coaster, I’ve tried to be pretty clear and transparent that while I read my fair share of DC Comics, I wouldn’t consider myself a “DC Fan.” Through my other picks of the week and commentary on the podcast, it’s pretty clear that I’m a Marvel guy.  In fact, I would probably rank Image Comics above DC Comics if I was ranking my favorite publishers, as a fan.  As we’ve read all 52 new comics from DC, I’ve kept an open mind and have been pretty impressed overall with many of the books published, but in reality, next month, I’ll probably cut my list of books to just the ones I find interesting based on creative teams and the like.  That’s just how I deal with DC Comics.  Except for one title.  Except for The Flash.

It’s very hard to explain my fascination with and fandom around The Flash. Perhaps it has something to do with it was one of the first DC Comics I ever picked up on a regular basis, or that I watched the TV show in the early 90s, or that I’m a fat kid who wishes he could run faster, but I’ve always had an affinity for The Flash. Be it Barry Allen or Wally West, I’m impartial.  But you give me a guy in that red costume with the lightning bolt on his chest, and I’m there.

Now, I’ve already lived through, what I consider, a perfect run of The Flash.  Back in the early 2000s, when he was just a young upstart, it was Geoff Johns run on The Flash (with Wally West as The Flash) that really cemented my appreciation for the title. Johns’ work with Scott Kolins and other artists was the pinnacle of my enjoyment of The Flash. I loved every issue of it and ever since Johns left the book, I’ve been longing for it to return to greatness, especially after the debacle of Wally West and his kids (possibly the best byproduct of the DC Relaunch is that those kids blinked out of existence. I hope.) in the mid 2000’s, we had hope that Geoff Johns return to the character would bring back another great age of The Flash comics.  Flash Rebirth with Ethan Van Sciver, while it brought back Barry Allen, wasn’t my favorite piece of work and the eventual ongoing title that spun of that never really reached that level of greatness that I hoped for. But it did deliver one aspect to The Flash legacy that I’m insanely thankful for: Francis Manapul on art.

When the new ongoing of The Flash, starring Barry Allen launched, we were dazzled with Manapul’s art with every issue.  We’d gotten a glimpse of what Manapul’s evolved style looked like with his Superboy story from Adventure Comics, also with Geoff Johns, and the move to The Flash was one that I was excited for, as Manapul’s art style was completely unique and gave a look to The Flash that I hadn’t seen before.

When the news of the DC Relaunch hit, I was relieved to see Manpul still on The Flash, but the news that he would be co-writing the book along with his colorist, Brian Buccellato was curious. I wasn’t aware of any writing aspirations from Manapul, and we’ve seen mixed results at DC Comics when the artist becomes the artist/writer in terms of quality and also maintaining the shipping schedule. So as the last week of the DC Relaunch came around, The Flash was one of the books I was most excited for and was slightly worried about.

When we posted the book that we were excited for in August, Conor said something about Justice League that stuck with me. He said, “I want this book to work more than anything. I need it to work.” And when I read that, I totally understood what he meant and that was exactly how I felt about The Flash. I need this book to be good because it’s my corner of the DC Universe. I can’t take anything less than great.

After I read The Flash #1, I leaned back and said out loud, “Wow, they pulled it off. That was great.”

After the events of Flashpoint, there are a ton of questions. Questions like, “Does Barry remember Flashpoint and the DCU before it?” and “Is Wally West dead?” and many other fanboy type questions.  This comic book answered none of my questions going into it, and for that, I loved it. Rather what we got with The Flash #1 was an opening tale, introducing us to Barry Allen, The Flash of the new DC Universe.

One of the complaints we’ve levied against these new DC Relaunch books has been that they’re not “true” first issues, and that some still relied on knowledge of the past etc.  But with the pantheon of heroes at DC Comics, such as Wonder Woman last week for example, I don’t believe these books need to treat the reader as if we’ve never seen the characters before. The majority of the world out there, especially those reading comics, have a basic idea of who The Flash is. He’s the super hero who runs fast. That foundation is already laid.  It’s the building on top of that is what matters, and here Manapul and Buccellato do a fantastic job of kicking off the adventure. We get introduced to Barry Allen and within 4 pages, see him change into The Flash costume, and we’re literally off to the races.  Sure, there are changes in the new world of The Flash.  Most notably, and similar to Superman, we see a change in the nature of his relationship with his long time romantic partner, Iris West.  I wasn’t nearly as upset by this as I thought I would be, rather excited for the potential that brings.  I never got to go on the adventure of Barry Allen as a younger hero, before he was married to Iris. That all happened before I started reading the character. But now, I’m on the ground floor as the story begins anew.

Artisically, Manapul and Buccellato are at the top of their game.  The two page introduction splash page(s) alone could be heralded as some of the best pages of the DC Relaunch.  What I found most interesting by the art in this issue wasn’t the splashy “oh my god!” type pages that I’ve come to expect from Manapul, rather the steady beat and rhythm his art provided to help move the story forward.  There is a grand tradition of comics storytellers who wrote and drew their stories, and when you think about it, it’s the purest form of cartooning.  Sure, Manapul and Buccellato may be new to “writing,” which was evident in a few of the dialogue exchanges, but by writing and drawing their stories, they have complete control over the storytelling, which in this case, I believe will yield tremendous results.  I’m willing to ride along as they hone their writing skills and become better, all around comic creators.  Especially if we get panels like the one when Barry dove into the water and the “Splash” sound effect was drawn into the water splashing.  It’s those quick, subtle moments that remind me how good Manapul really is.

When creating stories about The Flash, it’s all about speed and momentum. Both in depicting The Flash within the book and the pace of the story itself. It’s clear with The Flash #1 that Manpul and Buccellato understand that.  The kinetic energy that comes from drawing The Flash clearly is spread to the story itself and as of right now, I’m super excited to be a fan of The Flash once again.  It may be a brand new start for the DC Comics Universe, but it’s the brand new start for The Flash that has me most excited for the future and just what great stories Manpul and Buccellato will bring.

Ron Richards
I’m still too fat to be The Flash
ron@ifanboy.com

Comments

  1. Yeah ! So thrilled to see this as potw. I was with you on that long great run through the 90’s and it was a blast. Flash deserves to be good. Bring it on !

  2. You know, I think this site releases their pick of the week way too early. I think the pick of the week should remain a secret until the weekly podcast is released. Why, you ask? Because you releasing it way before most people have had a chance to read their books. I am only now downloading them from Comixology, for instance. My opinion is now going to be biased now that I know what your pick is. I think releasing it so early biases the community pick of the week. How about letting the community decide what the pick of the week is before you tell us what it is?

    • Or…..you could wait until you have read your issues and then check back. Not to be jerky, but…

    • I see your point, but with a limited budget, I only want to buy a few of the best comics. The POTW and the ratings help filter only the top titles. I wouldn’t have picked this up. But now that it’s the POTW, I’ll give it a go.

    • You should not take Ron, Conor, Josh or anyone else’s opinion of a comic book ahead of your own.

      If you intended to pick up the Flash before Ron’s POTW review, then you should enjoy it because you wanted to read it in the first place. If his review persuaded you to pick up the Flash , then (1) Ron wrote a good review and (2) it shouldn’t change how you read your comic book.

    • It’s not going to happen. The Pick of the Week comes out on Wednesday, the earlier the better. It’s what our entire enterprise is based on.

      The community Pick of the Week is a fun thing but it’s not the most important feature at iFanboy.com.

    • Ha! You refer to iFanboy as your “empire”. That’s awesome.

      *sings Darth Vader Theme* Dun Dun Dunn Dundadun Dundadun!

    • @JNewcomb: Enterprise =/= Empire

    • I think it’s awesome that the POTW gets released early. I love reading it earlier. For the weeks I am anticipating, I just don’t read it until I get my comics.

    • I love that the PotW comes out on Wednesdays. That way, if I pick a book that ends up being PotW, I get the instant vindication; and if my pick isn’t PotW, I’m not left in suspense until Sunday.

    • I love early picks. It gives those that need it the chance to grab an excellent book they might have missed.

    • I agree that I’ve seen that happen in certain weeks where it seems so but the last two are perfect examples of how it doesn’t. With Batman last week & Aquaman (currently sitting @ 71.4 %) it seems that the fanbase can make up their own minds. I’m one of the people who enjoy how it’s always been since Josh picked Wonder Woman last week & I picked it up today and loved it. It was a book that I would have otherwise not gotten.

    • I think it’s important that the POTW comes out as early as possible. That’s the kind of the whole point: if you are going to get your books, THIS is the book the site recommends you check out. What would be the point of giving a recommendation AFTER most people got their books?

    • I love that the POW comes out on Wednesday. Just my two cents. I’ve started looking at fan reviews before I pick up my weekly stack. I don’t take them as truth or fact, but I take it into account. I love reading the IFB POW in the middle of the week.

    • I only get to visit my LCS once a month… Your logic implies that I should be begging them to wait a month to tell me their persoanl POTW…
      This isn’t “the most popular choice of the entire community”, it’s just someone’s personal pick. It doesn’t particularly matter what Ron, Josh, or Conor pick for their POTW, but it may influence me to try something I WASN’T reading…

      Like this for instance… Being a long-term Flash fan, I actually wasn’t that interested in this, as I actually fell off the pre-Flashpoint run really early on… (although I kept getting the issues in my standing order, I hadn’t actually read past issue 3!)…

      This review made my launch the Comixology App on my iPhone, and buy the issue.

      And yes. I’m back on board. I really like the new costume mechanism too! It really makes much more sense than him trying to jump into a bodysuit while running.

      Mr Manupal, keep it up!

    • I have to chime in, since I’ve been chided before for complaining about the POTW coming early. I prefer it later, because I don’t want it to influence the reader POTW numbers. Now, I realize the last couple of weeks the picks did not match up, but that could just be a fluke. Really, someone would need to throw some of that iFanboy statistical analysis onto a sizable sample of weeks and compare later pick announcements to changes in reader POTW. That way, you could see if something changed significantly after the site POTW was announced.

      And I like the suspense of waiting. I like when it comes out at the same time as the podcast.

  3. What a great ‘Pick of the Week’ and I couldn’t agree more!

    As a big Flash fan, I too was a little nervous on the writer/artist scenario, but boy, was I ever relieved after this first issue.
    I actually got giddy reading this.

    Great job Manapul/Buccellato & team. Can’t wait for issue #2!

  4. I totally disagree.

    Ron, you are not fat!

  5. Two thoughts:
    1) Glad to see Manapul jump to writing and still be able to draw well
    2) Really hope this doesn’t fade away like the last flash series…

  6. Can’t wait to pick this up for a digital discount next month. I think the real test of the “New 52” will be the first event, or, hopefully, lack thereof. Flashpoint, for good or ill, totally destroyed the last Flash series with its setup.

  7. My name is Jason and I fist pump this goodness.

  8. Glad to hear this gets a thumbs up. I was worried about it as well. I probably won’t read it until Sunday (stupid busy life), but I’m looking forward to it now.

  9. Hey, and how about that cover? Pretty awesome, right?

  10. Picked this up this week because my shop didn’t have Aquaman and I didn’t want to walk home with just one comic purchase this week (I’d already planned to buy Superman). So with a choice to make I went for the Flash, not having read any Flash books before but knowing enough about the character and his history to be interested.

    I still haven’t read it yet but I’m glad it’s been made POTW! I won’t read this review until I’ve finished reading the book but I’ll be right back here to check out Ron’s opinion straight after I’m done!

  11. Guess I’m not surprised b/c of Ron’s love for the Flash. I thought this was just ok. Haven’t read all my books this week, but Superman was shockingly good ( maybe b/c I had such low expectations ) and is so far my pick.

  12. I don’t normally try and guess what the POTW is going to be, but this week I just knew Ron would pick The Flash. Totally nailed the good points in the review.

  13. Not my pick but I’ll hang around for at least the first arc. Art is fantastic, but the plot is weak, especially the ending. I’m glad Ron conceded in the review his Flash bias because that definitely is a factor in this pick. The Flash is definitely worth checking out but Aquaman took the top spot for me this week.

  14. Ron, you never have to tell people you’re a Marvel fan. It permeates everything to say and how you approach comics in general. Your appeal for the Flash is no different. Personally I don’t find this Flash very interesting. I would appreciate it if you would consider putting more of your abundant hyperbole behind supporting David Liss’ Black Panther run. Francovilla got a significant amount of love for his Detective Comics run but not much for this series. Besides, as the Marvel Guy, you should be all over this one.

    • I suppose you’re right – I just like to paint the picture and lay out what my connection to a particular book may be.

      LOVE Black Panther – pretty sure I’ve talked about it on the podcast, Francavilla didn’t do the issue that came out this week though – but next month? whew – looks great

  15. Fivepeat.

    Now we have to see if they get PoTW next week.

    • I guess next week is not NU-52 so I guess DC did what it set out to do, dominate September. I’m very interested in seeing how the balance of sales will shift in the DC direction.

      My prediction is that NU-52 helped the industry as a whole. There were probably more sales on other publishers too.

    • @AmirCat – I’m very interested in seeing the numbers for the next few months. I hope your prediction is correct.

    • Whether a DC book gets POTW next week is really not important. As AmirCat said, they dominated coverage in the comic world and beyond for most of late August and all of September. Their sales seemed to be up significantly from previous months and DC may have attracted new readers as well as picked up some old readers with the level of exposure. When your coverage ranges from Maxim to Wall Street Journal and all forms of network and cable TV coverage, you should say that this is a very good start. The fact that many of these books are the highest pulls on this site, comixology and on others says that the buzz generation has succeeded. Will next months numbers be as good? I don’t know but they should be up quite a bit from last October. That is something I think DC and Warner Bros. will be very pleased with.

  16. This is the best artwork in the New 52, in my opinion. A very fun book.

  17. I dont buy the flash never have but a great review. My pick was ultimate spiderman 2.

  18. Nice review! But I just wasn’t a fan of this book. It was very “ok”

  19. Don’t see how this beat out Ultimates, I, Vampire, or All-Star Western, but a fun book.

  20. The art and layout on this issue was superb. Little things like the subtle use of the word KRASH on page 2 and the previously mentioned use of the word SPLASH with the water.
    Hopefully, these guys are far enough ahead of the deadlines to maintain this level.

  21. This is the one I’m most excited for. The Flash is my favorite DC super-hero, and easily in my top 3 or 4 in all of comics. I proudly wear my Flash edition Converse sneakers when out on the town, and plan to be sporting them when i pick up this issue. And francis Manapul was put on this planet to draw the Flash. Certain artists are just the absolute perfect style for a particular book. Marcos Martin could draw Spider-Man for the next 50 years and I’d be happy. Francis Manapul could draw the Flash for the rest of my life and I’d never complain.

  22. That one was a qucik choice.

  23. As someone who loves The Flash I was very relieved at how great this book was. It was almost my POTW but got edged out by Justice League Dark. That scene with Shade and Kathy was so great.

  24. Probably the prettiest book I read this week, but also bland and lifeless. Did not think this was anything special at all. Certainly did not touch me like Venom or have the sense of BIG that Ultimates did or have the pure, genuine soul of Ultimate Spiderman. You love what you love, but for my dollars this was not even a top 5 book this week.

    • I have to agree, the art is perfect in my opinion but the story was mediocre bad I believe.

      My personal pick so far is All Star Western

  25. Very good book and a very good review, DC need more bright, fun books like this & OMAC.

  26. DC ruled the month of september

  27. I just don’t get the love for Manipul’s art style. It’s certainly not terrible but it’s very drab.

  28. Ron, I’m so sorry to see your shop didn’t get Ultimate Spider-Man! For future reference, it is day-and-date digital now.

  29. As a long term Superman fan, my pick should be a given.

    Superman #1 as my POTW with All Star Western #1 as a close runner up.

    Matthew

  30. I hoped Ron would pick this. My only concern was that he wouldn’t want to pick 2 times a Flash#1, by the same artist non the less. So congrulations DC, 5 weeks in a row POTW. Ifanboy sure loves #1 issues!

  31. I agree, although Aquaman is close to being picked as well. I want to see what happens next!

  32. I picked The Flash #1 as my POTW because it was a fun superhero story with fantastic lines and layouts. As a first written issue for Manapul and Buccellato it was good, not great, but you can see the potential there for their writing to only get better, and i was impressed with the dialogue, it like the art flowed well, which something that i love in book.

    Almost picked Aquaman #1, and while i loved it and thought it was a great start of the story, The Flash had more of a superhero story that i was looking for.

  33. All-Star Western and Aquaman are fighting for my POTW so far.

  34. I enjoyed The Flash and Aquaman the most, but my POW is All Star Western..which just shocks the heck out of me.

  35. Wally West is and always will be the Flash for me. I’ll still give this a try.

  36. Nice review Ron. It strikes me as we all digest these 52 issues in such a short period of time how much our personal preferences play into things. For me, not being a “Flash” guy, this book didn’t resonate. I recognize it as a perfectly well crafted book. I have no issues with the dialog or the art (which was particularly striking), but ultimately a “good” Flash book isn’t going to get me coming back to the well. It would be akin the the way you feel about Superman, perhaps. Whereas I readily admit I read 7 or 8 books a month that feature Wolverine — and that works for me. My point is to reiterate that DC has given us a lot to try this month, and I love that not all of it is being judged/received in the same way. Speaks to the diversity we were hoping for.

    Well done.

  37. Great review Ron. I just finished reading this myself and can’t wait to for the next issue. Out of all the books i read this week, the art and writing came together so perfectly for me.

  38. Can’t wait to see which panel you throw up for the Best of the Week. You might as well just post the entire book. lol

    This was a great review and I don’t think I could have put it any better. Great job, Ron! I look forward to taking this Flash journey with you.

  39. This is a great book. I almost didn’t get it but my LCS was short on Dark Knight and I Vampire so I had a little extra cabbage and picked it up. Man, am I glad that I did. Great read and amazing art. This one has definitely made my pull list.

  40. I love when the panel pulled back and it was an overhead shot of Barry changing into the Flash under water. You just see a flash and a streak of red.

  41. Good review, Ron.

    I was hoping this would help me finally get on the Barry train. But so far, still no dice. I’m a Wally fan, born and bred, and I’ve resisted Barry since his return. I’ve tried not to. I really have. But it’s just not clicking for me so far. I did enjoy this issue (mostly for the artwork), and I plan on sticking with it. But I am curious to see how/where Wally’s gonna fit in to the new DCU. I can live with him not being the main speedster, but I think the character deserves a place in the lineup. They managed to keep Kyle Rayner relevant. I see no reason they can’t do the same with Wally West.

    But I agree with you on the twins. Let’s hope they’re a casualty of the shakeup.

  42. Great pick, great surprise that the book was this good. Much as I love the speed force elements that Waid created all those years back, I love that this book seems to dial everything back to the core of what makes Flash great…the simple fact that superspeed is just a really cool power. Nice also that the conflict is a new one and suitably “sci-fi”. As for the art, I’m not sure there’s anything to add, it’s just glorious, both the pencils and the colours. Sweet stuff all round.

  43. “Artistically, Manapul and Buccellato are at the top of their game.”
    Absolutely right. I was shocked how good Manapul’s become. I disliked his style when the Flash re-lauched just over a year ago. I only got this because it’s PotW and I’m glad I did. Definitely a welcome evolution.

    Personally, though, I thought Aquaman – another book I didn’t see myself liking – or Justice League Dark (purely for Mikel Janin’s art) were better. But, still, Flash was good.

  44. I was sooo close to buying The Flash #1 but in loving care for the small amount of cash remaining in my wallet I put it back on the shelf. Did I make a mistake iFanbase?

  45. THE FLASH IS THE GREATEST SUPERHERO TO EVER LIVE….. BARRY ALLEN SAVED 52 UNIVERSES…… TWICE! Sorry fanboy moment. This was a well written issue, art was FANTASTIC, and the first story arc has been a great adventure.

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