THE FLASH #12
What did the
Art by Francis Manapul
Cover by Francis Manapul
Variant Cover by Francis Manapul
Size: 32 pages
With so many artists taking over writing duties in the relaunch last year, many fans knew what to expect and got exactly that. While there are notable exceptions, most of the artists who script their books nowadays often produce fairly lackluster material, writing more to give them excuses to draw to their strengths as opposed to telling a coherent story. And with everyone from David Finch to Rob Liefeld going around the place and producing crap, Francis Manapul’s The Flash stuck out quite nicely. While Manapul’s art was as amazing as ever, he and his writing partner Brian Buccellato also managed to supply Flash with a surprisingly solid story to hold our interests. While the book’s story was nothing too special, it helped the title float on and allow Manapul to really go the extra mile and do amazing things with his pencils.
And then somewhere along the way they started losing it, ever since Flash entered the Speed Force, the title’s pacing began to move around erratically, taking away from the fun high-octane adventure of the first six months and delivering a rather stale story with too many moving parts and not enough focus. After his two month break however, Manapul is back on art, and his second story arc is wrapping up, and I’m glad to say that the book is recovering.
With the Rogues now introduced, this issue is basically all set up for next week’s annual, but it is an exciting set up nonetheless. With Captain Cold’s sister Glider now in command of the Rogues, Flash is finally begin to find its old footing as a fast paced book that’s easy to read and fun to look at. While there are some tropes we’ve seen before (Flash is blamed for a crime he didn’t commit, and supervillains are declaring war with each other) they actually help the book by invoking a classic feeling to it, cementing the rep it had early on as a light title that sought be instantly accessible and not bogged down by heavy decompressed storytelling. With all of that established its probably a good thing, considering that the last few issues which tried to focus on Barry Allen as a character just showed how monumentally boring and devoid of any real character he is.
With Manapul back on art, the book gets a serious upgrade. While Marcus To was a pretty good fill-in, he can’t compare to how good the regular is. When people say they’re buying this book for the art, it’s not because they like to stare all the creases and lines and cross-hatches, but because Francis Manapul is one of the few artists today that really understands sequential motion and knows how to use it, unlike most artist today, who draw like their trying to make a movie with just storyboards.
While this by no means a triumphant return, this issue does signify a good return to form the Flash. While it may of sunk in quality during the second half of its first year, things are looking up for the fans as they only get worse for Barry Allen.
Art: 3 - Good