Pick of the Week

July 28, 2010 – The Flash #4

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.5
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 19.9%
Users who pulled this comic:
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
Variant cover by scott kolins

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

It should come as no surprise that I’ve been enjoying the new Flash ongoing series by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul. I did pick issue #1 as the Pick of the Week after all. But since then, I don’t even think we’ve discussed issues #2 and #3 on the show because, while they were good, they weren’t better than other books out that week. Or like what happens with many books of such high quality, there just wasn’t anything to say other than “Yep, it was good again.” But every now and then, even the amazing books break out and remind you just how amazing they can be, and this week that’s exactly what The Flash #4 did.

We’ve spent a lot of time praising Geoff Johns, escalating him to a level of near godhood, and it’s well deserved. The guy has practically single handedly brought the creative level at DC Comics to such a high point with his work on Green Lantern and now The Flash. But in a rare case of misdirection, I’m not here to praise his work on The Flash #4. Sure, the story he’s weaving is good and has me engaged, but today, this pick of the week is all Francis Manapul.

In The Flash #4, there is an action sequence that lasts seven pages that literally knocked me off my chair. Once it began, I felt that this was going to be something special, and as I turned to the 3rd and 4th pages, that created a double page spread that may be one of the best double page spreads I’ve seen in years, I knew that this book was going to the be the Pick of the Week.

The scene in question, which describing it does nothing to spoil the book — so don’t worry, happens in an instant in the real world, but with The Flash’s speed, we’re able to see just how much Barry Allen can do in the span of a second. The Flash is in a heated battle with the newly escaped Captain Boomerang, who has damaged a helicopter, causing it to start to descend and probably crash in the middle of Central City. The Flash speeds up the side of a building as the pilot is screaming “Mayday!” In between the words “May” and “Day” we watch as The Flash jumps off the building he was running up, landing on the spinning blade of the helicopter, run across the spinning blades, jump down the opposite side of the helicopter, bust open the door, grab the pilot and co-pilot and leap to safety on a nearby building. I can’t even put into words how stunning this sequence was, and how amazing the double page spread of the Flash streaking across the helicopter blades was. It just completely blew me away and made me realize that it’s time to sing the praises of Francis Manapul.

When Manapul and Johns teamed up on that Superboy story in the pages of Adventure Comics, we began to see this new style of art that Manapul was dropping on us. This part painted, part cartoony hybrid just looked so gentle and vulnerable, and yet at the same time completely accessible and able to depict action and super heroics. Once that story ended, Manapul moved to The Flash and I could tell that this was the beginning of something special and this issue just cemented that thought further. Manapul is coming in an putting a stamp on the look and feel of this book which is forever changing how I look at the Flash. It used to be that when I thought of The Flash, my minds eye showed me Mike Wieringo’s rendering, and then later, Scott Kolins. But now, when I think of The Flash, I think of the dark muted reds of Manapul and colorist Brian Buccellato’s Flash costume, and of the red speed lines and intense lightning following The Flash as he moves to save lives.

Seriously people, if DC were to sell a print of this two page spread, I’d buy it in an instant.

Sure, Geoff Johns is pretty good.  I love a good time travel story, which mixed with the Rogues makes for more fun in a Flash book than we’ve had in years. And of course praise should go to Johns for dreaming up the situation that Manapul drew in the first place, and he probably had some input to how the action should go. But if you ask me what it is that’s special about The Flash today, and I’m sure Johns would agree with me here, it’s Manapul.

If they keep banging out issues like The Flash #4, this could be the beginnings of a legendary run both in story and character development as well as artistically. After delivering art like this, I can’t wait for the next issue to see what Manapul has up his sleeve next!

Ron Richards
Really, go get this issue just to see the double page spread.


  1. Also my pick of the week. I had the exact same thoughts while looking at those pages.

  2. This was a great piece Ron buy I gotta say, this issue bored me to tears. Story is moving at a snails pace (ironic) and I just don’t find myself caring about the characters. It’s not poorly written mind you, Im just starting to get bored by the obviously stretched plot into 6 issues.

    Manapul was fantastic as always but I also felt the coloring let him down. That two page spread you’re referring too has really muddy/brownish texture to it. Flash looks great but it was hardly a ‘nice view’ as he put it.

    I’m glad you made this the pick Ron and I can see why diehard Flash fans are loving this. But the stretched plot and bad coloring really dampered this issue for me…..but that’s just me.

  3. The coloring is one of the high points on the book, in my opinion – but to each their own

  4. Good pick. This issue was just fantastic.

    On another note are you going to fix the pick of the week feature over in the comics section? It is saying a book with 4 pulls has most of the PotWs

  5. @Minion – we’re looking into it

  6. This was my pick as well, and if it were solely art, yeah, Flash may very well have been my pick every week it’s been out. It’s helped bring me to loving a character so many before me have admired. I’ll be following Manapul to any book he does now.

  7. Can’t wait to read it, but in the mean time, here are those pages scanned and put up on DeviantArt by Mr Manapul himself

    Pg’s 6-7

    Pg 8


    Enjoy, and you can request them as a Print. 

  8. "an action sequence that lasts 7 pages that literally knocked me off my chair"

    Literally? I’m imagining how that would look. lol.

    I liked this a great deal too but Time Travel knots pull me out of the story a little bit. I think I’ll have to design a diagram to help me follow better.

  9. Man, this was an incredible week in comics for me.  Lots of 5 and 4 star books.  I would have to say that my top three were definitely Action Comics, Thor: The Mighty Avenger, and The Flash, although I had more 5 star books than that.  My pick is going to The Flash because that 7 page sequence is sooooo amazing.  Can’t wait for this week’s show.

  10. I must say that I am not an art person and usually pick up books just on the stories. This book however is absolutely beautiful. It has on several occasions made me want to pick this book up, even though I don’t consider my self a flash person. Sounds interesting and I cannot wait for the trade. 

  11. This is going to be a very hard trade wait

  12. @SpiderTitan: I hear ya, pal.

  13. @LukeB Thanks..those pages look great in B&W(maybe the big 2 can print one in color and one copy with just the pencils!)

  14. My pick of the week as well. I’ve never read a Flash ongoing much more than some random issues as a kid. I’m digging on this storyline.

  15. Well the coloring was "muddy brown" because when we enter the Flash’s POV speed everything turns fuzzy and desaturated except the Flash himself.

     It’s a nice way to differentiate the time speeds and perspective shifts. In a film you would have something akin to bullet time etc. 

  16. @ron- i’m in total agreement.


  17. The top was great with his heroic turn!

  18. After reading it on weds I knew ron was going to make it his pick, I thought how could he not. It was awsome!

  19. I still think Geoff Johns’ Barry Allen is boring but this was easily the best issue yet with a terriric plotline, excellent action sequences and, the true star of the show, some incredible art work. I might even have considered giving it a 5 but those Mirror Master pages at the back were a total waste of space.

  20. Nitpicky physics question: when he jumped off the helicopter rotor, how could he fall faster than gravity? He wasn’t accelerating off of anything, he just jumped. 

    I can accept "speed force" in general but this one bugs me. 

  21. @RobAbsten-The same way that the 25th century Top has a ‘frictionless’ suit.  Or how just about any superhero flies.  There are no satisfactory answers for most of superhero physics.  You are just going to have to decide if it bugs you or if you are going to let it go, because there is no answer that makes sense or follows physics in our world.

  22. @robasten:
    Well I haven’t read the issue but the best answer is that the Flash faster than time!:D

  23. I read all four issues of the flash this week, and even though I get most of my comics through dcbs and thus haven’t recieved them all yet, I can’t imagine that this wouldn’t be my pick of the week

  24. Oh and as it stands though, Action Comics is my pick of the week, followed by Justice League: Generration Lost.

  25. This is an excellent pick, Ron. Beautiful art makes it shine. This is some of the highest quality art being made in superhero comics. My pick would have been American Vampire, though. A satisfying wrap to this story arc.

  26. Every single issue at my LCS had printing issues. Did anyone else have printing issues?

  27. @g0ofnewt

    My copy was fine. I’ve only gotten one printing error in a comic before. A Green lantern Secret Files and Origins issue that had the pages out of order. Unless you count all those errors I got in some Hulk Comics that for some reason weren’t written by Peter David, but that was an editorial error, not a printing one 🙂  

  28. My favorite part of this books was how the Flash was faster than the background colors. Since he is faster than forms of light, the colors drop away…brilliant. IT wound up being my pick of the week as well for this brilliant little detail.

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