I’m a self-confessed fan of The Flash, it’s in my bio for this site and as a fan I must say I was rather disappointed in this issue. Titled "Speed City," this instalment shows us Central City ravaged by the after-effects of a Speed Force storm that created new speedsters absolutely everywhere, and now they’re racing through the streets. Of course, not all wish to use their newfound powers for good. Some rob banks, cause mayhem etc, etc, ad nauseam…
This is actually my biggest gripe with the book. The writing is just lazy: it doesn’t feel grown up at all as it retests tired old tropes and lackluster dialogue. Why must we have page after page of The Flash talking to himself? I know maybe they’re trying to re-establish him in the events of Rebirth but this is not the way to do it. Rather than feeling like the Barry Allen I (and many others) know and love, he feels like a scarlet cliche, quipping out tiring one-liners about justice and doing the right thing. The key to showing these qualities is through nuance and subtlety, not repeatedly stating them outright.
My eyes often rolled as I followed Barry and his new partner August across the city as they try to contain the outbreak. S.T.A.R Labs are even involved now, it appears they’ve set up a speedster training facility to help the good ones come to terms with their powers. A neat idea but poorly executed here. The only saving grace is the art from Carmine Di Giandomenico, which offers us some superb depictions of The Flash at times. It reminded me a lot of the previous Flash: Rebirth title from Geoff Johns. Even here, though, things are still a little hit and miss. the art isn’t consistent and at times our lovable Scarlet Speedster seems to have legs that stretch a city block. Plascencia’s colours make up for this, his work is almost hypnotic at times, it makes me want to look at each page for longer and just soak it all in. Plus there are a few full-page panels that pull together these creator’s talents beautifully, just take a look at the last page where we see an exceptionally well-drawn character and new villain of the piece.
There are a few other things to like in this issue but they are few and far between. Flash’s new partner, August, is drawn brilliantly and almost has a Hugo Strange like vibe on some panels. There’s also a touching moment between The Flash and a little girl desperately wrestling with her new speed powers, unable to control them. Barry kneels down next to her and with great compassion talks her through it, showing her a little exercise she can use to help regain control. I found this especially touching and was this book’s best representation of the speeding hero I love. Please give us more of this Williamson! I beg you, you really nailed it there.
If you’re a fan of The Flash, you’ll probably keep reading these new Rebirth titles regardless of their faults but there are others in the new lineup more deserving of your money. This is a story that could go somewhere but it’s got a lot to show me yet.
Just keep running, Barry. Run, Barry, run.
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The Flash #3 Writer: Joshua Williamson Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico Colorist: Ivan Plascencia Publisher: DC Comics Price: $2.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital [/su_box]