Writers: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
Penciller: Marcus To
Inker: Ray McCarthy
Colourists: Brian Buccellato and Ian Herring
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Previously, in The Flash: Barry is on a whistle-stop tour of the planet, it seems. After heading into the Speed Force to try and rescue some friends he had inadvertently sent inside, he discovered the source of his powers and the crazed villain Turbine. After defeating his foe, Barry ended up in Gorilla City, where the tribe of talking gorillas told him of his purpose – he must run, or the Speed Force’s excess energy could damage time and space.
After defeating wannabe monarch Gorilla Grodd, Barry left the city with a renewed sense of purpose. Meanwhile, Patty Spivot, Barry’s girlfriend, has travelled to Guatemala. Unfortunately it seems that the resident supervillain drug lord the Weather Wizard is about to cause problems for both her and the Flash, who she blames for the “death” of Barry Allen.
The Flash is fast. Kinda goes with the name, right? The previous volume of Flash before Flashpoint took this to heart, with some speedy storytelling that often hit the right story beats, but with more emphasis on speed than anything else – this new volume of Flash has gone the opposite direction, and decided to pack in as much story as possible without ruining the pace of it all. This issue is the meatiest so far from Buccellato and Manapul, with a lot of action and a convoluted plot that could give the people who write CSI a run for their money.
This issue opens mid-fight between Barry and the Weather Wizard, who has had a bit of a tweak to his origin since his last appearance; Marco Mardon is now the leader of a Guatemalan drug cartel, and the death of his brother has caused Barry’s girlfriend to travel across the world to try and solve the case. This of course lands her in trouble, and Barry has raced to save her. This serves as the backdrop for the main story, as the Flash saves a town from a flood caused by Mardon’s weather controlling powers, and then attempts to find his lost love.
Whilst all this is going on, Barry is grappling with his own moral dilemma – should he tell Patty that he is the Flash? This is a quandary that many superheroes struggle with, and Barry is no exception. He goes through the motions throughout the issue and comes to a well formed conclusion, all supported by the series’ motto of moving forward, and this contrasts nicely with the Weather Wizard’s family plot that is more about looking back. Despite most of the story focusing on Weather Wizard and Patty’s deductions, Flash is still the main character, and has an engaging plot thread to follow whilst dealing with other people’s problems, and it is resolved in a way that sets up some interesting new directions for future issues.
Manapul and Buccellato take a break for this issue and the next, with Batwing and Red Robin penciller Marcus To dropping in to lend a hand. Whilst his storytelling isn’t quite as innovative as Manapul’s (but that’s hardly a complaint, because very few artists is), it is clean and clear cut. To knows how to ensure that different characters have different body types, and his Flash is a perfect example. Whereas Barry is lithe and limber, as is Weather Wizard, there’s a nice variation in the supporting characters, and this is praise that I often heaped on his Red Robin work.
The Rogues continue to be slowly reintroduced to the Flash’s universe, and this issue brings us up to speed on the Weather Wizard – we learn everything we need to know about him, as well as some more hints as to the event that lead to the Rogues new powers being dropped. There is a lot of story in this issue, and you will most certainly get your moneys’ worth. Manapul’s art is missed of course, but To as a fill-in is a fantastic choice, bringing his own take on Barry’s world to the table and keeping this one of the most enjoyable of the New 52.
GO Rating: 3.5/5