The Flash #30
By Robert Venditti, Van Jensen, Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund & Andrew Dalhouse
Admittedly the whole “Forever Evil” thing (it’s over, right?) wasn’t something that made it to the pull list, so the start of The Flash was a little jarring and confusing. A lot has happened, apparently, since Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato ended their run on the series and that aforementioned pull list, like the destruction of Central City, and Barry Allen apparently being inside of Firestorm’s head, if that’s what was eluded to. Without saying too much more on the subject, since we’re here to talk about the new direction and creative team, the initial run of The Flash coming out of the New 52 was spectacular and casts a huge shadow to all those who follow it up. But if anybody working for DC now can follow it up it’s a safe bet that the writing team, or at least part of it, that have been consistently giving us some great stories on the Lantern side of DC are up to task.
Aside from the beginning and being unaware of what happened to Central City and to Barry, at least since issue #25 of The Flash which really made it confusing until it was (sort of) covered in passing, this issue has a whole lot of great things going for it. Barry is holding onto a lot of guilt for what happened to Central City and he’s almost constantly trying to help out and repair the damage caused by the Crime Syndicate. While talking to a physiologist, to clear him for active duty back at the crime lab, he takes precious seconds to speed away and repair buildings, or help people on a collapsing bridge and it’s clear just how guilty he feels for not being able to stop the destruction of the city he loves. Not a moment goes by that Barry isn’t pushing himself to his limits. It’s really a strong character issue, even for those that might only be jumping on because they heard the words “Wally West”—by the way, Barry Allen is better.
The art team really steps up to the plate here and if you recall the shadow comment of the original run, they had their work cut out for them. Penciler Brett Booth, inker Norm Rapmund and colorist Andrew Dalhouse come together to create a stellar, fast paced visual feast that any fan of the Scarlet Speedster, or comics in general, can appreciate. The weight of Barry’s guilt shows not only in his face, but it’s conveyed in his movements as well; they’re frantic and he’s pushing himself harder than maybe he ever has before and this art team do a fantastic job of bringing that feeling to the page like brilliantly executed streaks of red and yellow as Barry sneaks away from the psych evaluation mid-conversation. It’s worth noting that Dalhouse’s colors bring to mind a similar look that the original colorist, Brian Buccellato, was going for but with his own twist. It’s subtle, and maybe that’s not at all what Dalhouse was going for, but it was nice to have even that tiny bit of similarity to the original run on this series. Either way, whether intentional or not, the colors are fantastic and really make the art stand out among the crowd from DC or any other book that hit the shelves this week.
With all that said, yes, The Flash #30 is more than worth checking out. The first run was an instant classic and one that’s most definitely going to go down as some of the best Flash work to date, but this new group has the potential to match that success and, just maybe, even surpass it. It’s going to be a long road, but if this is any indication it’s going to be a good one. Pick up The Flash, you won’t be sorry you did.