By Rob Williams, Jesus Merino, & Guy Major
Two more one-shot tie-ins to Geoff Johns’ Justice League opus story arc are released this week: Flash and Superman. In Flash’s issue, he must come to terms with being the host of the Black Racer, an avatar of death. The book delves heavily into Barry Allen’s past and his motivations, all while the Black Racer takes him on a Christmas Carol-esque journey…
Rob Williams (Martian Manhunter) tries his hand at writing the scarlet speedster and actually taps into some fascinating aspects of the character. He was able to find a brilliant linchpin between the Flash and death itself. Due to this, the story in this comic gains some earnestness and merit. Now, the resolution or rather realization seems a bit murky, but it still works. Overall, it’s a decent Flash story that reminds everyone who Barry is and what makes him tick – great character introspection.
Francis Manapul’s cover is chilling and stunning. His design for Blacker Racer Flash is beautifully haunting and the colors accentuate the ominous nature of the character and story that is laden within the pages of this book. Now inside the cover, Jesus Merino puts his own spin on the look and the face/mask just looks off. There’s no real menace to it and lessens the impact of what this change represents. He still does a great job of depicting the intensity of the speed force and adding details to set the somber tone of the material. Placing rain drops on the window as Barry visits Iris is one of those nice touches. Guy Major compliments Merino well and makes sure none of the panels lose their intended impact. He seems to focus on the emotions, especially Flash’s; they’re not overdone and considering the content of this comic that was a fine line to walk. As much as it would have been nice to see Manapul pull art duty on this, these men prove themselves to be a solid art duo.
Fans of the Flash (due to the amazing TV show, who isn’t at this point in his experience) should give this comic a read. Of course, those who are following “Darkseid War” would be wise to pick this up as well to gain some more insight and context. It is a self-contained story for the most part, so it isn’t required reading for the storyline though. This one-shot is another good egg DC has put out, let’s hope the track record continues!