The Flash #18
By Joshua Williamson, Jesus Merino, Andy Owens & Chris Sotomayor
After the “Rogues Reloaded” story arc, writer Joshua Williamson takes the next two issues to reconnect with key secondary characters and further subplots that he’s been seeding slowly. Barry Allen takes some much needed down time with Iris and Wally West, but Wally continues to struggle with the fact that the current Reverse-Flash is his father. So much so that he did some private investigating, by himself, at Iron Heights Penitentiary on his current status…being transferred to Belle Reve Penitentiary – base of operations for the Suicide Squad and Amanda Waller.
It’s refreshing to see that another writer understands that one doesn’t have to immediately jump from one story arc to another. Seeing Flash enjoy a nice breakfast with friends and family is a nice change of pace and Williamson makes sure that these moments may be quiet, but are still relevant. He furthers the relationship between Iris and Barry and also reintroduces Dr. Henry Allen into this current continuity. Story beats like this are what can make a comic really stand-out. The books that have withstood the test of time weren’t ones that had big action sequences, but ones that brought real depth and emotion to interpersonal relationships. Moments like this breakfast scene are what ground heroes and make them relatable.
Also, Wally (New 52 Wally) continues to play an integral role in this series. Having strong and compelling ancillary characters that aren’t just plot fodder or crutches allow for narrative expansion and creativity. Wally is not going to react the same way Barry does to events or threats. It keeps readers on their toes and allows creators to go down avenues they thought possible with titular characters. Also, it’s no easy task to blend elements and dangling plot threads from different continuities/writers and have it work well, but Joshua continues to handle it deftly.
Jesus Merino fills in for series regular artist Carmine Di Giandomenico. Merino is a noticeable contrast to Di Giandomenico’s art style. He is far cleaner in form and incorporates a lot of facial and background detail. The artwork is solid, but just doesn’t pop off the page. One really has to take their time with the pages to fully appreciate his pencils. It does suit the character-centric content because Jesus really captures expressions and reactions well. His version of Captain Boomerang is definitely one of my favorites. The inking by Andy Owens definitely adds a layer of texture to the panels, especially to highlight Wally’s troubled mind, which is key considering he is central to this mini-arc. Colorist Chris Sotomayor blends well with the rest of the art team by making sure the details aren’t lost in his pass on the pages. His shade choices for the dream sequence were also nice. All-in-all, a solid effort from all artist involved.
This is another sound issue in Flash’s rebirth. Even though this issue and the next could be considered filler issues, the creative team makes sure to deliver a worthwhile read and continue to develop the characters in meaningful ways. It is possible to read this issue cold turkey, but, of course, having read previous ones is recommended. Making the book easily accessible to all readers is another welcome highlight. Perhaps most importantly, though, the comic continues to be entertaining. If you’re already reading, keep moving forward with this series. New readers, do yourselves a favor and hop on for the ride because some major developments in the mysteries of DC’s Rebirth are about to unfold!