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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review: The Flash #16

Okay, I will be the first to admit, The Flash has not been the best out of all of the main hero books of the New 52.  Does that mean the book is bad?  Not at all.  The Flash has certainly been a very entertaining book, at times being one of my most anticipated of the week.  I feel, however, that it has yet to reach the high-level of storytelling going on in books such as Wonder Woman, Batman,  or Green Lantern.  While this issue does not rise to the occasion, it at least continues being a fun ride.

In this issue, we see the beginnings of the end of the "Gorilla Warfare" story arc.  Barry Allen has had enough of Grodd attacking Central City and has decided to do something which could very well endanger his life...take Grodd and himself into the Speed Force.  Meanwhile, the Rogues continue their fight against the minions of Grodd.

Since The Flash Annual #1, this Gorilla Grodd story has been one seemingly so important that it has kept the Flash from participating in the recent events of Justice League (read my review and thoughts on this here).  Before this issue I had my concerns as to why this story arc was so important that it kept the Flash from helping out his teammates.  With the way this issue ends, however, I now wonder if perhaps the Speed Force will not be the easy escape that it was last time for Barry Allen.  

One of the brighter spots of this issue was the brief moment we see the Rogues putting a plan in action to save some citizens of Central City.  I really enjoy the banter that goes on between each member of the Rogues, and I love even more that they seem to genuinely feel they are doing Central City a favor by helping out.  While I want to believe that their intentions are good, one cannot help but feel a tad suspicious (they are super villains after all).  That being said, I would not complain if the Rogues got their own mini-series of sorts about being new protectors of Central City.

Iris West has been a character that has been slightly under-used since The Flash relaunched.  This was not something which bothered me as I am okay with my superheroes having more than just one love interest, but I had wondered why Iris' role had been so small.  It only took sixteen issues, but we finally got answers.  While the reasons for Barry's distance from Iris seem plausible, I could not help but roll my eyes a bit at some of the dialogue in these flashbacks (particularly from Barry as well as Daniel West).

While on the subject, let's take a brief moment to talk about the writing.  So far, I have enjoyed Francis Manapul's work on The Flash.  While it is not the most introspective of the New 52 series, it seems like Manapul is having fun...and when the writer is having fun, usually the reader is as well.  This issue is entertaining to be sure, but the aforementioned dialogue problems do create a sense of corniness.  Manapul has done a good job thus far, however, of crafting good superhero stories in this book so I suppose I can excuse the occasional misstep in dialogue (for now).

Art-wise, there's not much i can say about the work of Brian Buccellato.  His work on The Flash has been great and this issue is no different.  Some of the page layouts are just awesome.

Only one more issue remains in "Gorilla Warfare."  I hold no lofty expectations of where this story ends up, but I would just like some justification for Barry's absence from Justice League.  Is that too much to ask?  

Rating: B

Summary: The Flash #16 has its bright moments and entertains, but does not do much to rise beyond that.

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