Or – ” ‘Geddoverit’ Isn’t Just A City In Iceland…”

In the world of comics, it’s pretty common to hear fans like me upset for YEARS about a perceived slight or mishandling of a beloved character. But, in the spirit of the Brightest Day (Not that we have much explanation of what that spirit or even what the Brightest Day itself is… Bygones.) I’ve decided to stop whining and embrace the return of Barry Allen’s buzzcut and tie to the role of Flash. After all, at least Wally West wasn’t murdered on panel just to make sure that Barry’s brand wasn’t being tainted, and he’s not traveling through time to resurrect himself from the dead or wearing a godawful new costume or something. Gather around, Flash-fans, ’cause tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1984!

The Flash #3
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
1:10 variant cover by GREG HORN
Colors by BRIAN BUCCELLATO
Letters by SAL CIPRIANO
Published by DC Comics
 
Previously, on The Flash: Barry Allen grew up in the midwest, reading comic books and studying science, and grew up to join the police force (albeit in a scientific capacity.) After a long night, he was struck by lightning arcing through his chemical shelf, causing a strange chain reaction that turned him into a Scarlet Speedster and founding member of the Justice League of America. After some time, he gave his life in battle against the evil Anti-Monitor. Years later, SOMETHING happened (and I still haven’t heard anybody clearly explain what) allowing Barry to breach the wall back from the great beyond and return to active duty as the Flash. With his old job, his old girlfriend, and his old Rogue’s Gallery in play, Barry expected everything to be the same as before, which made the arrival of super-cops form the future, patterned after his greatest enemies, such a surprise…

We open in Iron Heights Federal Penitentiary, where convicted metahuman felons are kept to protect innocent citizens. Apparently, these felons are kept in full costume, as we find the recently-dead-but-got-better Captain Boomerang in full suit, including jackboots, scarf, and leather trenchcoat being wheeled into the filthy infirmary. While a vicious guard yells that he’s going to Death Row (something I wouldn’t count on, as a second trial would probably comprise Double Jeopardy) Boomer lies there, an obvious victim of mistreatment by the C.O.’s. Digger (for that is Cap’s nickname) suddenly attacks, biting his oppressor on the face before taking a beatdown from multiple billy clubs. “No much without your boomerangs, are you?” sneers a guard. At that moment, a glob of black substance appears in Boomerang’s hand and coalesces into form: a boomerang. “Guess we’ll never know, mate,” he responds and quickly busts out of prison. There are half a dozen things wrong with this sequence, but I’ll just touch on the big’ns: Why is he in costume? How is he suddenly back in fighting shape? Even in a metahuman prison, doesn’t he have the right to NOT BE BEATEN? Meh… Moving on. Across town, in the CCPD Crime Lab, Barry Allen takes a dressing-down from his superior for seemingly contaminating a crime scene with his DNA. Apparently, his new boss hates his guts. Probably a Wally West fan…

Barry cuts out of work (because that’ll make the boss happier) to meet with Iris and get her help on a case he’s working (trying to free a seemingly innocent teen who has been imprisoned) when the coffee shop is suddenly blown open. Enter The Renegades, a task force from the 25th Century, each one patterned on a Flash foe from our time. (This is actually a kind of ingenious bit… I hadn’t realized until just now that the reason they’re taking their cues from the Rogues is that they’re trained to fight the Reverse-Flash. That’s neat.) Barry out-thinks them, but is outsmarted by their leader, Commander Cold and taken into custody. He is angry that they would try to apprehend him, having done nothing, but the Commander tells him that he’ll understand once the evidence is heard. Cold seems genuinely sorry about his job, but before any explanations are given, a black boomerang explodes in everyone’s face. The Renegades are thrown @$$ over teakettle, and only Barry is left conscious in the wake of the blast. “Wannabe Rogues with police badges?” asks a familiar voice as Flash tries to clear his head. “What’d I miss while I was dead?” asks Captain Boomerang… We end with a quick two-page recap explaining a little bit about Captain Boomerang and clearly attributing his new powers to exposure to Black Lantern energy before fading to black.

Hmm… I’m torn about this issue. On the one hand, I like certain little touches, i.e. the Renegade/Professor Zoom connection. The art of Francis Manapul is improving in terms of his storytelling (although he still has moments where he inexplicably changes “camera” angle or throws in a dramatically inappropriate scene, and his Iris West isn’t nearly as beautiful as the dialogue seems to want us to believe) but the soft-edges pencils as inks technique isn’t really effective on this character. Flash is about science and running and fighting and smiling and figuring things out, while the soft edge pastels seem more appropriate to Top Cow or a Spider-Man book. I am actively working to overcome my problems with the Mary Sue-isms already creeping into the book (and Barry’s boss calling him “Golden Boy” and seeming to hate him amplifies the problem rather than lessens is.) It’s a mixed bag. This seems like an odd arc to start things off with, and I’m unclear whether the previously-married Barry and Iris are still married, and I still don’t know what the Brightest Day banner is supposed to mean for a title. (Based on this book, Birds of Prey, and Green Lantern, it seems to mean that the main characters will be metaphorically kicked in the butt and abused?) It’s a likable enough book, though, with nothing overtly horrific going on, and as such Flash #3 earns a straight down the middle 2.5 out of 5 stars overall. Maybe it’s just me, but a major return like this might be worth a story with higher stakes and more substance?

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Faithful Spoilerites Question Of The Day: Given that Digger Harkness has been convicted for the crimes that the guard accuses him of, then was dead and came back, CAN they even charge him with these crimes again?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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15 Comments

  1. Damascus
    July 1, 2010 at 12:35 am — Reply

    I can’t imagine that with Double Jeopardy laws and the fact that he DIED, that they’d be able to retain him for the original crimes. But given Death’s Revolving Door, maybe Keystone City has special provisions written into their law books that say that upon returning to life an individual must return to jail until the duration of their sentence is served or until they make parole. Precedent may have already been set.

  2. Armaan
    July 1, 2010 at 2:54 am — Reply

    I think that that’s the question everyone’s been asking themselves in the wake of Brightest Day… what are the rules for returning from the dead? Do we have a Jennifer Walters in the DC universe? A lawyer superhero whose title can explain things to us?

    And the thing is… maybe once he’s back to life, they ease up on paperwork and say, “Oh, he fooled us, he wasn’t REALLY dead.”
    It could happen. Makes things easier, too.

    • Brian G.
      July 1, 2010 at 7:48 am — Reply

      I think the interaction with Captain Boomerang Jr. and the cops in Jack Drakes house in the pages of Identity Crisis tell us a lot about the mentality of a world where resurrection is possible.

      • Armaan
        July 1, 2010 at 8:43 am — Reply

        Ha, yeah, I just remembered that. It’s hilarious when you think about it! The dude was so angry “I’m sick of you guys coming back!”
        Guess what happened there?

  3. Damascus
    July 1, 2010 at 3:57 am — Reply

    Maybe they’ll have to make a stipulation, “Alright, if you’re dead less than a year, it doesn’t count.”

  4. arcee
    July 1, 2010 at 5:04 am — Reply

    “Apparently, his new boss hates his guts. Probably a Wally West fan…”

    ROFL! That’s why I come time and time again to Major Spoilers to read the best reviews online!

  5. Brian G.
    July 1, 2010 at 7:45 am — Reply

    Yes he can be charged. I think that the crimes he was charged with previously and escape conviction from get wiped clean but any crime that he was on the run from and hence not yet “charged” with stick. When Jack Drake killed him, Digger wasn’t yet charged with Jack’s murder, so that one stands. He could probably be charged with escape as well.

    I’m going to be reading this issue tonight … so i’ll weigh in more tomorrow.

  6. nu
    July 1, 2010 at 10:24 am — Reply

    What would be the difference between Digger and Maxwell Lord? JLA had a manhunt for Lord and with Digger he might get to go free. Is one less evil than the other? Does that open it up for CB to be an anti-hero like his son?

    • Brian G.
      July 1, 2010 at 11:07 am — Reply

      There might be a difference between Digger and Max in the sense of Digger didn’t cause a global crisis that killed (i’m sure) thousands of people. Max would be considered an enemy of the World where Digger is more of an America’s Most Wanted.

    • July 1, 2010 at 12:39 pm — Reply

      What would be the difference between Digger and Maxwell Lord? JLA had a manhunt for Lord and with Digger he might get to go free. Is one less evil than the other? Does that open it up for CB to be an anti-hero like his son?

      What IS the difference between Digger and Maxwell Lord? For all the opinions we have stating what we THINK, nobody has touched on real-world examples or points of law. I’m sure I remember a case wherein a Death Row execution was unsuccessful, and the criminal was then forced to spend his life in prison because they couldn’t try him again, and they couldn’t execute him again, because technically he’d BEEN executed… I’m not well-versed enough to say what precedents may or may not exist.

      • Damascus
        July 1, 2010 at 4:57 pm — Reply

        If it had been a Marvel title, I might have thought to look at real case examples. DC has always tried to be separate from our world with a different President and all, but maybe that’s a small factor.

  7. TaZ
    July 1, 2010 at 12:23 pm — Reply

    Thanks for hitting the nail on the head that many of the regular folks here pointed out when DC released the “sneak peek”.

    And the “boss doesn’t like the hero’s secret identity” has been done so much that it’s not even a decent tribute to the Silver Age here. Perry White’s berating of Clark Kent, J.J. Jameson’s use of Peter Parker as a whipping boy, etc.

    I’m not impressed with Manapul’s art for this character at all. It just doesn’t conjure up the images of speed in my imagination. One of the best doing that (for me, at least) was George Perez’s take on Kid Flash back in the Teen Titan’s heyday.

    • July 1, 2010 at 12:37 pm — Reply

      One of the best doing that (for me, at least) was George Perez’s take on Kid Flash back in the Teen Titan’s heyday.

      For me, it’s always going to be Carmine Infantino and his blurry multiple image schtick…

      • PJ
        July 4, 2010 at 4:43 pm — Reply

        Flash
        has been one of my all time favorite characters
        but I just hate the artwork. Manapuls art doesnt work for flash and never will
        Im praying he is dropped from the book,put him on something else This was
        a stupid move compared to how incredible Flash looked in Blackest night,and scivar

  8. Brian G.
    July 2, 2010 at 9:28 am — Reply

    Okay … after having had read it last night, i say this:

    The Brightest Day banner simply means that a Ressurectee is in the title.

    I think Iris looks rather beautiful … especailly when she speaks about her features gaining her access.

    I thought that the plot was fairly slow and bland but not without it’s own charm. I think a lot of that charm has to do with the art. I like to read me some Flash at the end of my pile of books as a kind of wind down. I enjoy it but I’ll likely never see this as a WOW story.

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