REVIEW: Flash #13


Or – “Dipping A Toe Back Into The Pool…”

It’s been some time since I regularly read the adventures of The Flash, mostly because the post-Final Crisis tales didn’t really make much use of Barry Allen as a character.  There was very little in the Brightest Day-era Flash stories that justified the character’s resurrection, as little to nothing about the tales being told required that the Flash starring in them be Barry Allen.  Has DC finally fixed this problem?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

Writer: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Artist: Francis Manapul
Colorist: Brian Buccellato with Ian Herring
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Flash: Barry Allen is presumed dead, and The Flash has had to deal with some of his most powerful foes (Captain Cold, Heatwave, Weather Wizard and Glider) in his recent Flash annual.  Sadly, there is no honor among thieves, as Cold turned on him and (you should excuse the expression) cold-cocked our hero moments before King Grodd arrived with his army of super-simians from beyond.  Now what?


For all the excellent things that Geoff Johns brought to the Flash title, the canonization of Leonard “Captain Cold” Snart is one of the things that I’m most conflicted about.  On the one hand, I like the idea of Snart as an old-school goon in a new-age role, but I rather dislike the fact that he comes across as a tool a lot of the time.  Manapul and Buccellato overcome a lot of that with the first third of this issue, as The Rogues find themselves in deep doo-doo, under siege by Grodd’s legions.  Manapul (whose name is fun to say because it reminds me of old school Magic: The Gathering) has really hit a stride on art, as every single page of this issue is awesomely kinetic, even the ones with Barry Allen’s girlfriend standing around and talking to her police captain.  I hadn’t read the previous appearances of most of the New 52 versions of these characters, but it’s not a problem in this one, as you quickly pick up who is who, what their basic character archetypes are, and what’s different as compared to their pre-Crisis selves.  (Heatwave looking like his skin has been burnt to a crisp is a great visual, by the way.)


Also neat is Grodd’s new motivation: stealing back the speed force from Flash, whom he sees as a usurper of his birthright, the juice that is the Speed Force.  Grodd’s forces seem to be channeling the force, and the thought of a phalanx of super-speed apes is a little bit terrifying as I peruse the issue.  Using teamwork, the Rogues and their greatest nemesis actually take out the attacking simians, leaving Flash free to confront Gorilla… Excuse me, KING Grodd.  The last two pages are particularly well-done, as Barry races towards Grodd’s stronghold, musing that the big gorilla is going to have to get used to the realization that the Speed Force is not his own possession, that Flash is actually the one chosen to serve as it’s avatar.  “It’s not his birthright,” thinks The Flash as he bursts in, only to find a lightning-enshrouded super-speed Grodd ready for battle, as the issue ends with our hero in a very precarious position.  I wasn’t sold on Manapul writing the book himself, but the creative team really has it all together with this issue, seamlessly meshing the story and the images together, and telling a compelling tale in the process.


From the very first page, this book is a nice reading experience, one which makes Barry Allen work as a character, and while there are callbacks to what has come before, none of them damage the issue for someone who hasn’t been following the title regularly.  Flash #13 stick the landing hard, re-imagining one of the more ludicrous villains of the Silver Age into a very intimidating threat for a new era, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall.  Another issue of this caliber, and Flash will be back on my pull list for sure…

Rating: ★★★★☆


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