REVIEW: The Flash #16

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As the Speed Force continues to act buggy and shot-put things and people through time and space, Barry Allen and Gorilla Grodd finally face-off in a battle of wits. Possibly. Who will be victorious? Major Spoilers finds out after the jump!

TheFlash16CoverThe Flash #16
Writer: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Artist: Francis Manapul
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Colorist: Brian Buccellato
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics, Inc.
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in The Flash: With Patty by his side, Barry Allen thought out all possible options in defeating Gorilla Grodd. Grodd himself continues to hunger for the Speed Force, becoming more tyrannical as Grodd is wont to do. Daniel West continued his search for Iris and the Rogues continued trying their hands at being heroes.

SPEED FORCE BRAIN?

After briefly musing about his first semi-date with Iris West, Barry is brought back to reality, realizing that he must finally face Grodd. Using the sheer power of his speed-mind, he brings Grodd to the Speed Force Nexus with an unexpected visit from an old friend. The Rogues, meanwhile, continue to save buses full of civilians using their combined powers. And, of course, the cops are just as keen to fire on them as they are the invading gorilla force. It makes more sense if you’ve been following along.

I desperately want to like this series but so far the plot has been dragging. Compared to some of the other plot lines out there, this one has been going on for too long and is too odd and convoluted to stand out. Grodd continues to be uninteresting as a bad guy, allies come and go and being to blur together, while the final face-off between Grodd and the Flash has a flat finish. Manapul and Buccellato need to tie up some of these plot lines instead of mushing them together into one.

Also, for those who have been following the story-arc, the showdown between Grodd and the Flash is also pretty confusing. What’s with the Speed Force brain? How does this help anything? How did he learn how to use it? Did a time travelling gorilla who only had time to say one sentence really manage to teach him everything he needed to know about the Speed Force and how to unlock it’s potential? What’s going on?!

GIANT MANIACAL WATERCOLOR GORILLAS!

I’m fairly certain Manapul and Buccellato can do no wrong when it comes to art. While the story so far has been lackluster, the art is totally different story. As usual, their art is engaging and visually gorgeous with soft lines and watercolor backgrounds. The use of watercolors, or at least watercolor-like mediums, helps with the illusion of lightning fast movement and the blurry nature of the Speed Force.

What’s always great artistically is the way Manapul and Buccellato set up a page. They always find fun and visually appealing ways to set up a panel, whether it be by displaying the panels through the Flash’s speed lines, separating the panels by another picture instead of the plain white lines or staggering the panels on top of each other. Each page seems to be lovingly crafted by two guys that know what they’re doing artistically and they continue to do stellar work each time.

Also, it’s just fun to see giant maniacal watercolor gorillas. They’re surprisingly good at drawing giant maniacal watercolor gorillas.

BOTTOM LINE: PICK IT UP… OTHERWISE YOU’LL BE CONFUSED.

If you’ve been following the Flash’s Gorilla Grodd story-arc so far, it’s a good idea to pick up this one. While the plot is still kind of mediocre, the art is beautiful, as always. If you’re a comic-art buff, grab this one just for the sheer artistic brilliance of the Manapul/Buccellato duo. Flash #16 earns 3 out of 5 stars overall.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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