Zero Year continues in Batman as the Dark City storyline has started. Now, many of DC’s titles are tying in to the story with their twenty-fifth issue. The Flash is one of those titles. And why shouldn’t it? Everything is better with Batman! Your review awaits!
Nice character piece without Flash in it
Both artists provide great work
Some plot elements weak
Jarring art change
THE FLASH #25
Writer: Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato
Artist: Chris Sprouse, Francis Manapul
Inker: Karl Story, Keith Champagne, Francis Manapul
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Colorist: Brian Buccellato
Editor: Wil Moss
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in The Flash: Six years ago Batman made his appearance in Gotham. Then the Riddler shut down the electricity in the city just before a major storm. Barry Allen, the soon to be Flash, decides to head to Gotham to help wherever he can.
OF COURSE, THE WORLD REVOLVES AROUND BATMAN
I felt it was an unusual choice to have the Flash tie-in to Batman’s Zero Year. The two characters never interacted much and are tonally quite different from one another. It wasn’t surprising though as DC knows it will give sales a boost by linking titles to their best selling book. Obviously Batman is the center of the DC universe, so I was worried that he would become the catalyst for all the superhero’s creations. Luckily, that’s not the case, at least as far as Flash #25 is concerned. The best thing about the issue? The Flash never makes an appearance. We only get Barry Allen. While this may upset some, I loved it. It’s a great way to have a Flash story mix with Batman’s world and came off as natural rather than forced. Manapul and Buccellato write an entertaining character piece for Barry Allen, dropping him in a setting foreign to him. Gotham’s much different from Central City and Barry has to learn the ropes throughout the issue. I liked seeing him hold his ground and pairing him with Bullock created a nice contrast. Barry’s a by the book kind of cop, but as Bullock shows him, there’s more of a grey area in Gotham. It’s a good twist on a police procedural story and a great way to show off Barry’s heroic nature. Having Iris show up was a little too convenient, but I liked seeing the attraction the two immediately had and it reminded me why I prefer them together. The Icarus drug making users move fast and think they’re superheroes was an odd choice and felt like a needless relation to Flash’s powers. It all works though and by the end we’ve been shown what makes Barry makes a great hero.
OVERSHADOWING A GREAT ARTIST
It’s hard to go wrong with Chris Sprouse and Francis Manapul providing art on a book. Both artist do wonderful work and the entire issue looks great start to finish. Sprouse carries the majority of the issue and gives a detail filled, natural style similar to Dodson art. Francis Manapul, of course, contrasts greatly with Sprouse, with his unique watercolor like technique and layouts. Unfortunately, with both in the same book, one inevitably overshadows the other. This will vary depending on the reader’s taste, but for me it was Manapul’s that shined. I find his layouts more dynamic and style so different that when the jarring shift occurs, I wished he had drawn the whole thing. Why he only handles nine pages was strange and I would have loved having Sprouse draw the whole thing as his part still looks great. Maybe it was the slight increase in page count but it ends up working against the issue.
BOTTOM LINE: GREAT SHOWCASE FOR A HERO
There was a lot of uncertainty had when I sat down to read The Flash #25, but I ended up enjoying the finished product quite a bit. It’s a nice done-in-one story showcasing Barry Allen and what makes him heroic and a tie-in that succeeds in trying something different. While some plot points are weak and the shift in artists drastic, possibly because of the slight page increase (resulting in a $3.99 price tag), the issue is definitely worth a read. The Flash #25 earns 3 out of 5 stars.