Thursday, October 6, 2011

Flash #1

So say you're Dan Didio.

Okay, cool, that's you.

You run DC Comics, you have a fun goatee and graphic violence fills you with a perverse glee. You know you want to reboot your entire line in an attempt to boost sales and streamline continuity. This is your chance to just present individual stories for what they are, and not as pieces of a delicious continuity-pie. But how best to do that? GOT IT. Bring back Barry Allen, the 2nd Flash, who is pretty unanimously agreed to be boring as hell. The guy whose teen sidekick successfully replaced him in the hearts of the most fickle fans on the planet. So step 1 was completed a couple years back, when creators Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver brought Barry back. But how can this lead to a whole new world of storytelling possibilities? Don't worry, the DC brain trust has this one covered. Have Barry Allen do such a shitty job time traveling that he fucks the whole universe up. Superman loses his wife, Flash is similarly suddenly single, and everyone has a shitty new costume. Thanks a lot, Barry.

So, now that I've vented my rage against a fictional character, how's Flash #1? Not terrible. The writing is basic, but that's to be expected from artist-turned-writer Francis Manapul and colorist-turned-writer Brian Buccellato (who must've have had at least one guest appearance on the Sopranos). Barry fights some clone terrorists or something. There's the mandatory juggling of romantic interests, and an old friend with a dangerous secret. It's paint-by-numbers writing.

What does work is the art. Manapul just does everything right. Some artists can only do action, or only do facial expressions, or only do dynamic page layouts. Manapul has the full set and the comic is beautiful.

Buy again: No, the writing just wasn't there and Barry Allen is just the worst.

New reader friendly: Friendly enough. Like a toll booth worker that smiles at you, but you know they want to get the fuck outta there.

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