Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Flash #15

This will come as a shock to you, but everyone is different.

With comics readers, some only care about the art, while others focus on the writing. I lean toward the story side myself (though I enjoy good art, of course). The gold is when both are outstanding.

Sadly, that hasn't been the case with The Flash - which has been the source of much pain for me.

That's because the character has been one of my favorites since I was a kid, and I was thrilled when they brought back Barry Allen.

But since the "New 52" started, The Flash has been written by artist Francis Manapul, and while his art has been exceptional, the story has not.

Part of the problem is that nothing ever seems to be resolved. Promising story elements are introduced but continue to limp along, including the Speed Force dimension, the people stranded there, the newly-powered Rogues, problems with the Flash's powers, the threat of Gorilla Grodd, Barry's father being framed for murder, his relationship with Patty, his changing powers - you get the idea.

These plots (and subplots) have been running since the re-start and show no signs of resolution. Even worse, The Flash just seems to be a punching bag. Issue after issue, he gets thumped on by the bad guys - he spends this issue recovering from his near-death at the hands of Grodd.

The saving grace for the series has been Manapul's art, and even though he draws a mere eight pages in this issue, they're impressive, with stunning layouts and design elements.

But he really needs some help with the story side. Give us a reason to root for Barry, allow him some victories, resolve some story lines. Move beyond the Rogues, let us get to know the supporting characters.

This can be a great comic, it's very close to being there - but it needs consistency and tighter storytelling first.

Grade: C+


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