Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Flash #18

OK, this is going to have to be my last review of The Flash for a while.

It's just too aggravating.

Let me be clear: I love this character, and I'm thrilled that it's once again Barry Allen under the mask.

But ever since the "New 52" reboot, the stories have been terribly thin and the characters even thinner.

It's really baffling. While other DC characters like Batman and Aquaman are being redefined, the Flash has been muddling along with interminable stories about the mystical Speed Force (which is a useful explanation for the hero's amazing powers, but not especially interesting when placed under a microscope).

As Barry Allen, he has a different love interest (Why? Who knows?), he's suspended from his job as a police investigator (a great springboard for stories - just look at all the CSI shows on TV), and now he works as a bartender in a dive frequented by villains.

This issue focuses on his attempt to collar The Trickster and his encounter with some would-be heroes (how did they get their powers? Speed Force). Instead of being helpful to these hopefuls, the Flash plays the schoolmarm and lectures them against using their abilities to fight crime.

Then it all ends with a crossover to a comic I don't read.

There's so much potential here, and the series has been enjoying some fine artwork (Marcio Takara does an excellent turn in this issue), but a-year-and-a-half into the run and there have been no memorable stories, few spectacular feats by the hero, and no progress on his personal life.

So I'm laying off the reviews of this series until it kicks things into gear. So far, it seems to be stuck in Neutral.

Grade: C+


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