The Flash: Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato, Wes Abbott, Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea, Tomeu Morey
Holy crap, three pages in and I’m already impressed as hell. Here’s why:
That first page is just visually striking. It’s perfect blocking with those thick, powerfully present words deliver a very cinematic feel right at the get-go. I was going to say off the bat, but I never get to say get-go. Take a look at the camera lens little Barry’s holding there. The up-close shots through the lens there. See what it says? This is what we like to call an “Easter egg.” The lens says “Garrick Piotr Limited.” Garrick. I’ll let you fill that one in. As for Piotr, the only Piotr in comics I know is Colossus, which is weird. So I’m leaving that one open.
Anyway, the next page is EVEN MORE visually striking than the first! And that’s where you get hooked. This comic is brilliant. The page’s panels make up the TITLE of the issue. I just can’t. Francis and Brian are artistic savants, without the mental incapacity thing. Well, I mean, I’ve only met Brian a couple times, and I don’t even know Francis, so I can’t say for sure. But I’m fairly certain.
Flash comes face-to-face with an old enemy for the first time: GRODD. And what an occasion! It’s brains-eating day! Understandably and realistically, Barry’s expression remains frozen for the next two pages. Apparently, the Flash and his lightning symbol are very important to the Gorillas - as is highlighted by the fact that Grodd is painted in paintblood to match the Flash’s suit designs.
Back in the Speed Force, Iris and everyone tinker with one of Flash’s headpiece thingies, and there’s some great sarcasm from Iris about the show Lost. I like her sense of humor, and I’m excited to see more from her in future issues. She’s been a kind of minor player, what with Patty in the spotlight in Barry’s life. But now that Patty hates Flash, I’m pretty sure some of Barry’s attitudes will change. Maybe he’ll start noticing Iris more. Who knows?
As if at all possible, MORE interesting things! We see back in Central City that Director David Singh and Hartley Rathaway, the Pied Piper, are actually in a relationship together. Or so it’s heavily hinted. Hartley wants to get back out there as Piper, because he wants to give the city a hero with Flash gone. Singh just doesn’t want to be seen with a known vigilante. It causes tension. Now, I’m all for the diversity in DC Comics’ New 52…but at the same time, I really feel like I’m seeing it pop up all over the place. It’s kind of like it’s calling attention to itself now. Hey, at least Manapul and Buccellato didn’t pull a BONE-HEAD move by announcing some “major DC character” would suddenly be gay. See? They just slipped it into the issue, and no one exploded.
The history of the Gorillas is completely reworked now to fit into the Speed Force and a direct connection to Flash himself. I like prophetic, apocalyptic things like that. Ha! See that? I was totally able to work in the original meaning of “apocalypse.” I feel so smart now. Now go forth, minions, and tell everyone they’ve been using the word incorrectly! After you look it up, of course.
Flash overcomes his amnesia and, for some reason, says out loud that he’s the fastest man alive. Without a prompt. It’s awkward, but luckily, Flash is fast and we can move on from that moment at top speed.
Back in Central City…or should I say the air…Patty is flying to Guatemala to solve a cold case. Now, I can’t remember from previous issues, but where did this come from? Is it just totally sudden? Like in this issue, she gets Singh to sign her absence papers and gets on the plane? Or was this set up before? It’s been a while since I’ve checked back on previous issues, so I feel a little lost there. But it’s all redeemed at the tease of…THE WEATHER WIZARD!! Can’t wait!
The Flash #9, the verdict: This has always been an excellent series. The art is spectacular, successfully capturing the movement of the Flash in brilliant moments frozen in time, or in a series of after images that so fluidly show us what it’s like to move at mind-bending speeds. The writing is also good, and that’s a definite positive for someone who’s made a living as an artist. I know that Brian gets writing credit as well, being a writer on the series as well with actual past experience, and I think they’re a great team. We’re slowly building up the Rogues here, and it’s all going to culminate in an incredible Annual issue, I know it.
(Photo Source: SpeedForce.org)