THE FLASH #2 by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul
If you’re not reading Geoff Johns’s new monthly Flash series, you’re definitely in the slow lane. Johns has hit the ground running in this one. Building off the events in the Rebirth mini-series, Johns continues to amaze me with his worldbuilding skills and characters.
I like this new Barry Allen because his forensic work as a police scientist is getting showcased more than ever before. But all of this is done while providing the same light-hearted, thought provoking style that is so reminiscent of the Flash stories I grew up with. As with the Green Lantern series, Johns is mining the bedrock of the characters and the strip, and he’s doing it with gusto.
The whole idea of the Flash being arrested by the 25th century Reverse-Flash Task Force for killing Mirror Monarch (something Flash hasn’t yet done in our present-day time stream) is just plain fun. The Rogues Gallery has always been an important aspect of the Flash, and to know that they exist — except as a police force, maybe — in the future is a hoot.
I’m starting to warm up to Francis Manapul’s pencils. My heart still belongs to Ethan Van Sciver, but Manapul is so far able to keep up with the monthly schedule of the book. But as I flip back through the issue, I realize that Manapul is bringing a lot more FUN to the character and story than Van Sciver did. Of course, some of that might just be the story because this tale is a whole light lighter than that mini-series.
Manapul’s breakdowns on the action sequences are delightful. From the Flash seizing the one snowflake that is the source of the Weather Warlock’s winter onslaught to rebuilding the destroyed apartment building, the panels crackle with energy and momentum. Geoff Johns is smart enough and clever enough to let the art tell the story at times, and the pages shine without word balloons interrupting the flow.
I’m really enjoying Barry’s new, improved, and deeper relationship with Iris as well. The two still maintain some of the ease and comfort of the old Flash story, but the bond between them is strong and balanced. Iris also holds her own in the intelligence arena, and she isn’t afraid to voice her thoughts.
The story arc featuring Captain Boomerang, newly returned from the dead as a result of Blackest Night, is intriguing. I don’t know why he’s getting so much grief from the other Rogues, and I don’t have a clue why he was brought back. Yet. I’m certain Johns has plans for the character other than simply being able to use whacky boomerang weapons.
In this issue, a new story arc starts up that involves a woman trying to get help from the forensic department to get her son out of prison. One of the shticks throughout the Flash series is that the Fastest Man Alive is always late wherever he goes. Stopping to hear the woman out about her son shows exactly why that is. Flash may be able to run around the globe in seconds, but he cares enough to stop and listen to individuals. I like the way Johns builds this facet into his story, and I can’t wait to see what the author does with this story.
I’m also enjoying the way Barry Allen isn’t getting along with the rest of the forensic department. Not having any help working on cases is another reason Barry is always late. I like the conflict and the drama.
The end of this issue is a definite cliffhanger. Now Barry Allen and the Flash are being hunted in their respective worlds. This story is filled with twists and turns, and as every runner knows, those are the danger areas.