Review: The Flash #4

Published on July 31st, 2010

The new Flash series by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul is only up to issue four and already it’s one of the books I look forward to the most every month.  The reintroduction of Barry Allen into the modern DC Universe has been done flawlessly.  They’ve shown how he’s a man truly out of time who is unfamiliar with modern life.  They have also made a point of showing that Barry and Iris aren’t jumping right back into their old relationship, they’re taking things slow which seems very natural.

Issue four continues the first story arc of the new series, “The Dastardly Death of The Rogues” in which a group of “Reverse Rogues” from the future who are kind of like time police (get it?  Reverse Flash of the future is evil and the Reverse Rogues are good) who refer to themselves as the Renegades have come back in time to arrest Barry Allen for the future murder of their version of Mirror Master, Mirror Monarch.

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Last issue showed Captain Boomerang developing the ability to generate explosive energy boomerangs presumably as a result of his resurrection in Blackest Night.  He then makes his way to Central City where Barry is fighting the Renegades.  In issue four Boomerang tries to attack Barry but, realizing that Barry’s too fast for boomerangs, Boomerang decides to use the public against Flash and throws a couple boomerangs at a police helicopter.  What follows is a really cool example of Flash’s super speed but also some of the most incredible art I’ve seen in a comic book before thanks to Mr. Manapul.  Flash has to run up the side of a building, jump from the building to the falling helicopter and then run across the rotors of the helicopter to jump inside and save the pilots.  All of this takes place in the blink of an eye mind you.

The Renegade version of the Top feels bad for Barry, seeing that he isn’t a common murderer after he saves the people in the helicopter.  Top decides to go against his orders and tells Flash what he’s going to do that leads to him murdering Mirror Monarch.  It turns out that the original Mirror Master, Sam Scudder, developed a gateway to the “Nexus of Mirror Worlds” and when broken it’ll release all of the “Mirror Lords.”  One of them will possess Barry’s wife Iris and the only way to free her mind is to close the gateway.  Unfortunately the only way to close it is to kill the person who shattered it, in this case the current Mirror Master Evan McCulloch.  Barry will mistakenly kill Mirror Monarch from the future and the Renegades will be sent after Flash.  The issue ends with the Top telling Barry the only way to stop all of it is to attack the current Rogues before they can shatter the gateway and then cuts to the Rogues preparing to do just that.

This book is so good.  I really recommend it to anyone who thinks they’d like to get into Flash.  Issue one is a great jumping on point and the series so far has been pretty good at easing you into the history of Barry Allen.  Plus, Manapul’s art is really incredible.  What he does (and please correct me if I’m wrong about any of this Francis) is he pencils his characters in and then paints in the backgrounds with watercolor.  It’s really breathtaking in some of the bigger splash pages, like the one to the left.  I wanted to post the big double page splash of Flash running across the helicopter rotors but my scanner’s too damn small.  I just hope that in the following story arc they’ll come up with some new, more challenging villains for Barry because at the end of the day I’m not a huge fan of the Rogues.

Ian Candish

Ian@Comicimpact.com