The Flash # 1
Written by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul
Art by Francis Manapul
Ever since the 1990 The Flash television program starring John Wesley Shipp, I have had an affinity for the character. As a child, my infatuation began simply because I loved the color red. Over the years, though, pre-pubescent attachment morphed into an appreciation of Barry Allen’s dogged dedication to justice and later, Wally West’s sharp tongue. I was enamored with the idea of a character who could run from any danger but instead chose to run towards peril. Over the years I have tried to re-enter the world of the scarlet speedster but I felt daunted by the immense mythology that was required to understand his stories. So, it was with great joy and anticipation that I picked up Brian Buccellato and Francis Manpul’s relaunch of the fastest man alive this week.
Unfortunately, what I got was an uneven book that began clunky and failed to make me care about the costume-less Barry Allen. It is important in an issue one to start strong, but the book’s opening is weighed down by over obvious dialogue about the merits of speed in today’s society (we get it — he’s called The Flash). But beginnings are hard, and could be forgiven except that even though Barry seems like a stand-up guy who is dedicated to finding the truth he also feels stale and one note. I don’t want or need him to be a wise-cracking badass, but I need something to make my time with Allen as enjoyable as with The Flash himself. The book does find its stride when Barry Allen dons the lightning bolts and gets down to being a superhero. My favorite thing about reading scarlet speedster books is the way the artist decides to depict him in motion. Francis Manapul’s art is dynamic, kinetic and makes you feel the speed in every frame. Two standouts to me were a sequence depicting Barry Allen investigating evidence in his apartment and the retro-style splash page that introduces our hero. The latter of which brought a big smile to my face.
I remain hopeful for The Flash, because the final pages of the book finally open up to a bigger and more tantalizing mystery. A mystery that seems to promise not just high speed action but also an investigation into the character and past of Barry Allen. If all goes well the book could become one of my favorites but for now it remains stuck at the starting line.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
You can jump in here with no past knowledge but it will help to have an idea of who Iris is and what The Flash means when he says “I shouldn’t vibrate at that frequency.”
Wait and See- I wanted to love The Flash #1 but I just couldn’t get there. I want to believe it will resolve itself into something engaging but I can’t in good faith recommend issue 1.