Writer: Joshua Williamson
Penciller: Felipe Watanabe
Inker: Oclair Albert
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Steve Wands
The Flash # 10 is the kick off to the Speed of Darkness arc and quite frankly it is a let down after what has been a great Rebirth relaunch. I’m a huge Flash fan. I have been ever since I bought a stack of old Silver Age comics at a used bookstore when I was seven. I was drawn to the simple and clean design of the costume. I loved the power set as it was easy to understand but it led to so many fantastic possibilities as to what one could do with speed. I lost touch with the character during my Marvel focused teen years but found my way back during the Mark Waid run and had been a consistent reader until the New 52 when I fell off of most DC titles.
When I heard about DC Rebirth and it’s Flash centric storyline I was excited, especially with the return of the original Wally West, who had been the Flash for the majority of my comic life. I’d never read Joshua Williamson before but in the nine issues preceding this issue I had been enjoying the book. It’s been entertaining, compelling, action packed, and the art has been consistently good. That being said this issue felt like a step back. Issue #10 is a Kid Flash focused issue as he is still finding his place as the Flash’s protege. But this just isn’t Kid Flash’s day as he struggles to take down a new Rogue, Papercut., who of course has the power over paper. It’s a silly power-set but then most of the members of the Rogues Gallery of the Flash start with ridiculous powers. Kid Flash then disappoints the Flash even further when it is discovered Wally (New 52 Wally) is skipping school to patrol and fight crime. The second half of the book is Wally pouting as he is upset that he let down the Flash, that his Aunt Iris doesn’t understand his desire to be a hero rather then a student, and how he can impress the Flash again after his failure with Papercut. In the hopes of impressing the Flash he races into a conflict with the promised return of the Shade, most famous for his character defining supporting role in James Robinson’s Starman. This character may be named the Shade but he is not my Shade. Granted he is only in a few pages and will probably evolve over the course of the arc but if this issue was meant to get Starman fans excited it did not do it’s job.
I have faith that this arc will rebound. Joshua Williamson seems to have a handle on the character and I’m confident that this book will bounce back. This issue was just boring. Felipe Watanbe is a nice artist but his work doesn’t fit the current dynamic art on the Flash from Carmine Di Giandomenico and Neil Googe. Where those two artist seem born to draw the high octane adventures of the Flash Watanabe is simply serviceable.
Verdict: Not a great issue but stay with this book. Although the Flash has been a highlight of the Rebirth books in my personal opinion this issue was bland and boring. Even the promised guest star from the cover seems to be a case of bait and switch to get the Starman audience but the Shade is hardly in the book and it is not the Shade we know and love. But this book has been highly entertaining and doesn’t deserve to have everyone bail on it over one less then stellar issue.