Tag Archives: FLASH

Futures_End_Vol_1-0_Cover-1

ROB PATEY’S FU#$TON OF FUTURES END REVIEWS and SPOILERS 9/24/14

ROB PATEY’S FU#$TON OF FUTURES END REVIEW
Thoughts and Thoughtful Reviews on ARMAGEDDON 2014

Hey there, hi there, ho there FiftyTwoKateers, it’s September again and we all know what that means, some BIG September events, which should not to be confused with the BIG August events that are only tangentially tied to the Passover pass off from the January events that launch the year.

I kid,I kid…sorta. Event is simply a marketing term at this point that really holds the same impact on story as a little thing we once simply called arcs and continuity. Anyone who keeps asking, “where the universal synergies have gone,” are the same stubborn bores who will never drink from the grossly misnamed event troth in some futile battle to take the word back to the past.

So, just chill. This FUTURES END catch-up is not an event summation, merely a state of one arc, five years from now, but started almost forty years from now, but not before we get the exposition about a war between Earth-1 and Earth-2 that I think will be starting very soon from now as FOREVER EVIL collides with FUTURES END…the part that is now.

Futures_End_Vol_1-0_Cover-1FUTURES END 1-19
Writers: Azzarello, Giffen, Jurgens, Lemire
Artists: Zircher, HI-FI

I was at first confused on FUTURES END’S purpose. Need proof? Watch me choke on my piss poor prognostications with this quote from my issue one review:

The D-list gathering is, essentially, the death, dismemberment and disenchantment of every hero festering on the bottom rung of the sales charts. No one is safe, as a neophyte in consciousness Eye begins to rip the DC universe asunder. StormWatch, which I faithfully stayed with much longer than I should have, is blown to smithereens. Green Arrow gets smashed and Firestorm is such a ball of self loathing it’s amazing he can fly without crying uncontrollably. One might think I’m not a fan of this book with this description, but here’s where the schadenfreude kicks in.

WRONG. FUTURES END has been less about making these characters simple paste on the side of a wall; it’s actually making them all kinds of awesome. Grifter and his little psychotic pre-teen ball buster of a sidekick, Fifty-Sue are awesome and hilariously self-aware, and the Firestorm flake-out has actually become a rather complex little dance of power as a now bullying team of left behind Justice Leaguer’s try to keep what little power they have left in their ranks.

As the main title to this universal arc (not event), FUTURES END has been a fun exercise akin plot wise to the 90’s favorite ARMAGEDDON 2001. Its far, but not too far, peeks ahead give us a true voyeuristic look at our heroes legacy versus the romanticized history when timelines are played with too far from now. FUTURES END is also old school JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL sarcastic, with Azzarello keeping the story very grounded in today’s more self-aware comic sensibilities.

FUTURES END seems to not be fucking around with the meaning of literal. Because things are looking mighty bleak in the following FUTURES END solo stories that sit behind the glorious moving covers that when stacked sound like a fat person jogging in corduroys.

So where will our heroes be in the far…ish end of the future?

(For anyone who cares whether I like these books or not, please consider their order to be that barometer)

FUTURES END THIS WEEK 9/24/14

FUTURES END FLASH 1FUTURES END FLASH 1: Come for the amazing Brett Booth art and stay for the moral conundrum, time antics and story payoff delivered by Roberts Venditti and Van Jensen. I was a big naysayer to bringing Barry back after having spent a lifetime with Wallly, but boring personalities aside, the book has always been solid. I was almost of a mind to yell no when Wally was introduced, simply because it felt forced since Barry and Iris weren’t knocking gold winged booties. Bad Optimous, because since the Valiant boys have come in and brought forth a mysterious blue flash from the future the book continues to accelerate in amazing. Five years from now, Blue Flash reveals his true face to Wally and Iris, unfortunately its after he pastes their brother and uncle Daniel, the reverse flash. Blue bails on tomorrow as best as he can considering the speed force time fractures to show up and get pummeled by a silver speeder. Barry facing his killer self, Wally imbued with the speed force finally and an uncertain tomorrow gave this FUTURES END entry my top billing of the week and goosebumps for further issues of FLASH.

Futures-End-Superman-1FUTURES END SUPERMAN 1: With the cat out of the bag already that Billy Batson has been taking up the Supes mantle after Sally Struthers convinced Clark Kent he would be best serves digging for water in a dying continent, I walked into this one with a fair amount of skepticism. Surprises do happen kids because Jurgens wrote the hell out of this confrontation between Lois Lane and Shazam with the hood on her big mouthed reporter lady ways jeopardizing the illusion that Superman is still in action. Weeks’ pencils are superb as the talk is perfectly counterbalanced with a distress call to fight an old foe that eventually leads to a glorious epiphany.

FUTURES END HARLEY QUINN 1FUTURES END HARLEY QUINN 1: The brain child of Palmiotti and Conner has been breaking the 4th wall worse than Christopher Walken reading his cue cards in…well everything. Thankfully direct DC deprecation has been outlawed in the future and only good ole’ innuendo remains. After a raucous Castaway spoof complete with her Wilson, our favorite albino sexpot wanders into an Apocolypto Incan tribe. The cover don’t lie folks, she does run into Mr. J. How did he get hisface back? Shut your whore continuity spewing mouth and enjoy the Joe Versus the Volcano themed fun.

booster-gold-futures-end-1-standard-coverFUTURES END BOOSTER GOLD 1: This would have made it higher on the list if this was 1987 and I knew what the hell Booster Gold was up to right now. I read a ton of DC books, because that has always been my deep dive universe. I love Booster of yore and it was that nostalgia that brought me to imbibe his New 52 life. My sentimental tolerance is thin though, and the new JLI fell flat for me and I think readers by its immediate canceling. Anyway…somehow Booster ended up being jettisoned haphazardly across the time stream like Sam from Quantum Leap. 1800’s Gotham, 31st Century Metropolis and Kamandi end days even. Now, the real surprise is good so I won’t ruin it here, but I can’t bump this up on my pecking order. Sloppy art handoff to a cavalcade of contributors and no context of setting or moment before leaves this title low. Jurgens did fine, but when a guy who reads about 48 of the 52 titles each month goes, “huh?” Something is rotten in Denmark’s editorial department.

FUTURES END’S PAST FEW WEEKS

FUTURES END BATMAN 1: Bruce Wayne is crippled and trying to muster up some gene tech that will let him make multiple Batman’s since the Batkids seem to have delivered lowered expectations, or are in hiding like Tim Drake. An odd juxtaposition to the vehement clone hating he’s showing Ra’s over in BATMAN & ROBIN. It’s also odd considering the events of…

FUTURES END BATGIRL 1: Where Babs has actually gathered a trio of Batgirl power including old favorites like Harper Rowe and Stephanie Brown. Gail Simone’s writing simply shined in the beginning of this issue with a wedding day disaster perpetrated by a certain crazy brother that pushes Babs into full-on Bruce Wayne vengeance mode. Her first step is a very clever double agent move where she learned the tricks of bad guys before delivering a final solution. The only times I really bemoaned the books’ choice were when Babs wore the world’s worst Mexican wrestler outfit after Bane training and then the wretched after school special moment where Babs says she never took venom she simply became a roided out freak. I know, drugs are bad hmmmm, kay? But I have to believe if bulking up was the answer to thwarting crime the bat brain trust would have brought more brawn to the table a while ago.

JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 #1 REVIEW – All Hail the Return of Bwahahaha

justice league 3000 1 coverJUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 #1
Writer: Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Howard Porter
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)

This is definitely one for the generation that could only watch cartoons on Saturday mornings and went to our first school dances in Z. Cavariccis. The original peddlers of Bwahahahaha are back with a JUSTICE LEAGUE that wafts of a time long ago even though the story events take place in a time yet to come.

The post CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS DeMaGiffen JUSTICE LEAGUE still stands as one of the boldest and most revered periods for DC’s top crime fighters. The DC universe had just gone through a very dark time and needed a serious dose of irreverence to refill the depleted well of optimism left in the Anti-Monitor’s wake. Booster Gold, Blue Beetle and eventually a whole group of Europeans showed us that heroes always won and they had a damn good time doing it. The danger DC ran with this direction was the book traversing into unadulterated silliness, but the boys were able to keep the action and danger cranked to 11, so instead of being simply immature our heroes were cavalier and thus inspiring in the face of adversity. The success of this iteration was also imbedded in the fact that the JUSTICE LEAGUE were real flesh and blood characters as opposed to caricatures of heroics. They were also, after some growth, a family, complete with the same emotional turmoil as your own. The JUSTICE LEAGUE simply had to go fight crime after petty squabbles over bathroom time or after a date.

DC tried to recapture some of this magic when the New 52 was launched, but sadly the new JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL simply didn’t resonate. For the longest time I blamed the creators, thinking they had somehow “lost it” between the Reagan and Obama administrations. JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 confirms that nothing was lost by the creators, merely DC decided to launch with too many JL teams before defining their respective purposes in the universe. One needs to introduce a team before they introduce a clandestine team to manage that other unknown team. The formula has been working now in JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA because the universe had time to establish itself and the book also skips the snark.

JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 is not only a salvation for Bwahahaha, but also the 31st century. LEGION was another book that tried to splinter too soon and thus left even the most imbedded DC fans with a collective WTF response to its happenings.

Clones, damn dirty clones. It’s a Sci-Fi truism from Star Wars to now DC. This is not some future generation picking up the mantle of the famed five; Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman. JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 are facsimiles of Hal Jordan, Diana Prince, Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Bruce Wayne and of course Clark Kent. What I found immediately intriguing was the fact they all know they’re clones and kind of despise themselves for it. DeMaGiffen also settle the old debate of nature versus nurture – Clark is lecherous, Diana is rage incarnate, Barry and Hal are whiners, only Bruce still holds to his present day douchiness (though he does it with much less gravel and remorse). Created on planet CADMUS, these five are created to help the universe rebuild from a great cataclysm and fight an ethereal five whoa re mentioned, but never seen. Of course they need to stop tugging at each other’s capes first.

Created on the planet CADMUS, JUSTICE LEAGUE’S creators are as much a part of the story as the Fab Five themselves. Ariel Masters is a scientist on the run from CADMUS and her creations. We don’t know why just yet, but this was probably the most intriguing part of the story. Ariel is the only one who has her shit together and acts like an adult. The clones get a pass, whether you give a pass to the petulant lab assistants that ran Ariel out of the program will depend on how well nostalgia melts the cold cockles of your heart. Terry and Terri are super teen scientists who clearly picked up Ariel’s worked and botched the living shit out of it as we can see from the less than perfect imprinting of the JUSTICE LEAGUE members’ personalities. In fact, they screwed up so badly they have been sarcastically been dubbed the Wonder Twins by the elder scientists (yes, I laughed at this). To correct their mistake it’s now T&T’s job to keep this team in line by acting as their handlers, while they also try to figure out how half of the team’s memories were scrambled during creation.

Humor and a deep imbedding of current lore make it easy to keep turning the pages. I’ll admit the first half of the book left me wondering at times what I was reading since nary a cape appears during the introduction of the scientists, but  DeMaGiffen brings it all together quite wonderfully half way through. For anyone adverse to talky books, take a few deep breaths and no that the action is right around the corner. There are also clues for the clever eye to discern about the current fate of the DC universe in these pages. Hal Jordan doesn’t have a ring, just a shitty cloak that kind of emulates the Lantern’s power. Apparently, the Green Lantern Corps is one the most reviled teams in history. Clark Kent is seen as a vile fiction that should never be uttered (especially not around this new of so Broski Superman). There are other little nuggets, but I don’t want to be the jerk that fills out Highlights magazine and puts it back on the rack. Go have your own fun.

Porter’s art takes a little getting used to since he’s a Scott Kollins light. I like it, but then I tend to lean towards either the utter realistic or utterly avant-garde.

I laughed quite a few times in this book, which is what I expected. I hate to say it, but that’s the brand DeMaGiffen have created for them selves (sorry guys). I’m also wondering what kind of staying power this book will have. As I said earlier, the 31st has been problematic for DC, as have any titles that stray to far from the core of happenings in JUSTICE LEAGUE proper. I’m a fan so far, I just hope there’s enough out there that join me.

I’m Picking Up Good VIBErations – What’s the Frequency Johns?

VIBE 1 COVERVIBE 1

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Pete Woods
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka  Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)

VIBE is an important book. Not just because this interdimensional conduit will be the go-to FLASH buster in the newly formed JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA, aka the real JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK (when you think about their mission). It’s also not because it puts Johns back in his wheelhouse of humanizing his heroes by focusing on the family dynamics that make all of really tick. I’d say  VIBE is most influential in showing us the panels we missed from JUSTICE LEAGUE 2…I mean…5…fuck, you know what I mean…years ago. I’ll also say that Johns dropped a few possible Easter eggs in here that could make VIBE the herald of the long promised opening of the Multiverse. Yes, the last point is utter conjecture on my part, but a girl can dream can’t she.

OK, VIBE, known for most of this issue as Carlos Ramone, is hired as the FLASH buster for Amanda Waller’s new JUSTICE LEAGUE buster JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA. Forgive me, I meant to say appropriate detainment measure in the event Flash requires persuasive assistance in future choices. It’s the least interesting part about Carlos, and it happens at the end of the book. Although, I will say it’s nice to see the naïve view of a team that’s essentially being founded out of cowardice towards change. For the real doings go see my review of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA.

Now, what I liked best was the book’s second virtue – family and genuine every day slices of life before our teeth get kicked in by the fantastic. It’s amazing how pivotal Detroit has become to the New 52, but I’ll allow this geographic narcissism since my first book is coming out soon and it’s set my home town, Philly. First rule of writing, write what you know. Personally I would rather see authenticity through experience than some of the trite clichés writers use about towns they haven’t been to (WE DO MORE THAN EAT CHEESESTEAKS). So once we’re intimate with the location we meet the Brothers Ramone. Good for DC on racial diversity, good for Johns for never turning to stereotypes. Between these guys, Baz and Billy though, I will say we’re having a run on of impoverished characters, but I’ve seen specials on Detroit, so this just might be closer to reality than I care to admit. Anyway, the Brothers Ramone were at ground zero when Darkseid attacked…2…I mean 5…I mean 7…dammnit…years ago. Carlos, his jocular older brother, who will be the salvation of the family by getting into college, and his younger gadfly Brother who just wants to play soccer and mooch are all the first victims of parademon bloodlust. Lil bro hides, big bro dies and Carlos is forever changed by being caught in the wake horizon of a Boom Tube. 5 years later, Carlos is trying to save more money when not phasing out of space time. It was pretty funny watching him work in an appliance store given his affliction for not showing up clearly on camera. These little moments made me care much more about Carlos’ fate when he unleashes his full VIBE awakening  on  the parademon  that killed his Brother.

Speaking of little moments. What Johns did in 4 pages in this issue, I didn’t once feel in the first 12 issues of JUSTICE LEAGUE. This was what we needed to see more of, less posturing and big attacks. I actually would have given JUSTICE LEAGUE, leagues of leeway had it a sister book like this being published in tandem at the same time. But, since other books were in the here and now, I mean then and when, all we got were the broad strokes. VIBE shows us just how much pain Darkseid wrought upon this world. I also would recommend EARTH 2 if you want to see another close intimate portrayal of the Darkseid invasion. It’s a pivotal moment that I always felt deserved more…justice.

Now again, this is mere conjecture on my part, but again I am going to conject. I could have sworn when the A.R.G.U.S. agent was explaining Carlos’ powers he said he exists between dimensions.  I could also have sworn he said that Boom Tubes are interdimensional gateways. I think when Carlos isn’t Flash busting it would be fun to see him traveling the 52 worlds. I don’t read Previews because playing out these scenarios is an important part of the hobby for me. As I understand  things Morrison won’t be doing DC books shortly, and short of getting Warren Ellis on board, it would be nice to see what  Johns and VIBE  can do with the most controversial revelation from FINAL CRISIS.

To say I dig VIBE is an understatement. I’ll admit I don’t love  his  costume, but Woods supported Johns pacing in  spades – to the point it sometimes in  felt like  individual panels were moving. Johns is the type of writer that works best on pages with more panels plain and simple. Woods just says show me where to draw.

Read KATANA and VIBE before you read JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA. No matter what the covers say, trust me.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA 1 REVIEW- Finally a League with PURPOSE!

Justice league of america 1 coverJUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA 1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: David Finch
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool)

Purpose: I’ve asked one thing from the JUSTICE LEAGUE since waaaaayyyyy back in the post FINAL CRISIS days, have a purpose for bringing together a LEAGUE. Back then the blunders were egregious, with the Holy Trinity picking heroes like baseball cards (and this is not hyperbole) to bring together a LEAGUE, because you know…there’s always been a JUSTICE LEAGUE.

Then came the New 52 and with it the promise of salvation. Not only were we getting a JUSTICE LEAGUE, but also a return of the Bwahahaha JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL, a new JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK to handle magic threats, and finally oversight for all heroes in the form of STORMWATCH.

I’ve made my thoughts well known on these titles, but here’s a synopsis. Johns should not create with Lee. Before anyone throws goddamn sales numbers at me I will remind you that the 4th Batman movie was a box office success. People are sheep and marketing easily leads the masses, I know firsthand, I’m in marketing and my soul is one step above lawyers on Satan’s most wanted. When we peeked past the marketing though, the first two arcs of JUSTICE LEAGUE were wafer thin. I have my theories on why, and it basically equates to the fact that Johns is indie film and Lee is big budget and never the tween shall meet. Johns is not your splash page writer and Lee is not a cramped panel artist. Disagree if you like, but I haven’t heard a better theory yet. JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL was less bwahahaha and more just plain awwww, hence why it’s no longer with us. STORMWATCH, don’t even get me started. It has been a mess since day one choking on its own hubris. These folks were supposed to be the ones who watch the WATCHMEN, but since they can’t get shit straight in their own house all we’ve gotten are a bunch of slap fights between Apollo & Midnighter and some kind of shadow council…or shadow puppetry…I’m not sure. I like JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, but part of that adoration lies in the detractors’ claims it doesn’t feel like it’s part of the universe. Fair enough, but at least it’s original.

JUSTICE LEAGUE redeemed itself with Throne of Atlantis, and I believe whole heartedly that JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA will rectify the missteps of the team books that have come before.

Not only does JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA have a purpose, but that purpose is steeped in actual continuity. Its purpose is also right in line with the marketing hype and a stark reflection of the current 99%ers feelings towards the 1% who pull our collective marionette strings. You want to know, “Who watches the WATCHMEN” or in this case the JUSTICE LEAGUE? Then you need look no further than JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA.

JLA _1_5While this is a straight-up introductory tale, Johns does a great job of keeping the book moving without it being a straight up Mickey Mouse roll call. He also builds off the history of the New 52, without making it required reading.  Basically, there’s a pervasive fear in the government and leading the rabblerousing is our own favorite Queen of conspiracy theories, Amanda Waller. Uncle Sam fears the JUSTICE LEAGUES allegiance to the planet at large, and the US of A wants a way to ensure countermeasures should the JUSTICE LEAGUE side with someone other than the Stars & Stripes.

Now since Waller has her hands full with other skullduggery in the DCU, she turns to the Old League liaison Steve Trevor to corral and manage this new group. This leads us to a part of the book that confused me, but still left me enthralled. We’ve always known Waller will manipulate people to get her way, but she takes it to new heights in this book and I can’t tell if her concerns were genuine or simply pushing Steve’s buttons.

The kiss between Superman and Wonder Woman that made a thousand Lois Lane fans spontaneously combust apparently wasn’t only viewed by readers. American satellites caught this precious moment as well and got the think tanks pontificating on the damage these two could cause. We’re not just talking the shockwaves from bumping uglies, but also what could happen if these two could and would actually procreate. Again, Waller is a manipulative little gal, so did she mention this to get Steve to sign-on or was it a genuine concern? Maybe a little of both, but it does push Steve over the edge to go recruit his addition to the team CATWOMAN.

JLA  PAGES 6-7Just in case the purpose was unclear, after we see vignettes of each character as Waller and Steve discuss their place on the team, the issue ends with a direct match on who in the JLA will take down who on the JUSTICE LEAGUE. Some are clear jumps – Baz against Hal, Martian Manhunter against Superman and Catwoman against Batman. The match-up of Vibe against Flash makes sense, but it makes even more sense if you read VIBE 1 this week. But there are a couple I match-ups I question like Hawkman against Aquaman and Katana against Wonder Woman. In one case they could escape each other by going to their natural habitats and in the other case I think simple sword wielding does not make equal class balancing in a fight.

Finch and Johns go together perfectly and even in the heavy talky scenes between Waller and Trevor, the panels were visually engaging.

So, what about GREEN ARROW who is so prominently displayed on the cover, well that dear reader is a mystery that comes with the price of admission. His fate lies squarely in plot that wild rive this first arc forward.

I’d like to walk away with a suggestion for DC. Your team books are finally starting to come together, but your work is far from done. With the creation of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, I know have even less of a reason to read STORMWATCH, which is shame because they are characters I once loved Pre-52. At some point you need to either shit-can STORMWATCH as a the failed experiment it was or actually commit to its place in the DC Universe. Most fans will deride what I’m about to say, but I think the only salvation lies in a cross-over amongst the LEAGUE books and STORMWATCH. “We’re the JUSTICE LEAGUE we’re in charge! Fuck you, were the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and we’re in charge bitches!! Fuck all y’all, we’re STORMWATCH and we’ve been in charge since Jesus was in diapers!!!” I know crossovers are a verboten phrase, but when well-planned and crafted they can once again be as epic as they were initially intended to be.

FLASH VOLUME 1 MOVE FORWARD REVIEW – Flash Batters Barry’s Boredom

FLASH VOLUME 1 MOVE FORWARD COVERFLASH VOLUME 1 MOVE FORWARD
Writers: Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato
Artist: Francis Manapul
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool news)

“Hi, my name is Rob Patey and I am trapped in amber.” I’m not proud of this statement, and were there a real support group for being a comic curmudgeon I would sign-up today!

Like most Gen Xers my FLASH loyalties have always been firmly embedded in the alliterated joy that is Wally West. However, I remember a generation ago when I would listen to the comic collectors who are now collecting Medicaid lamenting the loss of some bow-tie wearing square named Barry Allen. To me, BA was just some cannon fodder in my first Superhero comic off the spinner rack called CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. Move on I thought to myself…anyone named Barry is doomed for the history books.

Time is a bitch, my dearest Wally is gone and we don’t have any fucking flying cars. And instead of a new FLASH, Barry was able to once again be an agent of resetting existence and at the same time get a cosmic Botox of rejuvenation for himself and all the ladies in his life.  New 52 took my Wally, conjured my childhood memories of middle-age losers bemoaning the state of comics, and brought back the Wally Cleaver of characters sans new sensibilities because he was trapped in the cosmic amber of the speedforce.

It was with this righteous indignation that I read the first part of FLASH VOLUME 1 over a year ago. With such bile clouding my eyes, this book never stood a chance. I was a victim of remember when and no matter how cool the overarching story was, no matter how pretty Mr. Manapul’s panels moved with seeming FLASH like grace across the page, and no matter how cool Barry’s new power of moving thoughts  courtesy of the Speedforce to give him a Midnighter like clairvoyance all were…I…would…not…relent.

Pride and an unwillingness to change basically made me an epic fail as a reviewer. With all the DC coverage I do this scarlet blind spot is unforgiveable. FLASH is a damn exciting book that’ll singe your fingers it moves so fast. All of this is thanks to the plot and Manapaul’s  prowess for intelligent and dynamic panel placement.

FLASH is a great read. Barry is still boring as shit, but this is a great book and I would say the ladies of his life, Iris West and Patty Spivot,  serve as able crutches to the impediment that is Barry’s lack of personality.   I get it, it’s part of the point and playful juxtaposition that such a yawn of a human  being can transform into such an exciting superhero – and don’t get me wrong the moments when  he’s FLASH are epically heroic throughout every issue in  this trade, but  Barry in his personal life makes me want to put a gun in  my mouth so time will end. I really don’t care about children so I shouldn’t worry about them, but I would be hard pressed to find a kid that  can relate to Barry like I did as a child to an adult Wally West. Wally had a playfulness that made him one of those cool adults. Barry is your uncle who drinks Scotch, smokes a pipe and wants to know your serious thoughts on  politics during the  holidays. He’s young again, but he seems really old in context of today’s sensibilities.

While I can’t help my exercise in Barry bashing, I really did like this first half year of FLASH.  It was chalk full of nerdy Sci—Fakery that tweaks the nethers for those of us who consume as much STAR TREK as we do comics. Barry’s first nemesis in the new 52 was the multiplying menace Mob Rule. There’s a nice little backstory between he and Barry, that while doing nothing to make Barry interesting, does build empathy for this new villain, leaving  you glad that there’s promise for more stories tomorrow. This is also when we’re introduced to Barry’s new ability to see the future by fueling his mind with the Speed Force, there’s a wonderful moment of hubris when it backfires on him too. The second arc with the Rogue’s gallery and Captain Cold is a wonderful exercise of restraint since Barry has to stay below 80% power to keep from pulling things out of the  time stream and plunking them at random around the Gem Cities. Finally there’s a LOL nod to the Cosmic Treadmill courtesy of Barry and his pal/power discoverer and explainer Dr. Elias. Barry was funny once…once.

The first arc also focuses on setting up the love triangle between Patty, Barry and Iris. It’s jarring at first for old FLASH fans, but the interplay between the  three as Iris looks to write a smear piece on the scarlet speedster was fun and really the only time Barry stated to show the inkling of a personality. From a characterization standpoint these ladies seal the show and it’s intriguing to watch whether history will ultimately repeat itself and Barry dumps Patty to marry Iris.

VOLUME 1 leaves things cliff—hanging with fan favorite Gorilla Grodd. Since all of this is happening in the far past, let me know in the Talkbacks or email machine whether this was any good. And when I say good I want it to be  FLASHPOINT One-Shot Grodd good.

Final analysis; hate Barry, but damn it my comic reading simply isn’t complete without FLASH staples in  the mix and JUSTICE LEAGUE just ain’t cutting it. Give Barry a chance, he makes a great Flash even though the man is about as dynamic as Steven Wright on cough syrup.