Following my Green Arrow Vol. 1 write-up, we “move forward” to Flash Vol. 1 on the read list.
Francis Manapul ‑Writer, Artist
Brian Buccellato ‑Writer, Colorist
Published 7 Nov 2012
Collects Flash 1 – 8 (28 Sep 2011 — 25 Apr 2012)
The clean lines and bright colors are fantastic. Everyone looks natural, in and out of costume. For any other character, having the hero run straight forward in the frame might seem like poor staging, but it works for Flash.
The majority of this book is establishing Flash’s situation and an initial conflict with Mob Rule, an old friend. There’s a great quote Flash attributes to his mother which is effectively his philosophy and mission statement:
“Life is locomotion, but there comes a time when you’ve got to stop running away from things and you’ve got to start running towards something. You’ve got to forge ahead. Keep moving. Even if your path isn’t lit, trust that you’ll find your way.”
In the middle of his fight with Mob Rule, an unexplained EMP blast throws a kink in the works. There’s also a jail break at Iron Heights Prison, which sets up Flash’s next conflict with Captain Cold. In the midst of that battle, we find out that Flash’s speed is creating wormholes and he is inadvertently responsible for the previous EMP. At the same time, we see Gorilla Grodd consolidate power at home, possibly foreshadowing Flash’s fight in the next book. The segue from the Mob Rule story to the Captain Cold one is stilted, but I suppose it fits the theme of always moving forward to the next challenge, and the plotlines do come back together when you find out about the EMP connection. Finally, Flash enters the Speed Force through the latest wormhole in order to try to fix this latest disaster when he finds out that Turbine is stuck there and causing the wormholes in an attempt to free himself, whereas Flash is actually a Speed Force release valve to prevent wormholes — a convenient absolution and “fix” to Flash’s inability to use his speed more often.
My biggest issue with this story is it is not clear how long Central City was living in the dark, it could be anywhere from days to months — Patty talks about Barry being gone for a long time, but Lisa Snart probably should have died without life support for that long.
This book introduces Patty Spivot, Dr. Darwin Elias, Iris West, Manuel Lago (Mob Rule), James Forrest, Leonard Snart (Captain Cold), Dr. Guerrero, Rogues, Axel, Bryan, Nathan, Burrell, Captain Darryl Frye, Basilisk, Folded Man, Girder, Tar Pit, Lisa Snart, Roscoe Hynes (Turbine), Hartley Rathaway. Pandora gets her cameo in the crowd outside of the convention center after Mob Rule’s attack. David Singh, introduced in Justice League Vol. 1, is still Barry’s boss. Flash wrangles some equipment from Wayne Enterprises to help disaster relief in Central City. Dr. Darwin Elias is the head of Mercury Labs. Green Lantern mentioned in Justice League Vol. 1 that he helped Flash take down Gorilla Grodd, but this is the first time we see Grodd, and it seems like that conflict has not happened yet.
Next up, Captain Atom Vol. 1.