The Flash #21 Review: Barry, Meet Bart
The Flash pursues Kid Flash across the globe while Reverse Flash claims another victim. Check out our review of The Flash #20 after the jump!
Since the end of the Gorilla Warfare story, The Flash has focused on those affected by their time in the Speed Force. With the deaths of two Speed Force participants, Turbocharger and Marissa, at the hands of a red-clad speedster, Barry chases Kid Flash around the world for answers. Various global landmarks are on display through the lens of Francis Manapul. In this issue’s subplot, we’re given a conversation between Iris and Daniel West that provides more insight into Daniel’s psyche.
The Flash has been blessed with the perfect art team for the character. As the majority of this issue is a global chase featuring two speedsters, Manapul and Buccellato can flex their artistic muscles. From the Lourve in Paris to Sydney and the Sahara, Manapul’s ink washing and kinetic pencil work is gorgeous. Those pencils, combined Buccellato’s impeccable coloring, give the book a water-color look that has been this title’s signature style since issue #1.
Speaking of Buccellato’s coloring, the man knows how to use an abundance of red without it being overwhelming. Despite the abundance of red-clad characters, there is a strong variety in this issue’s color palate that served as a great complement to the pencils.
The conversation between Barry and Bart came across as natural. As someone in their mid (to late) twenties, I’ve had conversations with teenagers that went pretty much like this. It is frustrating beyond reason, and as a result found myself sympathizing with Barry. Conversely, as someone that was at one point a teenager, I can understand Bart’s perspective. Being able to see both perspectives, I was able to connect to the situation better than some younger readers might be able to. On the whole, I found their dialogue engaging. The fact that this exchange is occurring while they’re hitting top speeds makes for an overall entertaining reading experience.
I like the content of the Iris and Daniel subplot, which I’m sure will come into play as the Reverse arc unfolds over the next four issues. However, the placement a coffee shop moment after Barry and Bart’s high speed adventure really harms the pacing of this issue. Those pages really seem to drag on.
As much as I love the art in this issue, I’m not a fan of the way Manapul draws Kid Flash. His eyes seem a little too far apart. Also, it’s not entirely clear what happens at the end of the issue.
Pacing issues aside, The Flash continues to be one of DC’s standout titles. Those complaining that all DC books feel the same should really consider picking up this book. While the tone is more serious than last issue, the entertainment factor remains.