Barry’s been stripped of his powers and thrust back in time with the Reverse Flash! It’s Manapul and Buccellato’s swan song in this final chapter of “Reverse”!
The creative team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato is one of the few remaining ones from the launch of the New 52. November solicitations show The Flash’ s “Zero Year” tie-in is written solely by Buccellato and will feature art by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story, making this the final issue of the Manapul/Buccellato Flash era. Is the final chapter of their “Reverse” arc a perfect capper to their run? Or does it fall flat?
Unsurprisingly, the artwork is top notch. As the issue starts, the reader is greeted by another inventive title sequence that has been the staple of this series since the beginning. Manapul is fully dialed in, as each turn of the page reveals a gorgeous splash or double-page spread that would look great on anyone’s wall. A feast for the eyes, the layouts never compromise the story being told, which can be a pitfall for less capable artists. Manapul’s art is perfectly complemented by Buccellato’s color palette.
As gorgeous as the artwork is, the script might even be better. The biggest problem with Flashpoint was that Barry screwed around with the time-stream for selfish reasons. Here, there is a moment where the writing team seems to be poking fun at that while maintaining the gravitas and poignancy that the situation demands. It’s this same moment where the Barry Allen that the writers have been building up from issue one becomes fully formed. Proving heroism relies on more than just physicality, the victory is won because of Barry’s brain, not brawn. From there, the script is a symphony of words that interact wonderfully with aforementioned art as the issue comes to a close.
Those expecting a big, physical battle may be let down. Also, because of all of the splash pages and double-page spreads, the issue is a fairly quick read. But given who the title character is, shouldn’t it be?
Manapul and Buccellato have ended their run on The Flash on a higher note than expected. The final showdown with Reverse Flash along with interactions with Iris and Patty made this one of the most complete and satisfying reads of their time on the title. The issue ends very much as issue one began, moving forward without looking back.