The Flash #20 Review: Reverse

by Daniel Gehen
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Flash #20 is the perfect jumping on point to start reading Flash. Click the jump to see more.

Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul’s run on The Flash has been one of the most consistent books since the start of the New 52, and this issue is a perfect jumping on point. We’re shown that things are finally beginning to stabilize in Barry Allen’s life. His relationship with Patti is going very well and he has his old job back (sort of). While his personal life is going well, Barry’s life in tights is starting to take some hits. Two of his acquaintances are murdered, while a third is on the run, claiming to fear for his life. While Barry doesn’t know who the killer is, the reader certainly does. Ultimately, the question is “Who is the Reverse Flash?”

The Flash 20a


Buccellato and Manapul return to full art duty to start the “Reverse” arc, and they do not disappoint. I absolutely love Manapul’s style. Most people think that the distinct look of the book is due to Buccellato using watercolors, but in actuality, it’s due to a penciling technique call “inkwashing” that Manapul uses. And it is gorgeous. This is not to shortchange the work Buccellato does. His colors are vibrant and mesh well with the pencils to convey a sense of speed – which is exactly what you need with The Flash.

The Flash 20cI’ve always felt that Barry Allen stories should be “CSI with Superheroes,” and that looks to be what this arc will deliver. It makes sense, with Barry working in a crime lab, that his character would be investigating crimes in Central City, just with a little more “flash” (pun definitely intended). We see him questioning people and looking at evidence. He’s taking his day job very seriously, which is something often overlooked in DC’s titles. Barry is using the Flash identity to as a tool in his investigation, but he is not married to the suit the way Batman is. Seeing a DC character that’s comfortable in his skin is very refreshing and enjoyable, especially in the angst-driven New 52.

I really enjoyed how Barry’s relationship with Patti was portrayed. Barry and Patti have great chemistry, and their relationship takes several steps forward here. I won’t spoil it, but it’s a great character moment. While many people (including myself) feel that this relationship is destined to fail so that Barry and Iris can get together, I’m really hoping that the current dynamic remains the status quo into the foreseeable future.


I’m a little thrown off by the design of the new Reverse Flash, but since it isn’t Thawne, he shouldn’t be in the “traditional” yellow suit. My only real complaint about this issue is that I have to wait until next month to continue this story.

Verdict – Rating5(5/5)

The Flash 20bThe Flash #20 is a great jumping on point, and captures everything I want out of a Barry Allen story. It delivers detective work, romance, humor and just plain fun. I can’t wait to see how this story unfolds – it looks to have all the makings of a fun ride.

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