WARNING – Spoilers may or may not follow. But they might.
Just when you thought they were done, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato join forces once more to tell one final Barry Allen adventure. As the “Zero Year” event stretches beyond the Batman titles, Central City’s newest police scientist is roped in to provide assistance to a Gotham police department in their time of need. The Manapul/Buccellato run has seen its fair share of Flash-firsts, and we get one more in the pages of issue #25.
If it weren’t for the banner across the top of the issue, The Flash #25 wouldn’t be recognizable as a “Zero Year” tie-in, necessarily. The story’s progression actually feels natural, without many forced elements. Barry’s trip to Gotham sees him paired with detectives Harvey Bullock and Spencer Thompson, who educate our protagonist on the harsh realities of a world that operates through varying shades of grey.
What Flash fans (or comic fans in general) will really be excited about is Barry’s introduction to Gotham Gazette intern Iris West. After being ditched by the Gotham detectives, Barry and Iris work together to figure out who is supplying a dangerous, combustible drug, Icarus, to Gotham junkies. The chemistry between these two is electric, providing credence that, despite their current relationship status, they are destined to be together.
Art duties are split between two fantastic artists. Chris Sprouse (Tom Strong, Action Comics) takes the reigns for most of the issue. Given that this is before Barry took a chemical bath with a side of lightning, Sprouse’s style works well with the grounded, street level story at play. The art change near the issue’s climax is a welcome one, as Francis Manapul’s pencils and ink washes grace the pages of The Flash once more. Buccellato provides the colors from start to finish, and the closing pages give the reader a taste of what can be expected on their upcoming run on Detective Comics. Their Gotham is dank and gloomy as it rightfully should be.
Though it provided an opportunity to tell a story in the past, this title did not need to be tied into “Zero Year”. Also, Sprouse’s and Manapul’s styles are very different, which could make the transition jarring for some readers.
For the second month in a row, Manapul and Buccellato give us a satisfying conclusion to their Flash run. Though The Flash #25 does not showcase the character’s trademark skillset, it does show us the strength of Barry Allen lies beyond the red suit.
The Flash #25 is available at your local comic store or digitally on Comixology, iBooks and the Kindle Store.