The Flash and Superman may be the fastest beings on the planet, but when it comes to where they battle evil, there is no debate. The Flash runs on the ground, and Superman takes to the skies. But when the rest of the Justice League is preoccupied, Barry Allen must find a way to take down an airborne menace. Such is the premise presented to readers by Christos Gage and Neil Googe in this standalone issue.
Neil Googe is no Francis Manapul, but his artwork is still visually pleasing from start to finish. He is able to convey a strong sense of objects in motion throughout the issue, a valuable attribute for this story. Googe’s art is also meticulously detailed, particularly the backgrounds when Barry and Company are not among the clouds. The city of Chicago, in particular, is beautifully rendered during Spitfire’s mid-air escape.
Finally, the characters as rendered under Googe are very expressive. Strikingly large eyes, goofy grins of amusement, and maniacal laughs are present throughout the issue, allowing the reader insight to each character’s personality at any given moment.
In taking on writing duties, Christos Gage does a solid job finding Barry Allen’s voice. When his superiors tell him that the death of a mentor was accidental, Barry looks into it because, in his gut, it’s the right thing to do. That’s exactly who the character is.
The problem with most standalone issues, especially when the writer and artist are on only for that issue, is that they lack a sense of weight or importance to the series as a whole. This is definitely the case here. The aforementioned death is of someone close to Barry, but we have never seen nor heard from this character ever before. By the issue’s end, Barry seems to be over this person’s death, so why should readers even care?
Sal Cipriano’s colors simply do not hold up compared to the series’ previous issues. They suffer from paler shades that the vibrancy Brian Buccellato brought to the title. The Flash’s costume, for example, should be a bright red that pops. Instead, it simply falls flat on the page.
The Flash #26 is a solid, if unspectacular, chapter in the Barry Allen saga. Christos Gage and Neil Googe do a formidable job, and have potential to be the full-time creative team. Unfortunately, this issue suffers from “filleritis,” but overall, it was enjoyable.