Review: The Flash #34

THE FLASH #34 by Robert Venditti & Van Jensen, art by Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund and color by Andrew Dalhouse packs a lot of punches, I just wish I could feel them.

I have never been truly engrossed in the The Flash mythos. I know all about it. But something has never quite clicked, particularly Barry Allen. Wally had the advantage of having superpowered children and a generally lighter tone. What I had seen of the gorgeous Manapul run on The Flash, I had liked. Dynamic. Flowing. Pretty. If Superman works best in bright Fleicheresque primaries and pastels (and it does) to me The Flash requires one step more towards the side of cartoony and energizing.

Flash gets attacked by James Jameson, wait what?
Flash gets attacked by James Jameson, wait what?

Barry thwarts Detective Seborn and whilst in battle, something with the Speedforce is going wrong: Barry wasn’t able to phase through projectiles completely, and ends with more or less quills in his arm. In the future, Barry as this electric blue (*coughSupermancough*) Flash is still out to try to fix the timeline for Wally and hunting down Daniel, another speedster.

DC’s insistence on dumping Barry with so much Batman-style guilt and drama, not only causing a fervor to “atone” in a pseudo-religious manner that screams martyr is just, so not what I’m interested in. The initial Manapul drawn run will be a remembered example of gorgeous art and good story syncing into one. This current run is not so offensive that it is unreadable, but Venditti and Jensen sadly really don’t give it that extra oomph to make it memorable or classic. It’s standard, sometimes dynamic but overall boring, usual superhero “stuff”.

One of the better pages. If you'd just try Booth, god.
One of the better pages. If you’d just try Booth, god.


I do like Patty. I do like…the coloring? Dalhouse gives a good look to many scenes and makes the yellow lighting pattern that surrounds Barry as he runs glow nicely. I’m, not, however fond of his coloring of skin tones. A lot of colorists need to learn tones and values in peoples faces; a lot of modern comics with current coloring have “putty-ish” skintones for people and it always looks wrong to me. This does not say Dalhouse does not deliver here, rather, it’s just a trend I’ve noticed. It’s one that’s plagued Gail Simone’s Batgirl.

Actually, and while his art is more of a negative, Brett Booth infuriates me because in a lot of ways he is a good artist but has also gotten stuck to a certain look and hasn’t grown much.  The use of Captain Cold’s ice/snow ray in this issue is actually pretty artful. Some of his paneling is very, very nice and dynamic.  It’s too bad he can’t really draw people.


Hello Booth. We gotta talk. Please. I’d like you to try drawing people from life. This issue wasn’t so bad (it actually was rather good which is why I get so mad at you). But, overall the bad faces and eyes, the pinched or really tooth-filled wide mouths, strangely buff people that probably would not be that buff in real life. Please just go look at a modern fashion magazine. Look at the ways clothes fit and current cuts. Look at the hair. Booth’s overall look when it comes to fashion on people runs from inoffensive/nondescript almost non-fashion to screaming 80s, 90s to early 00s. It’s dated and it’s not a good look. What did you do to Iris?

Another great page. Why can't the rest be this good?
Another great page. Why can’t the rest be this good?

It may have worked once but he really needs to grow because soon really fresh modern art as on Gotham Academy will soon displace you.

Additionally on the writing side, I’m really not here for Barry being the grim “Blue Flash” trying to atone or fix Wally’s apparent death in the future. I don’t like “Saint” Barry trying to atone for sins. We have Batman doing his “Crusade” already. We don’t need other characters doing the same.

Also, Wally, having been racebent to being African-American or at the least I can infer mixed but non-passing is another problem spot. You write him as a kid who is starting to get in trouble with the law and has a chip on his shoulder. This new origin story and new personality appearing with his new race is suspect. Which came first? Did you write this because he is black? Would they had done this storyline more or less the same had they kept him being white? Because that’s…really bad if in their choice to bring him back as black dictated the resulting story. Super awful, stereotypical, and racist.

Back to art, I do appreciate the freckles on Wally, but why not him also having red hair too? Because hey, it’s way possible him to have all three and still be black. Just saying.


I really am not digging the tone of this version of The Flash, but I can’t deny that compared to other books this is still an okay product that will still most likely satisfy the casual comic book reader. I’m just looking for fresher ideas, and you’d think the book with the guy who can run so fast he can hop through time could deliver those with ease. But it’s not currently there (something Barry apparently has a problem with, so maybe this fits more than I think.)