I don’t think we’re appreciative enough of how good The Flash comics look these days. The advancements in color, penciling, and creative design allows this character to look and read like magic. The last issue blew me away as Joshua Williamson revealed a time travel story worth telling, utilizing the ever super-evil Reverse-Flash. In the latest issue, out in comic shops today, Reverse Flash and Barry Allen must team up. You’re either gulping or shaking your head in disbelief. I knew I was, but believe it, as the latest issue reveals the worst of enemies may sometimes need to save the universe.
But seriously, back to the art by Rafa Sandoval and colors by Hi-Fi and Arif Prianto: wow, are they amazing. Rocks and rubble are strewn across the page to start the issue, as Reverse-Flash stands triumphant. He looks downright heroic, even though on the very next double-page splash we see him looking much eviler and trying to keep up with Barry as they zip along. Shading on the character’s muscles adds an extra oomph of dynamic intrigue to the zipping energy flowing around them (especially with inks by Jordi Tarragona), which helps ground an otherwise outlandish concept in reality.
Effects look great, too — there’s a dissembling effect that’s wickedly cool. I’ve never seen it done like this before and it’s so damn good.
This book is written for comic book fans who appreciate deep cuts and references. I won’t spill a single bean here, but Reverse-Flash brings out something that should get fans excited. Williamson has always been great at realizing the history of the character while taking him forward, and he does so again here. This issue also offers up a classic time-travel quandary when it comes to making a decision about changing the past to save the future: Should you stop evil in its tracks, or should you not play God and influence the future? It adds a bit of a philosophical angle to the proceedings.
With all the good out of the way, I will admit the issue does feel like table setting more than anything. It references details we should already know if we read the last issue and it rides the Reverse-Flash and Barry Allen team-up for a bit too long without much advancement. The conclusion certainly leaves us at a place where I have no idea how they’ll manage to not die, but it comes out of nowhere as a bit of deus ex machina which is less than earned. Ah well, it’s superhero comics!
This is a gorgeous looking book with some interesting elements and nice throwbacks for longtime readers. It’s certainly a setup issue, but if you ride the high of the visuals you’ll make it through quickly and painlessly.