After four years and 101 issues, Joshua Williamson’s grand Flash epic has come to a close. Regardless of one’s feelings on his tenure, one cannot deny the incredible talent it takes to weave such a spanning narrative that many have grown to love. Last month, issue #762 brought all Williamson’s narrative and thematic beats to a head and left The Flash in prime condition for a fresh start. Now, hot off the heels of “Finish Line,” enter writer Kevin Shinick and artist Clayton Henry to deliver their new direction for the titular character.
We pick up the story with Barry and Iris enjoying a relaxing day off. However, things quickly take a turn when Barry realizes he has lost his Flash ring. From here, the central narrative revolves around the secret history of Barry’s ring and what it means to him personally. It’s a solid hook for a one-off story that provides fun moments with the treacherous Trickster while also adding a heartfelt tinge to the overall narrative.
When it comes to the writing and pacing, the issue is rather average. Shinick delivers a solid cohesive narrative, but not one that is going to turn heads or anything. The story is rather generic in its stakes and does not deliver anything grand or game changing. However, unlike a lot of ongoing series, this issue delivers a full story in its allotted 22 pages. Many series nowadays tend to decompress basic stories across two or three issues at a time, but the strength of this issue lies in its presentation of a complete narrative.
The major selling point of this issue in terms of its writing is definitely the fresh voice Shinick brings to the table. As mentioned earlier, readers have had the same voice for The Flash and his supporting characters for the past four years, so a change in writer obviously leads to a different style. Here, Shinick’s writing shines — he captures the lighthearted tone of Barry while also giving his villains their exaggerated bravado. This leads to the book reading both familiar yet distinct.
The art team is the major highlight of the issue. Henry’s depictions of The Flash and his rogues are clean and crisp. His style has an almost animated quality to it that lends movement and weight to the characters. Henry’s style is then brought to life by Marcelo Maiolo’s coloring — vibrant reds and yellows streak across the pages as the Flash runs throughout the city. The coloring here really makes it seem like the Scarlett Speedster is flying off the pages. Henry and Maiolo’s pairing works great here and offers a fresh look to the book.
Taken as a whole, the issue is a solid starting place for readers wanting to hop onto this series. However, do not expect to be blown away by anything here. The issue does not try anything new in regards to pacing or artistic choices, but that is not necessarily a bad thing in this particular case. The previous run had consistently drastic ramifications for the Flash and his family of speedsters and operated on a grand scale across time and space. As a direct follow up to this style of epic, this issue brings the series back to a simpler time where The Flash must confront his regular rogues gallery. This choice leaves one with a rather standard but necessary story that offers some breathing room for the characters.
Altogether, The Flash #763 delivers a solid start for the new team of Shinick and Henry. While largely a skippable issue, the art team, cohesive narrative, and fresh voice make it worthwhile for Flash fans both old and new.
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