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Reconnecting With What’s Important

May 13, 2010

     To set up for the brand new Flash series, Geoff Johns, Scott Kolins, Francis Manapul, and Sterling Gates released The Flash: Secret Files and Origins 2010 #1, a who’s who of all the major players in the upcoming series along with a short story to set things up.  In said story, we start off with a flashback to when Barry Allen was a kid, and some bully stole his new shoes.  His mom picked him up in the rain and took him to the comic book store to make him feel better.  But as he hugged her, she disappeared.  Because it was really Barry in the present day having a dream.  It’s past 3:00 A.M., and after that dream, Barry can’t sleep, no matter what he does.  So he gets on his outfit and runs to his derelict old home.  There, he remembers some of the times he spent with his mom, including a great, self-referential comic book moment, as well as when the police had his house cordoned off after her murder.  Jay Garrick arrives and asks Barry what he’s doing there, and Barry explains how strange he feels, since his mother’s death was because of what he would become.  Jay reminds him that his mother would want him to move forward, and that’s what the symbol on his chest means.  Also, he’s not alone.  Just on cue, Wally West, Kid Flash, Impulse, Jesse Quick, and Max Mercury arrive outside the house.  Happy to have people who care about him so much, Barry returns home and goes back to bed.  And only one minute has passed since he woke up.  Elsewhere, the Rogues crash into a glass factory belonging to the original Mirror Master, Sam Scudder.  There, they find a large mirror, with the words “In case the Flash returns break glass” enscribed on them.  This is their contingency plan.  Then, in the files, we get info on Barry, Wally, Jay, Bart, Irey, Jesse, Max, Iris Allen, Keystone City, Central City, Central City’s crime lab, John Fox (an old Flash from the future), Jai West, the Cosmic Treadmill, each of the Rogues, Gorilla Grodd, Abra Kadabra, Dr. Alchemy, Professor Zoom, and Captain Boomerang.

     So, the intention of this issue and the story before it wasn’t just to be some awesome beginning to the new Flash series.  The Flash: Rebirth set up a lot of those plotlines.  This issue is mostly a bridge, showing Barry get over that lingering emotional problem relating to his mother’s murder.  Plus, it gives us all sorts of relevant information about each of the characters who will play a role in the upcoming series.  There’s also all sorts of great hints as to future plots, like for whom Weather Wizard’s wand was originally being made, Dr. Alchemy being at large, what happened to John Fox, etc.  It’s a great setup for the series, and the short story is written rather masterfully by the Flash scribe, Geoff Johns.  Again, it’s not a plot-heavy story; it’s a character-driven piece to get Barry read for his first solo series in decades.  Scott Kolins is still a great, kinetic artist who fits perfectly with the Flash, so it’s too bad that he’s not going to be working with Johns on the main series.  Instead, we get Francis Manapul, who provided the art for some of the character bios.  He’s certainly a more detailed artist than Kolins, so it does make me wonder if he’ll struggle with the Flash the same way that Ethan van Sciver did.  That’s not to say that Manapul and van Sciver have similar artistic styles at all, since Manapul’s art is more – dare I say it, and I don’t mean it in a bad way – cartoony than van Sciver’s.  I know cartoony and detailed don’t necessarily go together, but it’s the best way I can describe Manapul’s style.  Anyway, this issue is a handing of the torch to Manapul, and I hope he can live up to the book’s great artistic legacy.  It’s also too bad that Gates won’t get the chance to write a Kid Flash series.  I hope that idea doesn’t completely fade away into perpetual postponement.  Despite that sad note, I’m excited for the new Flash series, and I can’t wait to see where Johns and Manapul take all these characters.  This is one of the two big new series I’m excited for as a part of Brightest Day, the other being Birds of Prey, so let’s hope it lives up to my and everyone’s expectations (the good ones).

Plot: 8.8      Art: 9.3      Dialogue: 8.7      Overall: 9.0

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