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He Was Framed!

June 19, 2010

So, the Flash killed someone.  And the Renegades, the future versions of the Rogues (Professor Zoom is evil, so they’re good) are here in our time to arrest him.  Huh.  So Flash #2 starts out with the Captain Cold analogue trapping Barry in a blizzard.  But Barry singles out the one snowflake that started the blizzard and escapes.  Then, when the Trickster analogue sends some kind of smart cuffs after him, he tricks the cuffs into grabbing the Weather Wizard analogue, and a discharge from his wand sends them all back to their own time.  However, the shockwave makes a nearby building start to collapse, so Barry saves everyone from inside.  Then, when the residents wonder where they’re going to live, he runs to the library, researches building an apartment building, and then constructs a new, nicer one, while having the time to find a girl’s doll.  Later, he talks to Iris and explains to her the situation with the Renegades.  She figures that Zoom might be framing him, and he wonders if that could be right.  In Iron Heights Penitentiary, the guards beat up Captain Boomerang so that they have an excuse to examine him, wondering why he got brought back to life.  However, Captain Cold freezes them with the help of Mirror Master.  He tells Boomerang that he can rejoin the Rogues if he breaks himself out of prison and puts the pressure on the Flash.  Then, more prison guards arrive and beat him up some more.  Barry returns to the precinct, and a detective hands him one of the Renegades’ badges.  Barry hears a woman telling the police about her son, who she swears is innocent of killing someone.  He agrees to look into the case, but when he does, the head of his department, David Singh, tells him to put away the case.  Barry accuses him of not caring about his job, and a fight begins to start when James Forrest gives them the results of a DNA match of blood on the Mirror Master analogue’s glove.  The blood is Barry’s.

Well, I’m not really sure how Barry’s going to get out of this.  Between the blood and the testimony of the Renegades, it seems like he’s the perp.  Of course, we’ll probably find out that it’s more complicated than that.  Like that he was involved in the guy’s murder in that he was there, but that he wasn’t the actual murderer.  Or something like that.  But Geoff Johns is definitely laying on the tension with that cliffhanger.  I also liked the brief scene with Captain Boomerang, especially since it’s more of Johns on the Rogues.  Nobody gets the Rogues better.  Unfortunately, while a lot of this issue is extremely charming, I’m still not really feeling this book or Barry Allen.  Barry almost just seems like some kind of generic good person with a strong belief in justice.  The main distinguishing features are his looks and his powers rather than his personality.  Again, while the book is charming, it can’t rely on that forever.  Any story relies largely on the strength of its main character, and Johns is really going to have to work harder with Barry to get me to be emotionally invested in him.  Half of the charm of the issue is also Francis Manapul’s pencils.  They’re really… cute, for lack of a better word, and they fit this book perfectly, considering its generally lighter tone.  My only complaint is that, in terms of perspective, characters who are far away look really blurry, and in one case, they aren’t even finished.  While you can’t expect artists to always draw in the little details of a guy’s face when he’s really far away, I think this stylistic choice is a bit much.  In one panel when Barry’s talking to the old woman, you even see some of the sketch lines of some of the characters’ body frames.  So I am still interested in this book, especially since it’s a Johns work.  But this is not his best, and I really hope that he steps his game up to give us a reason to love Barry Allen.  And I hope likewise Manapul steps his game up, since as his closeups show, he really is quite a good artist.

Plot: 8.6      Art: 8.9      Dialogue: 8.8      Overall: 8.5

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