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The Dark Future

August 8, 2010

The Flash #4 continues the tale of the returned Barry Allen, as well as that of the original Captain Boomerang.  The Rogues watch the news report about Boomerang’s arrival in the middle of Central City.  Boomerang wants his life back, and he hits a nearby helicopter with his new explosive boomerangs to make the Flash run.  However, Flash manages to break out of the cuffs, rescue the two people inside the helicopter, and get them out before it crashes.  The Renegades cannot stop Boomerang, since their jurisdiction doesn’t include people from anyone but their time, but they try to get him to stop.  However, he’s skilled enough that he nearly takes them all out with his boomerangs.  The Flash catches them and tosses them away in time and asks the Renegades for help stopping Boomerang.  The Top analogue, however, cannot stand by and watch a good man like Flash have his life so completely ruined.  He knocks out the Heatwave analogue and heads towards Flash to warn him about what his future holds.  Flash grabs him but Top explains what he wants to say.  As the guys in the crime lab wonder where the Jason Hicks evidence has gone, Iris West Allen gets knocked into by someone running by her in a rush.  She drops the evidence, but when she picks it back up, she sees something that surprises her in the witness interviews.  The Top analogue explains that when the Rogues shatter the original Mirror Master’s mirror, the Mirror Lords, masters of the mirror dimensions, will be unleashed.  One of them will possess Iris, turning her against him.  And the only way to save her will be to kill the current Mirror Master, the one who opened the gateway.  However, in a panic, as time runs out, Barry will accidentally kill the Rogues’ Mirror Master analogue, losing Iris and tarnishing himself forever.  As the Renegades surround Boomerang and find out about their comrade’s betrayal, the Rogues freeze them all and arrive with the giant mirror, ready for battle.  Then, in a couple of short backups, we’ve got some information on mirrors and on the history of the Mirror Master.

This series is just sadly not living up to what it should be, considering that it is written by Geoff Johns.  It’s possibly the first time my favorite writer has disappointed me.  This issue is certainly the most exciting and electric thus far.  There’s plenty of action, and the plot really does move forward because we finally learn why Barry Allen of all people would kill someone.  Although the reason makes sense, I can’t help but snicker at some of it.  Mirror Lords?  Really?  I mean, some of this series is silly enough, what with boomerang-themed villains and whatnot.  But that just made me kind of go, “Is this still the Silver Age?”  I get that Johns is trying to get a really classic feel with this comic book.  Unfortunately, I dig his darker stuff a lot more than this.  Plus, I still can’t say I’m into Barry Allen as a character.  I still just don’t have much emotional resonance with him, which is surprising, considering Johns’ usual skill with that.  In fact, I continue to be more interested in the Rogues.  That’s really a problem, since although they are important to Flash comic books, they aren’t the center of attention.  Plus, there’s another issue that another review (see here: brought up that I didn’t even think about.  If the Renegades arrested the Flash now, that would prevent the Mirror Master analogue from being killed and thereby change history.  Isn’t that what they’re not supposed to do?  I hope that Johns has some more sinister reasons behind their actions, but considering the general tone of this series, I’m not counting on it.  Francis Manapul’s pencils are absolutely superb in this issue.  Probably the best of the series, as his new technique for indicating when Flash is in super speed (very muted colors for everyone and everything that isn’t moving really fast) works wonders.  Plus, the whole rest of the issue just feels like he spent a bit more time on it.  My only complaint is that one panel with the building with the broken windows and the police and ambulances.  It seemed out of place.  I mean, the issue is still very solid.  But I feel like Johns could be writing so much deeper and more… exciting of a story than this.  I know DC is all about replicating the Silver Age right now, but does that have to go right down to the feel of a comic book?

Plot: 7.4      Art: 9.2      Dialogue: 8.8      Overall: 7.5

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