Comic Book Review: The Flash #32
It has been some time since the last issue I read of The Flash (Issue #27). It was without a doubt one of the lowest points for Barry Allen when he had lost Iris. Wally was hospitalized, and of course he himself was left with this negative twist to his powers. Figured there wasn’t too much harming jumping in here and seeing if the story was welcoming to someone who is not fully caught up on recent events.
As I expected from the first page this story arc is welcoming to someone who is not up to date on what has happened so far. That is the one thing I appreciate about Joshua Williamson as the writer for this book. He recognizes that in some way at the star we need that quick recap of what is going on. Part of me thinks this is the influence from the CW shows, though it works and I do think that more superhero books should follow the same style. That said, it was interesting to see that after the time passed since the last issue I read he was still stuck with the negative Speed Force powers. More so that we have reached this point where he’s had those powers long enough that he has moved towards adjusting to what he is now capable of for better or for worse. Looking at the cover I also had to wonder why Barry would be involved with Iron Heights. The truth to that also a bit shocking since you want to know how bad he could have screwed up to have to work there. I felt like it could have used an explanation, though I guess you could chalk that up to the usual screw-up by Barry in his real life.
This issue served also as a new introduction to Iron Heights that shifted the tone of the story pretty quick. Iron Heights just from this perspective made Belle Reve look like a walk in the park. My only criticism is how a lot of the villains seen here are still in costume. I can’t quite understand how you imprison a villain and not strip them of the costume that still technically gives them power in their heads, their explanation aside. What redeemed this part a bit was Barry’s own perspective of the prison. You couldn’t tell if it was the negative Speed Force talking, though he had a point you wish more heroes did about villains and who they are at the core. Some tension will spark from this and that may be needed down the road.
Despite everything going on, I’m glad that Williamson has kept Kid Flash as a main character for the book.I remember some time ago when there would be some readers criticizing the book for making him relevant, though Flash isn’t exactly one of those heroes who can really carry his own story. As I’ve said before about this book, some of the main appeal is the supporting cast and how they interact with Flash. With that said, Wally makes things fun when it comes to being a speedster. He can do things with these powers that Barry wouldn’t think outside the box to do. I’m sure that some of the things he does only he can do as well. He simply brings a level of excitement that you can only get when you aren’t too caught up in your own personal drama and first world problems.
The art teams for The Flash may never be consistent, but credit is given that some of the artists are great choices. For this issue that would be Christian Duce on pencils and Ivan Plascencia on colors. Christian Duce comes in with a clean style to his pencils, heavy on the point which does make easier as well. A solid grasp of anatomy to his character drawings, tense expressions to add emphasis to the tone of the story, and fluent actions. Surprisingly there is some good use of perspective as well that works when used with speedsters. While on that topic you could even see the changes in Barry through his style of fighting when the Flash. This isn’t the first time that Ivan Plascencia has been on colors for The Flash and he is one of the most fitting for the bold and explosive colors he adds to the art. That first page pulls you in because of the colors he uses to style the background while making Flash and Kid Flash pop. The color choice for Flash catches your eye since it is like looking at a different character altogether. A darker red for his costume, his lightning runs black around his body, and even his skin turns a pale shade of grey. As for everything else he has a good sense of depth and range to his colors whether it is dealing with skin tones, skin/material textures, atmosphere, and various lighting effects.
The Flash #32 felt like stepping into a different world altogether, yet in a good way. This creative team doesn’t play it safe which is something to appreciate when looking for every new arc to be refreshing compared to the last. New powers to explore, new dynamics, more problems, and a treat at the end to anyone who was onboard for the Godspeed story arc.