REVIEW: THE FLASH VOLUME 4 – REVERSE / AUTHOR: BRIAN BUCCELLATO / ARTIST: FRANCIS MANAPUL / PUBLISHER: DC / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 24TH
The Flash has always been a bit of a fan favourite. The combination of an interesting power set, a well thought out supporting cast and a fun (and often funny) central protagonist has always served the fastest man alive well, and The Flash has survived the recent continuity reset with all the things that make geeks love him. Thanks to the reboot, this is the Barry Allen version of The Flash, though this take on the character is an interesting blend of various versions. This incarnation of Barry is warmer and more interesting, and has a sense of humour that seemed missing from previous incarnations of the hero.
The plot is pretty straightforward: a mysterious power is killing off anyone who taps the speed force, the source of The Flash’s abilities. This gives the narrative an excuse to have The Flash race Kid Flash. Hyper-speed races are one of the reasons we read the book in the first place and this speed duel makes up the centrepiece of the work. It’s fun and clever and exactly the sort of thing regular readers demand.
Buccellato is clearly having a lot of fun managing the expectations of established fans. Those who know The Flash of old will have opinions on exactly what a speed force predator should look like as well as thoughts on how Barry’s love-life changes him. Francis Manapul’s art is very pretty indeed; there’s enough subtlety here to give the reader hints as to what the future holds in store story-wise whilst still being clear and engaging art. Combined with Buccellato’s teasing and playful storytelling style, we get a great blend of Flash goodness.
The book is let down by a lack of pacing, it bunches up at points, making the story stop to catch its breath rather than gathering speed until it hits the finish line. Unlike other DC books in the same series, however, it doesn’t try too hard to be something new, it sticks to the formula that made it classic in the first place and it does this very well.