FLASH #11 & #12

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[ NAB THAT HOLIDAY BARGAIN
Try shutting your eyes in a darkened room and imagine the following comic book. Go on, do it, and tell me what you see. Do you see Joshua Williamson playing the maracas with his maracas? Do you see Davide Gianfelice walking his unicorn across a sea of treacle? Or better yet, do you see December, 2016, and time for the Flash double-review? Suck it up DC, and get ready for some heavy speeeeeed!

TO QUOTE Desmond Tutu: 'Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness'.

THE REVIEW:
Many years ago, well, maybe one or two years ago, the villain known as The Shade decided to change the error of his ways when he fell in love with a nice lady from Opal City called Hope O'Dare. Problem was, his malevolent powers started to get confused the more he fell in love with her. So much so in fact, that they eventually sucked him down into one of his own trans-dimensional portals, leaving him stranded, all alone, in the barren wasteland labelled the Shadowlands -- a darkly hued kingdom full of sprites, mites, and beasts of all descriptions.

So to get himself out of this mess, The Shade took it upon himself to contact one of his old foes, The Flash. But the problem with this, again, is that he didn't contact The Flash directly, rather he contacted his new sidekick, Kid Flash, who also got sucked down into the Shadowland's care of The Shade's semi-sentient power-set.

Don't worry though, because at the start of issue 11, also known as 'Speed Of Darkness' part two, we see Barry and Iris searching for her young nephew, hoping that they can find him somewhere in the streets of Keystone City. Now by page seven of the book the two of them come across -- yep, you guessed it -- the Shade, and yeah, you can probably guess the rest of it from here on in. Iris and Barry accompany the Shade to the Shadowlands. Iris gets lost. Wally gets found. The Shade tells them both his story. And voilà, cliff-hanger hanged, issue 12 of the Flash, here we come.

OK. So that's the basic story explained, so what did I think of it? Personally, I thought it was a marked improvement on the previous two issues. Primarily I say this because I just loved Davide Gianfelice's cartoonish artwork, as I felt his bold illustrations gave this story some much needed character and pathos. In one scene at the start of the book we see Wally fighting off the shadow people, doing so in what seems like a really overwhelming situation. Thankfully Davide manages to capture the bleakness of this scenario with his pacing and his simple character designs, whilst showing us -- the reader -- what Wally's gumption and determination looks like via his facial expressions and body posture.

Something else I really liked about issue 11 were the questions it inadvertently poses. Questions like, what's Iris West's Flash film script going to be about? Are the Shadowlands the same Shadowlands connected to the heroes Obsidian or Nightshade? And if this is the case, where are they now, and will they be returning anytime soon? Also, as I'm on the subject of returning characters, now that Hope O'Dare has made her Rebirth debut, will any other character from James Robinson's Starman series show up, either here or in another book?

Unfortunately none of these questions get answered in issue 12 of the Flash. But never mind, what we get instead is a pretty decent resolution to a pretty decent three part tale.

Now at the end of the previous issue it was revealed that Iris and Hope have both been possessed by the Shade's power (issue 11), and now (issue 12), Barry, Wally, and the dark one himself have to fight off their minions so they can save their loved ones, before magically making their way back home again. But can they do this? Would it be possible for Barry and Wally to expunge the darkness with their super-speed light? Or for that matter, would the Shade be able to repel the darkness within him which is now without?

Hmmm... what do you think? Issue 13 is coming out next month, so yeah, certain matters do get resolved through the course of this episode, all thanks to Wally and Barry coming to terms with certain, quote, unquote, trust issues. But that said, what I loved even more about issue 12, once again, was Davide Gianfelice's cartoonish artwork, as well as the way Wally kept on guessing Barry's real name throughout their ordeal together. That was very funny I thought, very Martin and Lewis, as it was his way of trying to trick Barry into telling him his real name. Something else that also got me in a tizz was something the Shade insinuated at the end of the book.

For fairly obvious reasons I can't directly tell you what he says for fear of spoilers. Yet what I can do is imply his insinuation during my conclusion. But in the meantime, all in all I have to say that these were two very good issues of the Flash. The art was great, the back-story gave it some more girth, plus the characterizations were spot on. Please keep up the good work, guys, and Happy Holidays. 

THE MUSIC:
As I was reading that scene in issue 11 where both Barry and Iris were talking about her Flash film script, suddenly, and for fairly obvious reasons, my mind shifted gear and I started to wonder what theme tune this movie might possess. Maybe something like this perhaps?




Well, she did say it was going to be a horror movie! Plus it does also fit into the theme of this current story-line. Boooo!

THE COMPARISON:
I'd like to compare this month's adventure with going to a theatre and watching a film. Although a lot of it happens during the cover of darkness, when the light finally comes out to play it always seems to hurt my eyes, Ha!

THE CONCLUSION:
As I said up above, near the end of issue 12 The Shade insinuates something to Barry, something along the lines that both he and Iris might possibly be husband and wife (Rebirth Redux?). So taking this into account, can you guess what Barry asks Iris at the end of the book? Could it be...

  1. To wear something more revealing the next time they meet.
  2. To slap him in the face as hard as she can.
  3. To not be angry with him because he's the Flash.
  4. To show him her movie script.
  5. To take a look at his genitals.
  6. To get married.
  7. To go out on a date with him.
  8. To give him a blow.... errr...  
Nuff said.

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