FLASH #13 & #14

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[ OLD SCHOOL SALE ]
Its date night, comic book fans! So come on, let's put on our glad rags and see what Barry Allen gets up to during his date with Iris West. According to Joshua Williamson, Neil Googe, and Carmine Di Giandomenico, DC Comics have something up their sleeve that Barry might not be too pleased about. It's January, 2017, and it's time for the Flash double-review.

TO QUOTE John Steinbeck: 'We spend our time searching for security and hate it when we get it'.

THE REVIEW:
Overall I'd say issue 13 of The Flash was a pretty simple issue to follow. Essentially, Wally West wants to make sure that his Aunt Iris has a stress-free date with Barry Allen, secretly known as the fastest man alive, therefore he takes it upon himself to patrol the streets as Kid Flash. Now to emphasize this point even further, during their date together, in a Chinese restaurant no less, Iris also takes the initiative and gets their waitress to quarantine their phones, so they won't get distracted by any other external force, namely, their work.

The problem with this, however, is that as the date starts to progress, both sides of the story begins to encounter a number of issues. For Wally, it's the fact that Tar Pit, the very hot Flash villain, has robbed a toy store, doing so because he was forced to by the kidnappers of his brother's children. Whilst for Barry and Iris, well, eventually they both come to the realization that they've each put obstacles in the way of their relationship. For instance, Barry has dated a number of women, such as Patty Spivot, Meena Dhawan, and Jessica Cruz (no relation to Penelope), where as Iris has always put her work first, whilst using her encounters with Barry so she can glean from him information relating to certain crimes.

Don't worry though. By the end of issue 13 both parties manage to resolve whatever needs resolving: Be it with a kind word, a slap in the face, or, you know, something else relating to a super-hot super-villain or an even hotter relationship.

Well, let's face it! I'm sure many of us die hard Flash fans have been waiting for the day when Barry and Iris would get back together again. Even though this issue doesn't start off their union on a powerfully emotional note, filled with love, high romance, and that sort of malarkey, what it does do is give it a chance, a shoe in, so eventually they can become the couple they once were. And what is that exactly? Well, I presume that their relationship will develop to be a mixture of their old relationship and their new one, keeping in mind that this sort of thing is at the very heart of Rebirth. But who knows, eh? Time, and if not time, DC Comics, Ha!

Something else about issue 13 I really liked was the way in which Wally West was depicted in it. Given that this version of Wally is a new version of Wally, and should never be compared to his more illustrious predecessor, on the whole I just loved his character, his sassiness, as well as his good natured spirit. In my eyes someone who wants to help someone else, without even considering how it will affect their own safety, is a good person in my book, comic or otherwise, plus it goes to show, that even if his initial introduction was somewhat mumbled, Wally's personality is a positive personality that's starting to shine through.

Funnily enough, while I'm on the topic of 'mumbled introductions', this now brings me quite nicely onto issue 14 of the Flash, also known as part one of Rogues Reloaded. As the title implies, this initial chapter reintroduces the Rogues back into the Flash's world after the events of Rebirth. But the thing is, the way in which it goes about it is rather, well, mumbled to say the least.

In very clear terms the book begins by explaining to us who the Rogues are, what they're relationship is with the Flash, as well as their numerous iterations over the years. Then once that chunk of knowledge has been firmly put in place, we, the readers, are presented with a scenario that I'm not quite sure is relatable as a story in its own right.  

It turns out that a number of z-grade villains, including the laughable Papercut, have decided to band together so they can usurp the Rogues throne while they're away. Obviously the Flash isn't going to allow this to happen, so he quickly takes it upon himself to slap these villains into place before going in search for the Rogues. But, what I want to know is, why bother? Isn't their enough crime in the city for him to busy himself with? And why go looking for these criminals if there is no need to look for them?

Now please don't get me wrong. I got a right kick out of reading this story and I do admire what it's trying to do. It's just that the overall premise seems a little bit skew if, off kilter, almost as if the reintroduction of the Rogues is something DC has to do, just to appease the fans.

That aside, however, on a more positive note I did love following Carmine Di Giandomenico's lavish artwork (and the same can be said about Neil's work over in issue #13). As per usual Carmine manages to construct emotion via his characters faces, while action, pathos, and fun is expressed via his background work and dynamic poses. I also liked the way he paces certain scenes, sometimes going the slower approach for the more dramatic ones, while quickening them up for the much more bolder sequences.

Talking about sequences, another aspect about this adventure I enjoyed was the way in which Barry took on the role of a detective by visiting people who were once associated with his enemies. To be honest, I don't think I've ever seen a Flash book take this sort of approach with one of their Rogue related story-lines! Honestly, as it was a right blast to meet the new Warden of Iron Heights as well as one of Mirror Masters ex's, and this was complemented by the reintroduction of Paul Gambi (Rogue tailor, not to be mistaken with that Star Wars film), plus the Snart's auntie (who had a lot to say about her niece and nephew). I also thought it was a nice touch to include a date between Iris and Barry as well as a fairly innovative scene where the Pied Piper explained his reasons for setting up a Rogue support group. I say this because these two scenes either continued a plot threat or reinforced another (I'm sure you know which is which).

So overall, yeah, a fairly mumbled start to what seems' to be a very good story-line. The art was great, the story was cool, and as for everything else, well, let's wait and see, eh?   

THE MUSIC:
While Barry and Iris were at dinner together, I would like to think that the following song was playing in the background. After all, the restaurant they ate at was a Chinese restaurant, and to me, nothing says romantic dinner at a Chinese restaurant more than, Heng Heng Chhay.





THE COMPARISON:
I'd like to compare issue 15 of the Flash to the 2004 film, Around the Bend. And do you want to know why I would do such a thing? It's simple really. They're both about looking for something that shouldn't be found.  




THE CONCLUSION:
At the very end of issue 15 it was revealed that the Flash's search was predestined by the Rogues. So with that said, can you guess what they'll be doing next, what with the Flash's attention directed elsewhere? Could they be...

  1. Watching TV.
  2. Robbing Keystone City, or Central City if they prefer.
  3. Reading a book.
  4. Starring in the new series of Iron Chef.
  5. Listening to the radio.
  6. Parading the catwalks of Milan while posing in the new outfits Paul Gambi made for them.
  7. Taking selfies.
  8. Swearing at small children.
Nuff said.

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