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FLASH #19 & #20

G'day, you ugly looking galah! This Salvo me and Bruce are going to go and have a Barbie over by our Kylies place. Want to come along? If so, then get up off of your ficking backside and put down those bleeding comic books. Those two created by Joshua Williamson, Jesus Merino, Neil Googe, and Carmine Di Giandomenico. It's April, 2017, and it's time for DC Comics to go barmy over my Flash double-review. C'or!

TO QUOTE Bo Bennett: 'For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth'.

In last month's episode of The Flash, issue 18, both Wally and Barry inadvertently tracked down Captain Boomerang in order to ask him about Wally West's estranged father, namely, Daniel West: also known as the Reverse Flash. The problem with them doing this, however, is that when they eventually tracked him down (in the middle of Australia's Outback no less), Digger appeared to be on a top-secret mission for the Suicide Squad, a mission in which he has to infiltrate a group of gun-runners called The Weavers. But unfortunately, as soon as they show up, the Weavers manage to capture them with the use of their electrified webs -- even before Wally or Barry can ask Digger about Daniel.

So what do they do next, during issue 19? Why of course, the three of them make their escape! Digger, being the shrewd man that he is, set's the Weavers up by goading them into using The Flash as target practice for their super-powered weaponry, knowing full well that he'll be able to outrun them with his super-fast abilities. Now to some degree the bad-guys are able to keep them at bay by threatening to kill Wally with one of Boomerang's razor sharp... uhhhh... boomerangs! But hey, Wally is Kid Flash! And even if he can't vibrate out of his electrified restraints, he sure can blow them up, post haste! Boom-Boom-Boom!

During the aftermath of this encounter Captain Boomerang tells our two heroes about the circumstances surrounding Daniel's status. As I said in last months review, Daniel died in the pages of the New Suicide Squad Annual #1, circa 2015, and now (thanks to Boomer) they know the full story about his heroic demise. Something else that is revealed in this issue happens after Boomerang leaves the scene, but, should I tell you what this is or should I just kind of insinuate what Barry tells Wally?

Oh sod it! I best tell you. I suppose I don't have any choice, considering this plot-point kind of lingers its way through issue 20 of the Flash.

You see, in the last few pages of issue 19, Barry tells Wally about his duel identity (i.e. he's the Flash), and in so doing the implication is that he has to also tell Iris sometime thereafter. But no, not in issue 20! When this stand-alone story begins, we see Iris investigating the mystery surrounding the sudden disappearance of Godspeeds victims. Now at first she just presumed this was just a one off occurrence, especially after interviewing a mother whose son died during the aforementioned debacle.  But after a while, little by little, interview by interview, Iris twigs onto the fact that this is a far wider epidemic, and so she goes to the one man who may be able to help, namely, Barry Allen, secretly known as the Flash, also known as Iris' current boyfriend, and additionally known as being the boyfriend of one of Godspeeds previous victims, Meena Dhawan.

Regrettably, when they meet in his lab, Barry can only help Iris out to a certain degree: Because, according to what he knows, Meena asked for her body to be taken away by STAR Labs after her death so they could study her physiognomy more fully. This, in turn, implies to Iris that she has to look elsewhere for her answers, simply because STAR Labs has a really advanced security system and she couldn't possibly make her way in.  So what she does instead is to go to the next best thing; that being the place where Meena worked when she was alive, The Speed Force Training Center, hoping that she can find something about these strange disappearances there.

And yes, she does do this. She goes to the center. She approaches a lady doctor. She knocks her out. She takes her clothes and wears them. And then, and only then, does another doctor show up, who, well, kind of spills the beans about what's been going on. Now for fairly obvious reasons I don't want to tell you what he says because it will spoil how this book ends. That said, however, a resolution is eventually accomplished: A resolution that involves Iris, the Flash, a top secret research facility, plus a group of terrorists who have made their presence known on this book before, Wink-Wink!

Quickly moving on over to the art side of things, and I must say that I didn't mind Jesus Merino's artwork for issue 19. The silver-age vibe this tale ultimately omitted, aesthetically suited the silver-age inspired artwork he depicted for each character, and I say this despite certain panels looking mighty square in places. Along similar lines I could also say the same thing about the best scene in the entire book, the one in which Barry unveils to Wally his super-fast identity. Yet in this instance, the artwork was provided by Carmine Di Giandomenico, and he, unlike Jesus, manages to imbue his scenes with a serious emotional pathos they needed to have. Honestly, this was some really amazing stuff.

Neil Googe's artwork for issue 20 was fairly good too. Just like the previous issue, this story also had a real solid silver-age vibe and reminded me of an old Superman story from the 1950s; one where Lois Lane would get into some trouble only for Superman to eventually show up and save her. Overall Neil's cartoon-like artwork suited this vibe to a tea, although there were a couple of occasions where his layouts were a bit too minimalist by design, as they came across as being somewhat incomplete on the page, sparse even. Inadvertently, this style additionally hindered how certain pieces of exposition were relayed to the reader. There was this one scene at the end of the book where Iris catches Barry out on a lie (remember, no spoilers here), and even though I'm sure this was meant to be portrayed in a dramatic fashion, it was kind of depicted in a somewhat coquettish fashion, almost as if the scene was being played by Doris Day who caught Cary Grant coming out of the shower with a towel wrapped around him.

Apart from that, though, all in all these two issues were a very pleasant read, and I can't wait to see what happens next month when -- dramatic silence -- the Flash teams up with Batman.    

I wonder if Barry is a fan of the popular English rock group, The Who? Because if he was, wouldn't it be fantastic if he played the following song to Wally when he told him about his Flash persona? So take it away, The Who, with, 'The Real Me'...

I think that I've already answered this section at the end of my review. So once again, I'd like to compare these books, mainly issue 20 of the Flash, to an old Superman comic from the 1950s, where a certain Man of Steel has to save a certain female journalist from some trouble she has gotten herself into.

At the end of issue 20 someone we all thought was dead showed up on the very last page. So, for the sake of sneeze, can you guess who that someone is out of the following eight options? Could it be...

  1. Elvis Presley: Thang' you very much.
  2. Meena Dhawan: Although I'm sure she likes to be referred to as Doctor Dhawan.
  3. Bruce Lee: Bang! Sadowit!
  4. Daniel West: Let's play catch with a bomb.
  5. Kurt Cobain: Bang! No Sadowit!
  6. Thomas Wayne: Although I'm sure he likes to be referred to as Batman's Daddy.
  7. Don Rickles: Who you calling a hockey puck?
  8. Martha Wayne: Noooooo! Don't say that name!!!!!!
Nuff said.

FLASH #19 & #20 FLASH #19 & #20 Reviewed by David Andrews on May 05, 2017 Rating: 5

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