Friday, 3 October 2014

The Flash #2 [The New 52] - DC Comics

THE FLASH No. 2, December 2011 
When the best thing about a comic is a six-page special sneak preview of a “Batman” deluxe oversized original graphic novel, there must be some serious problems with the book’s main title character. Unfortunately this is very true for Issue Two of “The Flash”, which starts with one of most uninspiring and ugliest covers I’ve ever seen. What have “DC Comics” done to the Scarlet Speedster; a series once the envy of the comic book world with memorable cover runs by the likes of legendary artist Brian Bolland?

Sadly things only get worse once the issue begins with Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato producing some increasingly erratic artwork that would not look out of place buried deep within an aspiring amateur’s second best sketchbook. Admittedly there are some rare moments of genius, such as a blurry Flash tapping into the Speed Force as Barry Allen outpaces the treadmill of Doctor Elias, or the startling composition of the numerous panels upon a single page when The Flash realises he can think as fast as he can move.

But these excellent examples of the visual medium are few and far between with the vast majority of the writer/artist’s panels consisting of frankly grubby, indistinct pencil drawings which have little to no vitality about them.

Manapul’s writing does not help matters either, as absolutely nothing happens throughout the twenty-pages to progress the Filipino-Canadian artist’s current storyline. All that is revealed is that Barry Allen can now think so quickly he can literally see the future and respond accordingly… oh, and at the book’s climax an airliner loses all power for some reason and plummets headlong into Central City right above The Flash.

As a result the reader is simply left to savour Lee Bermejo’s “Batman: Noel”, and some pages featuring his stunningly good steampunk-inspired interpretation of the Dark Knight. Indeed the American comic book artist’s interior illustrations are absolutely breath-taking, full of energy and certainly not something which should be published alongside Manapul’s sketches for all to compare. For the superb quality of the former “Wildstorm” intern’s artwork totally undermines the current visualizations of long-time collaborators Manapul and Brian Buccellato.

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