Monday, 20 October 2014

The Flash #3 [The New 52] - DC Comics

THE FLASH No. 3, January 2012
Midway down the second page of Issue Three of “The Flash” is the line “I didn’t get a manual with my powers.” But if this comic book’s opening is anything it is a reader’s guide to the formidable super-powers of Barry Allen’s Scarlet Speedster; at least as far as the creative writing team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellatop are concerned. And what a wish-list of extraordinary abilities it is too.

The Flash is fast, so fast in fact that he can run on water without sinking, he can create and direct vortexes using his hands, and he has the ability to vibrate through solid objects. He can also make other objects similarly oscillate in order for them too to pass through dense matter, and actually demonstrates this incredible power by shaking a large airliner so fast it safely passes straight through a motorway bridge and comes to a shuddering halt alongside Central City docks. Oh… he can go invisible as well apparently. Clearly he’s learnt a few extra tricks since ‘The New 52’ started…

Unfortunately for this issue however Filipino-Canadian artist Manapaul  hasn’t. The (already overly expensive) variant cover by Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair is a beautiful illustration containing both a cracking drawing of The Flash and some gorgeously vibrant colouring. Manapul’s version pales in comparison, with a muted purple and white theme which simply makes the drawing appear half-hearted and unfinished.

His interior artwork is equally as lacklustre and uninspiring, though Buccellato should take some of the responsibility for the depressingly drab colour choices. I’m also unconvinced by some of the pair’s decisions regarding the arrangement of the panels on various pages. The multiple windows within a single page showing Allen’s brain tapping into the Speedforce has been seen before, and much more convincingly too.

But apart from showing how clever they are, I can’t work out the reasoning behind the first page’s airliner shaped montage comprising of an ‘over the shoulder’ view of the plane’s cockpit as it crashes towards the freeway bridge. Especially when the entire drawing is partially buried as a result of the title “Flash” being emblazoned down the illustration’s length in a rather rude choice of orange. The ghastly font used to spell out "DC Comics proudly presents..." makes the entire page appear amateurish at best.
The variant cover art of "THE FLASH" No. 3 by Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair

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