Flash #12 review

It's the final instalment of the Road to Flashpoint storyline, and the last issue of this run. And while it's a safe bet there'll be a new volume along in a few months, for once a book that's ending feels like a conclusion.

That's because writer Geoff Johns closes the book on the subplots that have been holding the attention for the last several months: Barry's frustrating inability to grab his second chance at life; the heartbreaking distance between Barry and wife Iris; the perplexing refusal of Barry to get to know grandson Bart; and the nature of the feelings Barry and former lab partner Patty Spivot have for one another. All are tied up neatly, without seeming too pat.

There's also the little matter of the parallel world Barry Allen, Hot Pursuit, who's been stealing speed from The Flash in a bid to prevent a crisis he sees coming. He has a run-in with time bandit Professor Zoom here that he didn't foresee. In textbook chatty villain mode, Zoom provides some answers as to why Bart Allen's instant ageing of a few years back came about, in the process implying that the Speed Force is responsible for Barry's continued youth. He certainly lets Barry know that he has a lot of untapped potential, and it's the immense energy of his own Reverse Speed Force that Zoom uses to transform the DC Universe at issue's end. And so it is that we enter the world of Flashpoint #1.

Artist Francis Manapul and colourist Brian Buccellato, who established this run's visual identity, are around for just a handful of pages this issue, with Flash legend Scott Kolins working the bulk of the story with his current go-to colourist, Michael Atiyeh. There's a definite shift in tone, with Kolins/Atiyeh favouring a darker vibe and Manapul/Buccellato going for a lighter feel, but with the former team handling the super-speed action and the latter the civilian stuff, the story only benefits.

Kolins, who drew Wally West's Flash book for years, shows that while he's working in a less-loose style these days, he still has it so far as super-speed stylings are concerned - his scenes with Flash, Kid Flash, Hot Pursuit and Professor Zoom are dynamic, intense and a little unsettling. 

Manapul, meanwhile, pulls off a fine bit of background business, with a family outside the coffee shop in which Barry and Iris are chatting wordlessly underlining Barry's feelings about the loss of his mother.

This is a first-rate issue, but when the series returns I'd like a change in tone; the melancholy vibe has made sense given Zoom's changes in Barry's world (murdering his mother, framing his father) but post-Flashpoint I want to see a different Flash book, with Barry's old sunny personality restored. Surely a Flash can outrun the darkness?


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