Kid Flash loses his super-speed in this Flashpoint tie-in, but he certainly gets his groove back. Under the pen of Sterling Gates, the former Impulse finally rediscovers his misplaced personality. He's rash, funny, smart - this is the wee fella we've not seen since Impulse was cancelled and Bart Allen became Bit-Part Allen as the Teen Titans' Kid Flash.
The story opens with Bart being verbally abused by grandpa Barry Allen, and while he takes it for a while, Kid Flash soon twigs that something's wrong. Having spent years in a virtual reality environment, and inherited some of reporter grandma Iris Allen's observational skills, he's able to analyse the situation. Soon he breaks the hold a brain machine has on him, encounters his captor, Brainiac, and is rescued by a familiar, yet decidedly different, version of recent irritant Hot Pursuit. The issue ends with a time-twisting cliffhanger that guarantees I'll be back for the next two instalments.
Gates builds his story from Bart's personality and past, not tying directly into Flashpoint but rather giving us a (so-far) standalone side episode spun out of Bart's disappearance in last month's Flash #12. The script is as pacey as you could wish for from an Impulse - sorry, Kid Flash - story, even in the quieter moments (click to enlarge image).
Gates' sparky script is brought to life by penciller Oliver Nome and inker Trevor Scott, who prove adept at conveying super-speed via after-images and crackling energy. Their Bart has the character, humour and determination that marks him as a worthy carrier of the Flash flame. They also do a mean - in both senses - Brainiac and a wonderfully spunky Hot Pursuit II. Backgrounds, technology, storytelling ... this art team more than earns their pay cheque. The final touches are added by colourist Brian Bucellato, who gives Central City that warm glow we've gotten used to in his work with Francis Manapul. The pair reteam for this issue's striking cover (possibly a homage to Bart's 1994 debut in Flash #92). Letterer Dezi Sienty does a fine job too, with this narrative heavy - but never leaden - tale.
There's a bit of fun to watch out for on the brilliant splash spread ... it looks like an error, but it's not, it's a hint that all's not right with the world. Honest! In fact, I'd say someone deserves extra credit. And as a fan of logos, I'm thrilled to see the Flash masthead appear five times on a single page - it's just good old-fashioned comics goodness.
On the evidence here, DC have put together the perfect team for an ongoing Kid Flash book. Let's hope one is forthcoming after the initial wave of post-Flashpoint titles.