Flash (vol.3) #1 (June, 2010)
“Case One: The Dastardly Death of the Rogues”
Writer – Geoff Johns
Artist – Francis Manapul
Colorist – Brian Buccellato
Letterer – Nick J. Napolitano
Associate Editor – Adam Schlagman
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $3.99
Today we’re going to talk about a book that I… wasn’t really looking forward to when it was announced. Ya see, Wally West is my Flash… and he always will be. When it became clear that he was being shifted into the background to make way for the return of Saint Barry… I wasn’t terribly pleased.
I wasn’t even sure I was going to follow this volume!
Then… well, ya see that banner atop the cover? Ya know, the one that reads “Brightest Day”? Yeah… I bought every single comic with that on the cover. After all, DC all but promised that our patience would be rewarded… and it was leading to something big! Cue toilet flush…
It’s been… oof, nearly a decade since I last looked at this… so, it’s high time we get around to it. How did it age? Are my feelings on Barry any different? What the hell is this Flashpoint thing they’re talking about at the end? Let’s all find out together!
We open with a beautiful shot of Central City… I’m going to do my best not to gush too much about the art here… but it’s going to be difficult. Iris is getting her skatey-eighth cup of coffee this morning as the Flash zips by in high-speed chase of the Trickster.
The Trickster winds up driving off an overpass… and falls toward a construction site down below. What follows is an amazing scene of Barry dismantling the entire automobile before it can make impact.
I mean… this is one hell of a scene. He grabs the steering wheel as it’s an inch away from hitting a little boy in the face. Such a dynamic scene… and really, such an amazing way to open this volume. This is how you introduce a superhero!
We shift scenes to the police station where Barry (in his civvies, natch) arrives for his first day back at work. It’s confirmed here that the world believes that Barry was in witness relocation… which is as good an excuse as any to explain away his absence.
He’s brought up to speed (pun!) on the Rogues… they’ve become far nastier since he’d last been around. Cleverly, the Weather Wizard is messing with the weather… not because he wants anything… just because he’s a jerk.
After rubbing up against the cold case involving Barry’s mother… he is introduced to his team of forensic scientists. He’s introduced as having “more talent in his pinky than this entire room”, which is sure to endear him to his new work family.
Meanwhile, at a nearby urban park… a ball of electric blue light appears. Inside it is a humanoid shape who apologizes before dropping the dead body of the Mirror Master to the ground.
Back at the Precinct, Barry reacquaints with an old friend who’s looking forward to retiring in the near future… well, pal… I hope they don’t reboot your reality in the meantime! When the news of the Mirror Master murder hits, Barry is sent out to investigate the crime scene. He unmasks the baddie… and realizes that it’s neither Sam Scudder nor Evan McCulloch.
Iris is also there reporting on the event. She pulls Barry aside to see if he’ll give her any information for her story… and we get a flashback scene where Barry and Iris promised that anything Barry told her about a case would be strictly “off-the-record”. In the present, Iris is annoyed that she ever made that deal. It’s far cuter a scene than I just described, trust me.
We wrap up with the Flash suiting up and running around a bit. He notices some more blue-lightning atop a nearby building and heads up to check it out. What he finds is… the Rogues?! But… they’re all wearing police badges?! Anyhoo… they inform Barry that he’s under arrest for the murder of Mirror Master… a crime he hasn’t yet committed, but… according to Commander Cold, he will!
Not gonna mince words here… this was great!
This is how you (re)introduce a superhero… I gotta say, I’m never going to be completely “okay” with Barry as the Flash… but, this was definitely a good “first step”.
Let’s get it out of the way… the art here is ridiculous. I mean, how amazing did this book look? Francis Manapul is phenomenal… I could stare at these pages all day. I’m a fella who normally gets a bit irked when I see multiple two-page spreads in a given issue… but ho-lee cow, when they look as good as they do here? Gimme more!
Our cliffhanger here is pretty great as well. We’re definitely dealing with some sort of futuristic threat… and we’re rubbing up against some “thought crime” or “preventative arrests” concepts in an interesting way. This is a very “iffy” subject… should you detain someone for something you think they’re going to do? Well, that’s a big moral question in our world… however, in the DC Universe where folks are always beboppin’ and scattin’ through the timestream, it’s a little bit different, ain’t it?
It was interesting that the book ended with a (perhaps the first?) mention of Flashpoint. It was definitely on the docket… though, I still doubt it was supposed to lead to The New-52! Still… it’s really interesting to see it here.
I think if I had to pick any nits… I’d have to go with Barry and Iris having been de-aged. I first “met” Iris when she’d pop up from time to time in Wally’s Flash or Impulse. I was used to her being depicted a certain way… and now, it looks as though she’s Wally’s contemporary. Hell, she might be younger than him here!
Overall though… I wholeheartedly recommend this issue, and am personally looking forward to revisiting the rest of this volume in the not-so-distant future (as if my “nightstand reads” pile is getting any smalled). This issue is available digitally (for just a buck!), and has been collected in the The Dastardly Death of the Rogues trade paperback.
(Not the) Letters Page… something far more sinister!: