Written by: Robert Venditti and Van Jensen
Art by: Jesus Merino, Guy Major and Pat Brosseau
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 10, 2016
I have been a fan of Robert Venditti and Van Jensen's run on the Flash and that goes hand-in-hand with being a Brett Booth fan as well. I've come to realize that Booth's art on this book was a love it or hate it affair and I'm glad that I fell on the former side because I'm usually so negative that it's nice to be the guy smiling once and awhile. That fact made this issue a somber affair as this is Jesus Merino's first issue since taking over for Booth. I didn't stay somber for very long, however, as this issue features the Rogues and I can't help but get excited anytime I see my favorite villains up front and center like this. So, with all this craziness going on, was this issue good? Let's find out...
The issue opens up with Captain Frye explaining Barry's new assignment. He is the forensics specialist on a new task force formed solely to catch The Flash. While that isn't as crazy as it sounds for Barry or The Flash, who the rest of the task force is made up of is over the top, crazy insane (on the telephone)...It's the Rogues and the best part of the issue is seeing Barry's reaction as he is introduced to his new "partners"!
I've told you already how much I love the Rogues and seeing them here instantly made this the most fun I've had reading The Flash in a long while. With the recent storyline focusing on some serious shit, it's nice to just sit back and smile. Of course, Venditti and Jensen tie into recent events like Captain Cold's Justice League tenure and the problems stemming from Flash's battle with Professor Zoom, so none of this feels out of left field...at least not to the reader. Barry, on the other hand, looks pretty shaken up by it all.
That continues as Barry and Daryl argue over whether this task force is even needed and while we all know where Barry is coming from, Frye has a point that will be familiar to comic fans and is a common theme in the upcoming movies from both DC and Marvel...how do we know we can trust the Flash when we don't even know who he is?!?
A dejected Barry heads off to have a coffee with his father and we are treated to some forced catch up and a heavy handed pep talk. I understand the catch up, but the "I knew Flash was good before I knew it was you" talk made me roll my eyes and the bit about Nora's murder seemed like an invitation to start Flashpoint all over again down the line.
We then head off to the Industrial District where an experiment is underway. At least that's what the narration tells us, but to everyone else in the scene, a freaking industrial accident that would make OSHA's head spin is happening. On a side note, I always laugh at scenes when stuff goes wrong as we see the "days without an accident" sign and that happens here. Does that make me an awful person? Don't answer that!
When Barry finds out what's going on, he suits up and heads downtown to save the day. He does rescue the last two stranded workers, but Frye and the Rogues arrive to take him down anyway. Before that, though, The Rogues go above their pay scale and help save the facility, then get down to fighting the Flash. Well, actually they lose and Flash gets away. All is not lost, however, as Frye has some evidence that may shed some light on just who The Flash really is.
I really like how Venditti and Jensen don't make the Rogues out to be the well oiled machinery that is the Greendale High School ski racing team...they are rusty, especially since Cold has been MIA for a while.
The issue ends with a couple of big mysteries and a huge cliffhanger reveal. What is going on with Wally? Who is this crazy guy causing all the trouble and what are these "experiments" he's doing and look who is still (barely) alive. I want to know more about each one.
This issue is fun and that's really all I ask for from The Flash. How could it not be, the Rogues are in it and while I wish there was more of them here, what we get was really good. Captain Cold is back with his buddies and he is hilarious. I hope we get much more of them next issue, especially paired with a reluctant Barry Allen. Comedy gold right there.
So, how was Jesus Merino's debut? He did a fine job and while it took a little bit to get used to the change, by the end, I was digging it. It is more cartoony than Booth which worked with the Rogues, but the panel layout was much less imaginative than before and that's something that may take time for me to get used to. Overall, however, I would say that I liked it and just hope that as he settles into the book, he can give it a little more flair than what was on display this issue.
Bits and Pieces:
The Flash #48 was a fun start to a premise that makes me smile...the Rogues helping the police bring down The Flash. This issue sets the stage and gets everyone up to speed, but also has some good moments to boot. While Jesus Merino's art will take me some more time to get used to, it fits the story here and helps give fans a nice, quick read that most should enjoy.