Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Flash #42 Review

Written by: Robert Venditti and Van Jensen
Art by: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund and Andrew Dalhouse
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: July 22, 2015


I may not be the biggest fan of the Flash, but I'm pretty darn close.  In the grand scheme of things, I may still be a greenhorn to some, but I think that has helped me out a bit with this comic book thingee we do and the Flash in particular.  When the New 52 began, I jumped in without any preconceived notions and fell in love with this book and it's hero, Barry Allen.  Yes, Barry Allen was instantly "my Flash" and forty-two issues and two creative teams later, he still is.  However, I'm not here to start a Flash Fan celebration, I'm here to review this issue.  This arc started off strong, with the inclusion of Professor Zoom and the complications he's brought to Barry's world.  That certainly continues this month, but was it any good?  Let's find out...

I know that the big hype of this arc is Professor Zoom, but what I loved most last issue was Barry's father, Henry.  He's aware that Zoom is in town and knows what that means, even if the reader isn't fully aware of what that is yet.  We do know that Zoom has arrived with bad intentions and Henry has risked everything by breaking out of jail with a great team of z-list villains to stop him.  This story is all about family and that continues this issue.

The issue begins with a little detective work in Henry Allen's jail cell and while it was brief, it's as good as usual.  I've always enjoyed seeing Barry at his day job since it gives you a great peek at the man behind the mask and this issue shows a young man who loves and trusts his father...maybe too much.  Listen, I don't think Henry killed his wife, but he did orchestrate the prison breakout and he certainly is involved in more than Barry could have ever suspected.

After a brief scene with Iris that seemed to reference the television show a bit too much for my taste (and shoves Wally West way into the background for now), we take a look at Henry, his gang and Professor Zoom.  This is the best scene of the book and was simply awesome.  Professor Zoom has officially showed that he is indeed a ruthless villain and an awful person to boot.  The scene also puts the mystery of his and Henry's past into high gear.  I know this is comic books and anything can be changed/fixed, but I really don't know how Henry will be able to come out of this story unscathed after what he (kind of) does here.

The issue shifts back to Barry and after a fun little scene with Girder (my favorite member of Henry's gang), he finally accepts that his father isn't totally innocent in the breakout.  Using his skills that pay the bills and a little eavesdropping, he winds up in the house of the prison guard knocked out during the gang's escape.  It's obvious that the scene is there to show that Henry is still a good guy, but it wasn't too heavy handed.  Maybe just a little, but I enjoyed how we got there and then where it takes us...back to Professor Zoom.

Him and Barry have a bit of a back-and-forth, but it's all in Zoom's favor.  Like last issue, Zoom seems to be relishing the game of cat and mouse he's playing with Flash and while Barry is still in the dark about so many things, the issue ends by showing everyone that Zoom knows a lot about Flash and Barry.

While this issue can be looked at as a bunch of setup, I loved it.  While last issue introduced Professor Zoom to the story, this issue truly made him the villain.  The mystery of his past and how it ties into the Allen family is already starting to boil over and i can't wait to learn more.  The only thing that I thought was a downer was the forced bit with Iris that seemed ripped right out of the television show.  That said, if that's whats needed to get more people into this book, I'm all in.  In fact, if you haven't been reading Flash or know anyone who has wanted to start, this arc is a great jumping on point.

While I loved the story, I may have loved the art even more.  Brett Booth is the perfect artist for this book and gives it the frenetic speed it should have.  The highlight of the past two issue are any scene with Zoom in it, but I also have to give him props for his Girder character design.  The closeups of him were so good.  I also have to mention the great work by Norm Rapmund on inks and Andrew Dalhouse on colors.  The two of them are the perfect match to Booth's art and I may have to give out my own awards if the three of them don't get the recognition they deserve for this book.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue builds on Venditti and Jensen's story of family secrets and sins of the past.  They have set up Professor Zoom as a ruthless villain, but the mystery of his connection to the Allen family is what is driving this story forward.  While this issue is more setup, it sets up an intriguing story that I want to figure out right now, but am glad to see unfold a little with each issue.  The art is some of the best in the DC You and if you haven't been reading The Flash, I suggest you jump on with this arc.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.


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