The cover: The headline says it all: “You’ve been waiting for it…The Flash battles…Future Flash!” The interior visual team, Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, and Andrew Dalhouse, do the chores on this cover which shows the two characters racing around what’s left of Central City, punching one another. I haven’t read the New 52 Flash since its first issue, and I picked this book up because of my love of the first three episodes of the television series and this cover image. I grew up reading Carmine Infantino’s 1980’s run on the The Flash, and I’ve never heard of the “Future Flash,” so this will all be new for me. Overall grade: A
The story: Having not read any of the previous issues, writers Robert Venditti and Van Jensen had me right in the thick of things quickly. The first two pages focus on the Future Flash in Central City accessing his personal computer as to the Speed Force, the energy that allows all metahumans to employ super speed. Realizing it can be repaired he makes his way “…to the end of the road.” The scene then changes to Barry’s house getting ready for a day’s work of heroics, until the Future Flash grabs him and takes him to the Salt Flats. He explains to Barry that there is a tear in the Speed Force that will destroy the world, because every time someone uses speed it rips it further, and a large enough detonation of speed force energy thrust back into it should seal up the tear. This is way too similar to the Relic storyline that didn’t happen all that long ago in all the Green Lantern books, which were also written by Venditti and Jensen. I was a little disappointed to see how similar the threat is in this series. Moving on, Barry Allen is to be the Future Flash’s sacrifice to seal it. Cue mega-speed battle! As the two fight in this huge wasteland they exchange barbs, questions and answers about time paradoxes, the future, and the identify of this futuristic blue baddie. This is not just running and punching, as there is a reveal on Page 14 that surprised me, and made me consider tracking down earlier issues. Having not read this series, I was still feeling the emotion on Page 16 and it made its fallout really dramatic. Page 18 was a surprise, and 19 and 20 was a nice fake-out/surprise. Based on this issue, I might have to add this to my monthly pull list. Overall grade: A
The art: I’m new to artist Brett Booth and inker Norm Rapmund’s work, and I should start following both of these gentlemen. They put an impressive amount of detail into their work. The first page had me impressed with all the itty bitty details in the first panel that barely shows Central City. Heck, one of the them put words on a rock poster in the background! Someone is driving a Kord (Blue Beetle?) instead of a Ford. The next panel shows Future Flash in semi profile and he’s bursting with tech in his suit. This super tech reminded me of Bill Sienkiewicz when he first started doing Warlock on The New Mutants. The Future Flash is impressive looking just standing still. He looks great on Page 2 with all the electricity flying off of him. Page 3 introduces Barry speeding around his place. There’s not much detail in the second and the fifth panels, but they make up for it in the other three panels with a lot of stuff to look at. I’m really taken with how well this pair can put so much into such a small space, such as on Page 4. Which makes the larger panels, like the splash on 5, all the more impressive. I know I shouldn’t be looking at the ground on that page, but the detail put into the salt flats is terrific, and it runs throughout this issue. This is really sharp work. Overall grade: A
The colors: I felt sorry for Andrew Dalhouse as I began to read this issue, since it would deal with two costumed men, one in red the other in blue, racing around the salt flats. Not a lot of opportunities for much color, I thought. Boy, was I wrong. These super quick characters kick up a lot of dust and Dalhouse expertly provides some nice coloring on these clouds to make them really beautiful, such as at the bottom of Page 2. The blue and red shades he puts on both characters make their costumes really vivid. The bottom of Page 8 is fantastic in yellow and orange, and the yellow coming of off Barry is a great counter to Future Flash’s blue. Page 16 is great rose work at the top and great reds and oranges at the bottom. The coloring sells the tragedy of this moment. And that’s a terrific sky behind the lone survivor on 18. Dalhouse is doing a heck of a job on this comic. Overall grade: A
The letters: There’s some nice work on this issue from Dezi Sienty with includes scene setting, dialogue, Future Flash’s computer, sounds, some Barry whispering, screams, title and issue credits (very old school Hollywood–Nice!), and a surprise font on the last page that hints at one character’s location. Nice work, and I’m always pleased when speaking mechanical voices are given a unique font to accentuate their mechanical nature. Well done. Overall grade: A
The final line: Having read this and now written this review, I’m going to have to start picking this up. Curse you DC Comics, for another title I’m going to have to start following. Overall grade: A
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.