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As I continue to play catch up, Francis Manapul and Brian Bucellato compose some super-feats for the Flash in this third issue.
The first half of this issue is pure action as Flash races around a now-powerless Keystone and Central City (thanks to a mysterious EMP blast) helping as many people as he can. The centerpiece of this sequence is Flash using his abilities to help a crashing airliner vibrate through a bridge to land safely in the water. It is an amazing sequence highlighted by amazing artwork and some nice, light internal dialogue.
It was a wise idea for M&B to have this issue heavy on the action. Issue 2 was big on backstory, exposition, and character development. That’s always good to have in a story, but when it comes to superheroes, some things are expected. Action is one of them. The writers were wise to inject this issue with it to balance out the previous month.
That said, I have to wonder what the purpose of the EMP blast was about. The previous issue somewhat implied that Mob Rule was behind it. As we learn this month, they had nothing to do with it and the blast was just a random occurrence. While there is nothing inherently wrong with that and we’ll learn about the source of the EMP later, having it happen here seems a bit forced. Did this really need to happen for this Mob Rule story? As it stands, it feels that Manapul just wanted to draw Barry and Patty riding horses.
Manapul’s art continues to amaze and he really does love using several overlapping mini-panels to showcase Barry’s new thinking ability. What is fascinating about this is that some of the pictures displayed have nothing specifically to do with the jam Barry is in. Perhaps that is intentional as we learn this month the big downside of this new “thinking faster” ability.
Overall, another solid issue. M&B keeps moving the story forward, but in this case, I’m not sure in a direction it needed to go. We got some good action and some nice, if brief, character bits. While I didn’t mind the character-driven focus for last issue or the action-driven focus this issue, I hope it doesn’t become a common theme and that M&B find a way to balance it during one issue. I know that can be hard if a story is happening over several parts, but I have faith they will be able to do this.
Next: “Mob Rule’s Origin…Revealed!”