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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Flash #10 is the first bad issue in this series. Nothing really works in it. The story is weak, the motivations are questionable, the dialogue is obnoxiously wordy, and the resolutions come way too easily. I am really surprised at Manapul and Buccellato. Perhaps they were rushed or their hearts were not really in this story. I am not sure, but this issue is an incredible disappointment.
For starters, I feel as if I missed an entire issue. The cliffhanger from issue 9 revealed that Flash’s friend, Dr. Elias, turned against him. Instead of picking up on this thread, we are thrown into a completely different story. Sometime between issues, Patty was captured while investigating a cold murder case, and Flash became hell-bent on rescuing her, because he realized he loves her and needs her more than anything. This is all fine, but readers are just told this information and it is played as “old hat” as if readers are already aware of what was going on. In short, I feel there an entire story was cut out which would have bridged issue 9 and 10.
As for this issue’s story itself, there is not a lot going on in it. It is incredibly straight forward: Flash chases Weather Wizard. That is it. We get some neat action, but the narrative is very two dimensional. Not helping matters is that a large portion of the dialogue is purely exposition, getting the reader up to speed at why things are happening. It was frustrating to read, because I feel that either no one would talk like this, or these conversations would have happened much, much earlier than when they do take place.
Then there are the solutions to the issue’s conflicts. They all come way too easily. Weather Wizard’s sister-in-law, after carefully concealing this information for two years, just up and confesses to killing her husband simply because. Flash, after “angsting” on it the entire issue, decides against telling Patty that he is really Barry, because she is still sad about Barry being “dead”. To me, this makes absolutely no sense, and the motivation seems incredibly forced. He then bizarrely decided he can never be Barry Allen again. I guess I feel this way because it seeming comes out of nowhere. Nothing in the previous issues indicated that Barry was having trouble balancing his responsibilities between being the Flash and his personal life. If anything, everything he has learned suggests that it is more than fine to continue to go on and do what he has been doing.
Marcus To steps in for art duties on this issue, substituting for Francis Manapul. In interviews, Manapul explained that he needed a break, and, frankly, I cannot blame him. The Flash has been shipping on time every month with a creative team serving as the title’s writers and artists. He is entitled to a break. I am happy that To’s artwork is in some ways reminiscent of Manapul’s. It is not exact, but the two styles complement each other well (as opposed to when Manapul’s art was paired with Scott Kolin’s in the previous volume – those two styles could not be further apart).
This was an incredibly disappointing issue. Nothing in it makes a lot of sense to me. Until proven otherwise, I am going to tell myself that M&B’s names were slapped on the cover, and the issue was really done by a ghost writer.
Next: Heat Wave!