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After the disappointment of last issue, I am very happy to see that The Flash is back on track. In fact, I feel that issue 11 is the strongest of Manapul and Buccellato’s run thus far. Everything just works in this done-in-one issue. We are (re)introduced to a now crispy Heat Wave and discover that he and Captain Cold hate each other. Fisticuffs ensue.
What sells this issue for me is the characterizations of our principles. Cold, in particular, is written very well. The Rogues’ have always been depicted as very blue collar, and when I think of blue collar, I think of the “average Joe”. Cold embodies this in this issue. Between his rejection by a woman to his interaction with the bartender, something is very real about him this time around. I also loved the slow, yet believable budding friendship with Barry. I really see this blooming into something big down the line (involving a theory which, if it plays out, would be a huge change to Flash’s status quo).
Something else I have to point out is that there is an exchange between the bartender, Cold, and Barry:
Bartender: Man, I liked you better when you guys had guns and wands and crap. Stuff you could check at the door. These powers make you guys irritable.
Cold: This Elias is so freakin’ smug. Chump’s no different from me. Remember when things were simple? Good guys were good guys and bad guys were bad guys?
Barry: Where do you fit in?
Cold: Does it really matter? It’s all shades of gray nowadays.
Is it me, or does that strike anyone else as being incredibly meta? In some circles, today’s comic creators have been criticized blurring the line between good and bad too much in order to make comics seem “more adult” and less kid friendly. Perhaps I am reading into it too much, but it jumped out at me the first time I read it.
The only thing that sticks out for me in this issue is that Flash still has not confronted Dr. Elias. While I love the direction M&B are taking Elias and the mystery surrounding him is great, I just cannot see Flash not paying him a visit to find out what his deal is. I know this is going to go somewhere, but still.
This was a great issue. I have read it a number of times since picking it up last Friday. If you are a Flash fan, get it. You will not be disappointed.
Next: The Secrets of Glider!