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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Once upon a time, I use to do Flash reviews. Somewhere, I got a little lazy and completely neglected this feature here at The Culture Cast. But, fortunately, we are back, and now it is time to get up to speed with the Flash (see what I did there?).
This was an odd issue. While the cliffhanger was addressed from last issue, and not a whole lot actually happens in Flash #15. The story is still going, and the problems are still present, but the issue slows things down, allowing readers to catch their breath.
While I can understand if a reader felt somewhat cheated, the breather is very much a good thing. The Gorilla Warfare arc has been nothing but action, action, action. And, while that has been fun, we really have not been able to absorb what is going on. For that matter, neither have the characters. How can Flash or Patty or even the Rouges really develop a plan to stop Grodd without pausing themselves?
In that way, this issue is a bridge to what has come before and what is going to happen (much like how I noted issue 7 was). This issue also provided some quite moments where we finally got to see the reunion between Patty and Barry. Surprisingly, she seems completely okay with him being the Flash. I would have expected her to be a bit more ire. Then again, Patty is a fairly rational character, so that rationality realizes that there is a lot more going on at the moment than Barry’s alter-ego.
Not to say there is not any action in issue 15. The first half sees our characters various predicaments. Daniel West (who continues to whine about not finding his sister) looks like he is about to become a snack for Grodd’s army, and the Rouges craft a clever plan to save some of Central City’s citizens within the Mirror World. I have to admit, I really enjoy how Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are writing the Rouges, not only as a dysfunctional family, but as heroes as well. Someone in the comments section over at Retcon Punch, a blog I occasionally follow, suggested that the Rouges can probably headline their own series. I completely agree with that. Cast them as anti-heroes going on various adventures in a lighthearted Secret Six/Suicide Squad style. I would buy that.
That said, there is one thing that does not quite work for the issue. Around the mid-way point, everything changes gears. Suddenly, we are in a home where Barry is resting. The momentum and urgency developed in previous issues and the first half of 15 is killed. It almost feels as if a good chunk of time has passed. Though nothing in the dialogue suggests such a thing, the drastic change creates that feeling. The switch was jarring.
I suppose no review of this issue is complete without mentioning the nine-page spread showing off Barry’s cognition abilities as he attempts to figure out what will be the best option when dealing with Grodd (they all end in total disaster). Manapul’s artwork is, as always, fantastic and he really pushes the boundaries of what can be expected from comic book art. I have not seen anything done to this extreme in a comic before. If I had to criticize something about it, it would be that fact that I wish it was a fold out. That way, readers could see the whole thing as one giant image instead of going back and forth between the pages. However, I completely understand that doing something like that would have been completely impractical. In any event, take a look at the full image below.
The Flash #15 was an interlude. It was needed, but now everything is going to be racing towards a conclusion. Hopefully, we will be getting some more answers as in the next issue about what Grodd is up to, and hopefully we will get a couple of twist or turns as well!
Next: The Road Not Taken!