Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Speed Reading! – The Flash #16
February 14, 2013Posted by on
Everything is starting to tie together. And I mean everything. Since the beginning of issue 1 of The Flash, Fancis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have been crafting an over-arching story which continually expands with each issue. Though there have been smaller arcs with beginning, middles, and ends, the overall tone and direction of the series has been building on itself for the past sixteen months. And, it has been building on a theme: the Law of Congestion – the more roads you add, the worse traffic will get.
Every story in The Flash has added more and more problems and issues for the titular character. Though things are resolved, the problems faced do not truly go away. Barry’s new “speed-thinking” abilities, the Central City EMP blast, the discovery of the Speed Force (and subsequently Gorilla City), Iris’s disappearance, and the return of the Rogues (a storyline which is still has yet to be completed thanks to the arrival of Grodd and Co.) have just dog-piled on Barry to the point that he had to “quit” being Barry Allen. Thank goodness for that speed-thinking just so he can make sense of it all.
With The Flash #16, we start to get the sense that everything is narrowing down, from both an in-story and a literary sense. First, it seems as if Flash realizes that all of this is nuts and out of control (given his “speed-thinking visions” from last issues, it is hard not to come to that conclusion). So, he blocks everything else out in order to deal with the one big problem (Grodd) on his own. Knowing fighting Grodd in Central City will cause nothing but world-wide destruction, Barry Kobayashi Marus it and brings him into the Speed Force to duke it out there (and giving Barry a possible edge in the fight).
From a literary sense of narrowing, the subplot of Iris being trapped in the Speed Force since issue 7 comes crashing back to the forefront (literally). I cannot help but feel that by the end of issue 17, many things from the very beginning will either be resolved or push Flash into a brand new adventure. Though it feels as if they have been wrapping up loose ends during Gorilla Warfare, Manapul and Buccellato are going to still be on the book for the foreseeable future. With that being the case, I bet the end of this arc will see them actually do a mix of resolution and new adventure.
Of course, I am getting a head of myself. Issue 16 really propels this arc to its close. Barry does some great quick thinking by removing Grodd with some fantastic art while doing so. I love how Manapul is able to make a spear look like it is hurtling at the Flash at a million miles an hour, but is still able to show Flash’s perspective as if it is standing completely still in time. How does he do that?
The Flash #16 does an excellent job of bring divergent plot threads together and setting the stage for the final chapter of Gorilla Warfare. As I mentioned, I feel everything in the series thus far has been building to this. Because of that, I cannot wait to see what happens and how it happens.
Next: King of the Speed Force!