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The Flash #17 concludes the “Gorilla Warfare” storyline and, as I predicted last month, several ongoing arcs stretching all the way back to issue 6 (though one can argue it really started in the first issue). Finales are tricky to do, especially if they are a long time coming. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato could have easily dropped the ball and phoned it in. They do not and everything is nicely wrapped up all things considered. However, there are several things that do not work and makes me wonder if this could have benefited from being a double-sized issue.
For starters, the first half of the issue is largely a “boss battle” with Flash fighting Grodd in the Speed Force. Early on, Grodd seems to get an upper hand. The scene cuts away and when we return, Flash is kicking butt, and Grodd’s apparent advantage is never referenced again. Why suggest him having an advantage if nothing is done with it? It feels like a scene is missing.
After Grodd is defeated (and trapped in the Speed Force), Flash is able to return Iris and her companions (trapped since issue 7) to Central City. While this is a great hero moment, it is never explained how Flash is able to do this. When he was last in the Speed Force, he was spit out randomly in Gorilla City. How was he able to pinpoint his exit this time around? I suppose it could be one of those things that once he experienced it, he knew what to do (like when you play a video game for first time – at first you do not know the controls and you stink, but the second go-around, you get it). I kind of wish this was somewhat acknowledged since it proved to be the key in defeating Grodd.
The last half of the issue is pure resolution. Most of this works wonderfully. Because M&B are wrapping up months’ worth of story, there were several things that needed addressing: Barry “returning from the dead”, Dr. Elias acknowledging his destroyed lab, the Rogues regrouping (and possibly recruiting a new member?). While the issue teases some stories to come, it also gives this mega-arc a sense of closure.
A few other issues I had: what happened to Daniel West? I am sure he will show up in the next few issues, but after all the focus he received during “Gorilla Warfare”, all he has is a nonspeaking cameo in the finale. With Iris returning, I am surprised M&B did not see fit to give her a reunion with her brother.
What happened to the glowing guy from issue 16? No mention is made of this, and it seemed like a big thing. Here is my guess: he is the new Reverse Flash (who was teased at the end of issue). In the last issue, the glowing guy started to glow with yellow eyes and some facial markings by the eyes. During his reunion panel, he is wearing all red. When we see the Reverse Flash, he has yellow eyes with similar line-markings and is red. Is it a leap I am making here? Oh, you bet. But I think that is enough to suggest that this is the guy. I guess we will see soon enough.
Also, is it me, or is Patty just way too insecure when it comes to Barry? She sees that Barry saved Iris. and she has a worried/jealous look on her face. Yeah, how dare he save her! It is not like he is a superhero or anything that that is his job. Then later, when Iris is innocently (and understandably) talking to Barry about her disappearance, Patty comes up and gives him a big, showy kiss. What this really necessary to do? I have noticed this one and off since the beginning, and while it is obvious that Iris may have some feelings for Barry, Barry has done nothing to give Patty any cause for concern. I am sure this is intentional on part of the writers, and I am curious to see where it goes.
Finally, I have to know: whatever happened to the monorail? In issue 12, the Rogues stole Dr. Elias’s monorail and trapped it into the Mirror World. This has never been reference since. Then again, I would not be surprised if Flash let the Rogues have that one. Flash has a vendetta against monorails.
I sound like I am coming down pretty hard on The Flash #17. It really does, by and large, work. There were just a bunch of little things that kept it from being something great. As I mentioned above, the issue would have been stronger had it been longer. Or, I can also see an argument for this issue being part of a double-sized issue 16 (combine it with last month). On its own, it feels like there was not enough room to address everything that needed to be addressed. But, again, overall, it is a satisfying conclusion to what is probably (hopefully) only the first of many waves from Manapul and Buccellato!