Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

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Speed Reading! – The Flash #21

"Reverse, Part 2"

“Reverse, Part 2”

I am of two minds regarding this issue.  The story itself, featuring the first New 52 meeting of Flash and Bart “Kid Flash” Allen, works very well.  Not surprisingly, it is a giant foot chase across the globe.  Thinking that the speed-force killer is somehow related to Kid Flash, Flash tracks him down to get some info.  The younger hero wants none of it and bolts away.  Turns out, Bart has nothing to do with the speed force killer, so Barry decides to refocus on finding Gomez.

During the chase, Bart acts like a bratty jerk who thinks he doesn’t need any assistance or help with his issues.  This is also known as being a teenager.  This is not a criticism.  It makes sense why Bart would act like this – he thinks Barry is coming after him because he took the “Flash” name.  His impulsive nature (which the issue makes reference to as a little wink) has always been a trademark of the character.  His behavior here seems inline for a first meeting, especially under these conditions.  This worked, and it sets some things up for a potential future plot line concerning Kid Flash.

On the other hand, where this issue suffers is that, by the end of it, we learn that it was all just a waste of time.  Kid Flash has nothing to do with the speed force killer (which the audience already knew to begin with), and nothing happens to bring Kid Flash into the “Reverse” story arc.  Nothing in this arc was pushed forward other than the death of Gomez (and, arguably, the scenes with Iris and her brother).

The Kid Flash story seems so out of place.  I almost wonder if this meeting was editorially mandated and Manapul and Buccellato just inserted it here.  I do not want to think that, but it just seems forced.  Not that false leads shouldn’t happen in a mystery, but the first meeting between characters like these shouldn’t amount to nothing.  Maybe I am wrong.  Maybe Kid Flash will return to this arc in a few issues and become a key player.

So, that’s my take on the issue.  The story and meeting between Flash and Kid Flash is great!  I loved the interaction and the art.  But in the context of the “Reverse” storyline, it seems shoe-horned in.  I cannot see it working well when reading it in a collected edition.

Next: Flash vs. Reverse-Flash!


6 responses to “Speed Reading! – The Flash #21

  1. CraigimusMaximus July 3, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    That’s my whole problem with the Flash series since it began. The stories are okay if they’re left as stand-alone issues, but subplots take forever to get resolved (how many issues were Iris and the others left in the Speed Force?), and some things just come out of nowhere for no reason (the guy who’s name I forget becoming Flash’s friend and then stealing his powers/turning people against him), Barry letting everyone think he died, getting a job as a bartender only to have it magically get resolved a few issues later, Piper and his cop boyfriend who made two appearances and then disappeared). Sloppy, sloppy writing. The artwork is usually nice, but it wasn’t enough to keep me from dropping the book after issue #20.

    • Nick! September 5, 2013 at 9:13 pm

      I disagree with much of what you say. While there are always bumps in the road, comics have always utilized long-form storytelling since at least the 1970s and has typically been a celebrated part of it. If your complaint is that the subplots are not being resolved quickly enough, then your issue is less with this run of The Flash and more with traditional comic book storytelling.

      • CraigimusMaximus September 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm

        Its not about them not being resolved quickly enough. Its about them being entirely forgotten only to resurface later in a ham-fisted way that makes no narrative sense. It’s like “oh, I forgot about character B. Let’s bring him back but I don’t want to bother with the story we had planned for him. Let’s write him completely out of character and maybe people will forget where we going the first time around”.

        • Nick! September 5, 2013 at 10:35 pm

          While Iris and Co. were in the Speed Force for a while, did every issue need to have a scene with them? I don’t think they did. It seemed pretty obvious that M&B had a plan on where they were going. Maybe you didn’t like that plan, but that doesn’t mean it was sloppy writing or ham-fisted. Everything occurred in a naturalistic way and while I’ll admit the resolution of the Gorilla Warfare arc might have been a bit too clean, it is far from the disaster you are painting it as.

  2. Pingback: Speed Reading! – The Flash #22 | The Culture Cast with Zack and Nick

  3. Pingback: Speed Reading! – The Flash #24 | The Culture Cast with Zack and Nick

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