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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
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!