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Time for a new beginning for The Flash with the new writing team of Robert Venditti and Van Jansen. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato’s run was great, but I am all for see what these writers are going to do and for a new take on the character. And that is what we get right out of the gate.
The events of this story take place after the DC Comics event, Forever Evil. I did not read this event, but from what I am gathered, Central City was largely destroyed. This issue picks up sometime after Forever Evil with Flash trying to help the city recover. During this, Barry sits through a psychoanalyst session in order to clear him to return to duty.
I liked the idea of Barry going to see the shrink. It makes sense narratively, and it also sets the tone not only for the Forever Evil aftermath, but what I am seeing what will come from this upcoming arc. Barry has a sense of guilt of not being there to help his city, and wishes he could do more (which we see during this issue given that he often zips away between sentences during his session to help those he sees in need).
This nicely dove takes into the two quick scenes taking place five and then twenty years in the future where we see an older Barry who is guilt ridden about not being able to save a teenage boy. Someone seemingly close to him. Some kid named Wally West.
Anyway, while that theme of “moving forward” was present throughout M&B’s run, perhaps V&V’s run will be defined by overcoming grief and guilt. This issue is already filled with it. Not only with present and future Barry, but with Forrest and Barry’s therapist, Dr. Janus as well.
Speaking of Dr. Janus, I like her character. Granted, not a lot was done with her, but I have a guy feeling that there is a lot to be explored with this character. Hopefully, she’ll stick around as a member of the supporting cast – which I feel will happen given that Barry has to continue with further sessions. Plus, a name like “Dr. Janus” just sounds like a superhero/villain name. Between the mythological connections and how cool it sounds, it would be a waste to just use it on a one-off character.
Brett Booth takes over art duties. He gets a lot of flak on the internet, but I liked his work here. His faces are very expressive, his backgrounds are detailed, and his action shots are exciting. His look is very different from Francis Manapul’s, but that’s a good thing. There is no need to replicate that with a new team. It would just invite unnecessary comparisons. Booth does a fine job here, and I look forward to see what else he has in store.
I feel this will be a good first issue and prologue into this new creative team’s run. They have some big shoes to fill with what M&B already did, and they have quite the challenge by re-introducing Wally West into the DC Universe (look for an editorial on that later this week), but they are off to a solid start. Let’s see where they go!
Next: The Race Against Time Begins in The Flash Annual #3!