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Having fun with Kid Flash and Impulse Iris at DragonCon!

The Mashup Killer! Review of THE FLASH #33

Flash #33As the Future Flash continues his run back to our time, Barry Allen is on two trails (or should I say, three).  Who is the “Mashup Killer”, where is Wally, and why does Barry keep losing time every time he runs?  That’s where we pick up with THE FLASH #33, out today!

LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY

The Central City Police are stretched to their limit and beyond, tracking down the killer or killers of the crew who stole all those super-weapons out of the evidence room during the reign of the Crime Syndicate (in FOREVER EVIL).  One additional aggravation is that Iris West has been on that trail as well…and Singh is in no mood for people to be leaking news to the press.  Still, Iris and Barry talk…about more trouble that Wally may be courting with a group of friends who are leading him the wrong way.  Seven years from now, Future Barry has a confrontation with the future Trickster…with a notable difference from this blue Flash’s other meetings with Rogues in the future.  All this…and the identity of the Mashup Killer…are in issue #33!

Let’s talk Wally just a bit more.  No, Wally has NOT joined a gang – not in the sense of criminals bent on mayhem.  The planned “criminal activity” is still in the realm of petty crimes, even though he could wind up in some real trouble here. Still, he is in the wrong group of friends, and if someone (Barry?) doesn’t turn him around, this new 52 Wally could become the very stereotype of troubled youth very quickly.  Speaking of stereotypes, I still don’t believe that moving into unfortunate stereotypes is the intent of writers Robert Venditti and Van Jensen…but I am hopeful that we will move past this “troubled youth” phase of the story soon.   I still believe good things are ahead for Wally, but I’m getting anxious while waiting for that day to come.

That being said, the overall story by Venditti and Jensen  is very good.  We are seeing that Future Flash hasn’t lost all heart, even though he is VERY different to the Barry we know.  And, the hunt for the Mashup Killer has been excellent – and that story isn’t over yet.  The artwork for this story continues to excel, with Brett Booth’s pencils, Norm Rapmunds inks and Andrew Dalhouse’s colors. The expressions are as amazing as the action sequences throughout this issue.  While the Wally storyline is still a bit worrisome while we wait for the real Wally to step up, this is still an overall well-crafted tale – and I’m still looking forward to what comes next.

Ed Garrett.

The post The Mashup Killer! Review of THE FLASH #33 appeared first on Speed Force.

Interview with Mark Waid at HeroesCon 2014!

We talked with writer, publisher and comic shop owner Mark Waid at HeroesCon 2014 on behalf of TMStash and Speedforce.org about Thrillbent Comics (check it out!), the continuation of EMPIRE at Thrillbent, his take on THE FLASH (including both his take on the New52 Wally West and his comments about the name of the Speed Force itself), Foggy’s health issues in DAREDEVIL and more!  Don’t miss this interview with Mark Waid (just click on the link below)!

Just a note for Flash fans who cannot wait for the Flash-related questions, they start at 3:23…but honestly you should catch the whole thing…and don’t forget to check out Thrillbent.com!

Ed Garrett.

The post Interview with Mark Waid at HeroesCon 2014! appeared first on Speed Force.

Blackest Night DisplayAt Comic-Con International ← Check out my write-ups.
Blackest Night DisplayAt Comic-Con International ← Check out my write-ups.
Jesse Quick as the Flash Ame-Comi StatueAt Comic-Con International ← Check out my write-ups.
The Theory of Relativity (and Relatives) – Review of FLASH ANNUAL #3

Flash Annual 3This Annual gives us an intro to a very much alive Wally West…and it throws in another very familiar name as well…as Venditti and Jensen set the stage for the “Future Flash” arc with a shocking turn for Barry Allen.  Something is very wrong with the future Barry…

LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY

We meet Wally West as he tags a building with a sentiment that is unfortunately very popular among Gem Cities residents – spray painting a circle and slash over a Flash symbol.  After all, the citizens of Central City were hit especially hard by the Crime Syndicate at a time when their hero was nowhere to be found.  Barry stops him, and Wally is taken into the local police station, where Iris comes calling to get her nephew. As it turns out, Daniel is not Iris’ only sibling, and her older brother Rudy is Wally’s father.  But, Rudy ran off a long time ago and Wally’s mother disappeared when the Crime Syndicate hit town.  Add to that the fact that Wally had looked up to his Uncle Daniel (and is still mad at the Flash for sending Daniel to prison)…and we have a young man in desperate need of a positive influence.  Barry and Wally somehow manage to connect briefly…at least enough to keep Iris from learning just who caused Wally to be arrested.  But, Barry has a lot more on his mind, both now and in the future.

It seems that whenever Barry uses his powers, he loses time.  This actually fits with Einstein’s theory…and here, traveling at the Flash’s speed causes a surprising difference in time for the Barry and for everyone else.  We’re starting to see that play out now, and it has very dire omens for the Future Flash…speaking of which…

Future Flash and future Grodd have a battle with serious consequences…and interesting revelations as a name is thrown out that will be VERY familiar to Flash fans.  What happens next is a shocker…but for more you’ll need to grab the issue.

Wally fans will need to wait a bit more to see his full personality emerge – but he is very much alive here and hopefully will remain so at the end of this arc.  For those who are flashing back to Jason Todd stealing the tires off the Batmobile, I get it…but there is an important difference.  Wally isn’t a thief, and doesn’t appear to have a serious prior record.  He is (however inappropriately) expressing the same frustration that a lot of people in the Gem Cities have right now when it comes to the Flash.  And, his reaction to Barry at the police station gives some hope for what could lie ahead…if Barry can keep Wally alive, that is.

Robert Venditti and Van Jensen have some big plans for the Flash, and we’re starting to see just how far they are willing to take Barry.  There will be a bit of timey-wimey confusion here with the Future Flash coming back to prevent his own timeline…and in the end some of what we’ve seen in this issue (and in issue #30) may turn out to have never happened once things are set right.  Still, it is a daring start to this arc, and if nothing else I’m glad to see this team willing to take chances.  The art is divided by time lines, with Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund handling Future Flash, and Ron Frenz and Livesay taking on the present timeline – with Andrew Dalhouse handling colors all around.    There were a couple of panels for the present-day Flash that reminded me of Wally’s running style – no problem there, just a little nod to prior days.  And, the artwork for Future Flash is amazing in it’s detail and execution.

This is an issue that will definitely create a lot of discussion – but there is still much of the story that is yet to be told.  I’m hanging on for the ride here, to see what Venditti, Jensen, Booth and Rapmund have in store for us.  The final verdict on this annual will be told in the way the arc turns out…hopefully we will look back on this one as a must-have collectible.

Ed Garrett.

The post The Theory of Relativity (and Relatives) – Review of FLASH ANNUAL #3 appeared first on Speed Force.

Final Fight! Review of ROGUES REBELLION #6 (of 6)

Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #6 The last issue of FOREVER EVIL: ROGUES REBELLION gives you the very best of the Rogues, in an outstanding story that will definitely leave you wanting more!  Though I’m sad to see this excellent mini-series end, at least this tale ends on a spectacular high note with issue #6.  Let’s get to the review:

LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY

The Crime Syndicate may not be on the scene, but they have called in a high-powered group of bad guys from across the DCU, including Parasite and Grodd!  This battle is not just for the lives of the Rogues, but for the Gem Cities as well!  This calls in all players who are still around the city…including Pied Piper, as we learn more of his story in the New 52.  And, there are more surprises…but let’s not spoil them here.  Let’s just say that the battle is terrific, and the outcome and it’s aftermath give you a sense of the true core of the Rogues.

One of the most pleasant surprises in the FOREVER EVIL storyline has been the appearance of the Rogues as players in the greater DC Universe.  This series, which is sadly ending with issue #6, has given us the Rogues at their best.  Squabbling, dysfunctional, petty, sure…but also a group that lives by their own code, a collection of folks who pull together when the chips are down, and in the end a pretty heroic group of people.  They are presented with almost impossible odds, against a highly powered group of villains from across the DCU, and yet they don’t back down.  This is a group that may want to steal everything in the Gem Cities, but they won’t let anyone else come in and destroy the cities that they still call home.  I rarely get emotional reading a comic…but this was an exception.  There is a nobility in spite of the dysfunction that Brian Buccellato brings out in the script, something special that makes these Rogues unique among all the Rogues Galleries in comics.  As I’ve said many times before, my only complaint is that this isn’t an ongoing series.

Complimenting Buccellato’s great script was some outstanding artwork by Scott Hepburn with colors by Nick Filardi.  There are plenty of amazing scenes in this issue – and great opportunities for the various Rogues to shine.  Don’t miss this one…and I’ll still hold out hope to see something like this starring the Rogues again!e

Ed Garrett.

The post Final Fight! Review of ROGUES REBELLION #6 (of 6) appeared first on Speed Force.

Secrets Revealed! Review of THE FLASH #29

Flash #29We finally come down to one last secret to be revealed as Brian Buccellato bids a fond farewell to The Flash and heads off into the Gotham sunset.  Barry is tracking down the Keystone Killer, but there are other powerful secrets that will be unearthed along the way in this exceptional issue of THE FLASH.

LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY

When we last left The Flash, there was a room full of dead people and the weapon in the hands of Director Singh!  The good news is that Singh didn’t do it…but the bad news is that Darryl Frye has left the scene to take on the spirit of the Keystone Killer personally!  This issue is as much about Barry Allen and his training as a crime scene investigator as it is about The Flash.  As he tracks down both Darryl and the Keystone Killer, DNA plays a very important part of the story – with some very interesting revelations.  To get the rest of this tale, you’ll need to grab FLASH #29.

Buccellato’s script takes us back to the core of Barry himself – the inquisitive kid who grew up to be a police scientist, the basic good guy who represents hope in spite of the tragedy in his life.   Agustin Padilla’s pencils/inks and Matt Hollingsworth’s color were excellent for this issue.  The running sequences seemed to be a mix of Manapul and Infantino…and it worked really well.  And, the Keystone Killer was rendered amazingly well.  This is the last issue for Brian Buccellato as he and Francis Manapul move on to DETECTIVE COMICS (due out next week).  Anyone who has read my prior reviews knows that I’m a big fan of M&B – and this was an excellent issue to end the run.

Ed Garrett.

The post Secrets Revealed! Review of THE FLASH #29 appeared first on Speed Force.

History’s BIG Mystery – Review of The Flash #27

Flash #27 CoverThis issue of The Flash begins a three-parter in which Brian Buccellato gets to wrap up some story threads before moving over to Detective with Francis Manapul.  Looks like these are very important threads, as we start to delve into the biggest mystery of all for Barry Allen…

LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY

This story happens prior to the events in “Forever Evil”, which is why we can still find Chroma (a re-imagining of Rainbow Raider), Tar Pit…and later on Girder in this story.  While foiling a robbery by Chroma and Tar Pit, Flash discovers a boneyard…one left behind by a mysterious serial killer.  At first, they blame it on the “Broome Hill Butcher” (10 points for those who get the connection of that name, and kudos to Buccellato for including that here).  But, these murders happened after the “Butcher” was jailed.  Why does Darryl Frye not want Barry to look into this?  Why does Barry’s father clam up when this is mentioned?  There’s a LOT more to this tale, with some interesting revelations in this issue and even more yet to come as this story moves forward.

Brian Buccellato continues to write exceptional stories for The Flash – if he and Manapul continue at this level in Detective, then we have some amazing Bat-stories in store for us.  Patrick Zircher’s artwork (pencils and inks, with colors by Matt Hollingsworth) is great, with excellent expression throughout, and a great sense of drama reflected in the illustrations.

This story arc looks as though we will see some critical elements of Barry’s personal history re-established for the New 52.  There are some revelations teased here that likely will be revisited before we’re through, not to mention the possibility of finally solving the one cold case that has eluded Barry all this time.  If you have followed Barry at all in the New 52, this is a story arc that you need to grab.

 

Ed Garrett.

The post History’s BIG Mystery – Review of The Flash #27 appeared first on Speed Force.