- Title: Arrow – The Scientist
- wiki: link
As Moira (Susanna Thompson) returns to Queen Consolidated over Isabel Rochev‘s (Summer Glau) concerns, Oliver (Stephen Amell) investigates a break-in by one of Brother Blood‘s (Kevin Alejandro) enhanced soldiers (Graham Shiels) and Arrow gets one of its most prestigious guest-stars yet when a criminal scientist from Central City named Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) arrives in town to investigate the odd case. As Barry and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) work (and make goo-goo eyes) together, Oliver has Diggle (David Ramsey) look into the jumpy young scientist who hasn’t been completely honest with his personal reasons for coming to Starling City.
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The Flash #25, a one-shot Zero Year adventure giving us Barry Allen‘s first meeting with Iris West in Gotham City, marks the end of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato’s run on what for me has been one of the rare highlights of the New 52. In his final issue Manapaul shares the art duties with Chris Sprouse for a Flash adventure that happens well before Barry’s accident or his first run in scarlet-colored spandex.
Although it takes place in Gotham rather than Central City, the comic is a nice wrap-up in terms of finally offering us not only Barry and Iris’ first meeting but the couple’s first kiss as well. The storyline of a highly inflammatory street drug name Icarus, and the corruption of the Gotham Police Department, takes a back seat to Barry’s heroic actions well-before receiving the gift of super-speed and his first encounter with Iris.
I’m going to miss Manapual’s beautiful kinetic style that fit the character perfectly. And given the continuing disappointment of much of the rest of the New 52 I’m a little scared to see where The Flash goes from here. Worth a look.
Issue #24 finally ties up the Reverse-Flash storyline (which, since it was teased for months before it ever began, seems like it’s taken nearly a whole year to get through) with Barry Allen taking back the power of the Speed Force Danny West stole from him to travel back into time and murder his father. Although co-writers Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato underline the moral of the story, and the reverse nature of the New 52 version of the character, he’s a far cry from the far more interesting original villain to use the name.
Following the return to the present there’s enough time for the Flash to threaten the duplicitous Dr. Elias and even do a little dancing with his girl Patty Spivot (while making an appropriate puntastic joke).
Two full years since the launch of the New 52, The Flash has seen its ups and downs but it has consistently offered (mostly) good stories and (always) great art. The latest issue of The Flash sets the stage to begin the new chapter with the hero back in control of his life and powers, and everything, at least for now, seeming back to normal. Worth a look.
Although (like most DCU characters since the New 52 reboot) The Rogues are merely shadows of their former selves, The Rogues #1 is a fair bit better than the wretchedly awful Reverse-Flash #1. Of course since The Flash has already spent time fleshing out the history of The Rogues and their unnecessary power-infusion, there’s actually not much for this latest Forever Evil tie-in issue to do.
The main purpose of The Rogues #1 is to restate the tension between Captain Cold and the rest of the team following their power upgrades, retrieve The Trickster from prison, and return the trapped Mirror Master from the mirror realm (at the cost of Glider). Sadly, the team is still without Captain Boomerang (who is stuck leading the New 52 version of the Suicide Squad).
The last part of the issue catches up with the events of Grodd #1 as The Rogues find themselves once again forced to play hero and save their city from the gorilla invasion as the Flash and the rest of the Justice League have been taken out by the Secret Society of Super-Villains. For fans.
I’ve been very selective in my choices for the villain .1 issues DC has put out as part of their Forever Evil tie-in. Some have been okay, while others have been mass printed travesties (kind of like the New 52 in general). I was hopeful for The Flash #23.2 as timing actually matched up well for co-writers Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato to offer up the origins of the New 52′s version of the Reverse-Flash. As my pal Aaron likes to say, some presents are best left unwrapped.
There’s really no kind way to state how awful this comic truly is. I can’t lay the blame at artist Scott Hepburn who does a fair, if somewhat uninspired, job standing in for Manapul. I can, however, blame the two writers who spend an entire issue focusing on what only can be described as a whiny bitch of a character.
This comic, and Danny West‘s constant complaining, are brutally uninteresting. He whines about his childhood. He whines about his father. He whines about the accident that gave him super-powers. He whines, in case you haven’t gotten the point, incessantly.
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The basic premise of these Forever Evil .1 tie-in issues is to show fans what the bigger name villians get up to when the heroes of the DCU disappear. This is problematic for the obvious reason that you’re buying a comic to see the hero’s adventures and with The Flash #23.1 it’s also an issue as the New 52 version of Grodd is fare less interesting than the original.
What made Grodd originally interesting (and ridiculous) was the character’s great intellect shoved into a gorilla’s body. Here we’re left with a brutal warrior without the cunning or charm of the original.
On the eve of a peaceful Gorilla City officially becoming a neighbor of Central City (so much for the invisible African home) a Speed-Force-infused Grodd shows up to take control of his former warriors leading to bloodshed. Yeah, it’s Planet of the Apes.
It’s not a bad issue and its competently told, but without the Flash, regular co-writer and artist Francis Manapaul, or a willingness to embrace the absurdity of the hero’s Rogues it does feel a bit flat. Hit-and-Miss.
As the Flash battles the New 52′s version of the Reverse-Flash, Iris West will make a startling discovery about the man behind the killings of those tied to the Speed Force and her connection to him. I have mixed feelings about our new Reverse-Flash, however, the reveal that the killer is Daniel West leaves Professor Zoom (and kick-ass yellow costume) safe from the New 52 reboot, at least for now.
After teasing us for months ago an altercation between the two speedsters, The Flash #23 with several panels of the action and the unfortunate fallout from Iris’ discovery. There is also a nice B-story centered around Barry missing dinner with Patty’s parents and the cost of living the super-hero life as even the Fastest Man Alive can’t be everywhere at once.
The reveal of Daniel West was unexpected, and we’ll have to wait until at least next month to discover his story. I’m also wondering if this isn’t the first step to introduce another member of the West family. Worth a look.
- Title: Superman: The Animated Series – Speed Demons
- wiki: link
With a new Superman in now in theaters every now and then I’ll continue to take a look back at the hero’s more memorable moments on both the big and small screen. Who’s faster, Superman (Tim Daly) or the Flash (Charlie Schlatter)? That’s a question DC Comics has teased its readers with several times over the years without ever really coming to a definitive answer. “Speed Demons” capitalizes on the Silver Age concept of a public race between the heroes and the inevitable attacks of a super-villain that leave us without a true winner.
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The second Flash Annual gives a look back at the first meeting between the Flash and Green Lantern, their first mission together to Arena World, and the pair’s return a couple of year’s later to make due on the promise Hal Jordan made to save the two heroes and the dozens of Earth’s children kidnapped to be turned into future gladiators.
Although the annual is missing the ongoing series’ artist and co-writer Francis Manapul (who does give us the issue’s cover), writer Brian Buccellato and Sami Basri offer up a strong Flash/GL team-up longtime fans of both characters should enjoy complete with their trademark banter.
The aliens return to hold GL to their deal and the pair of heroes are stuck fighting in a gladiatorial combat. When the Flash’s speed slowly begins to wane and Green Lantern gets taken down, Hal offers Barry the use of the ring. Although his super-sped-up brain allows him to master it relatively quickly (which is pretty cool), he’s unprepared for how much a single will-power-induced construct can take out of a guy (by targeting the enemy’s crotch).
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- Title: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
- IMDB: link
Alternate reality stories are nothing new in comics. Although not originally designed for that purpose, Flashpoint became a major storyline in DC Comics to help the publisher transition from the established DCU continuity to that of their New 52 reboot. Spanning more than 75 issues the story centered around the Flash finding himself trapped in a darker version of the world he knew with heroes similar, yet different, from those he called friends, and a war between Atlantis and Themyscira threatening to destroy the Earth.
The results of Flashpoint were mixed at best and I certainly wasn’t expecting much when I heard DC had chosen the project for their latest straight-to-DVD feature. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is actually pretty good and arguably the best animated feature the company has put out over the last couple of years since Batman: Under the Red Hood.
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