Monday, 18 May 2015

The Flash Vol. 5: History Lessons (The New 52) Review

The Flash Vol. 5: History Lessons (The New 52)

Remember that issue where The Flash
fought Flubber?
Writer: Brian Buccellato

Artist: Patrick Zircher

Collects: The Flash #26-29 and The Flash Annual #2

Background Information:

In previous volumes, The Flash has been through all of the greatest villains in his mythos. He's taken on the Rogues, Gorilla Grodd, and Reverse Flash. He even tackled a new villain called Mob Rule (who I hope makes a return one day). The book was bolstered by the work of Francis Manapul, who doubled as excellent writer and artist, resulting in one of the best-looking books of the New 52.

Review:

Then Francis Manapul moved on, and we now have... this.

This...

Yep, that's what it is.

It's pretty clear that Manapul was the best part of The Flash. I expected that in History Lessons, I'd feel the void left by his artwork, but it's Manapul's writing that I've found making the biggest impact on the book, and Brian Buccelatto's work doesn't fill that void. Like, at all.

Please DC, PLEEAAASSEEE make this an ongoing!
History Lessons starts with an admittedly excellent Annual, telling the story of a great Flash/Green
Lantern team-up. The two get teleported to an arena world to fight a bunch of monsters. It's not a deep story, but I can't begin to tell you how much I want to see a Green Lantern/The Flash ongoing. It's an insanely fun tale; Hal and Barry bicker back and forth, there's dialogue that I was expecting to see more in a Marvel movie; not a DC comic. I can't help but love this issue.

But that's where the fun ends. What follows is an utterly forgettable story where Barry follows a string of murders to do battle with a ghost. Deadman makes an appearance here, but it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that there isn't point to the whole thing.


"Ladies, there's plenty of me to go
around!"
Okay, the story does tie into the fact that Barry has spent years trying to prove that his father didn't kill his mother, and there is some foreshadowing of what I hope will be a good reveal when Robert Venditti takes over, but that's not enough. There's no reason to care about what's going on here. I can't even remember how the Flash wins, or even what the ghost's name is. It's a story that feels pointless; the kind where any super hero could take Flash's place, and that makes for something unengaging at best. Overall, Buccellato's writing like he knows that he's done with The Flash, and that hurts.

Patrick Zircher isn't even a bad artist, he's just not as good as Manapul. There's none of that fast and furious panelling, those times when you just realise that the book was written to be drawn. What you get is some decent art that fails to live up to what went before.

If you haven't been reading The Flash until now, I recommend skipping History Lessons and waiting until volume 6 comes out; Robert Venditti is doing some controversial things with Barry and his supporting cast, but at least he's not writing to fill in time. History Lessons gets a two and a half out of five unnameable ghosts.

** 1/2

+ The Green Lantern/Flash issue.
- Everything else feels like a fall from grace.

Alternate Option: The Flash: Move Forward

Start at the beginning, when The Flash was far better.