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The Flash Annual #1 - United They Fall Review

5

It's Flash against the Rogues. Find out if he gets any help along with how the Rogues' powers evolved to what they are today.

The Good

Being one year into the New 52, anytime we can get a flashback is good. We know the basic history of Barry Allen but there's still so much we're not fully sure whether or not they happened. We are about to get a 'zero' issue next month which should give us more details of Barry Allen's past but this annual begins with a flashback involving Barry and his dad. This gives us a little insight into the struggle that Barry is facing over the death/murder of his mom. This clearly won't be the last we see of Barry's dad.

More importantly we get another flashback showing a little history on the Rogues. Since they've started appearing the past few months, we discovered that their powers have changed. They no longer rely on weapons and have somehow become metahumans. The answer to how is so simple but makes perfect sense. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are crafting a great story and establishing a great nemesis for Barry.

Seeing the flashback with the Rogues also fills us in as to why there is turmoil among them. Captain Cold hasn't exactly been welcomed by the other members and we see the action continue from THE FLASH #12. Along with this, there is also another development from a few issues ago that will make you grit your teeth as you have to wait to find out where it's going to lead.

The great thing about the art is Francis Manapul does the breakdowns for the entire issue. You can see his style of how the pages and panels are laid out clearly visible despite other artists doing the pencils and inks. I especially loved the perspective in the first page of Chapter 5.

This is an action packed annual that should not be missed if you're reading the main series.

The Bad

While we do have Manapul's breakdowns, we also have five different artists: Marcus To, Scott Kolins, Diogenes Neves, Marcio Takara and Wes Craig. One of my pet peeves about comics is when there's multiple artists on a single issue. Luckily the annual is divided into chapters and each artist does a great job. The presence of Manapul's breakdowns also helps to give it all a slightly unified feel. In other words, I was willing to overlook this usual gripe of mine when multiple artists are needed.

It's also unfortunate that this issue continues directly from THE FLASH #12. Annuals should have a separate self-contained feel to them. They should be a great oversized issue full of action and adventure with the character. There's also a big cliffhanger that will lead in directly to THE FLASH #13. There are huge events happening here that makes the issue worth reading so hopefully regular Flash readers won't miss this issue when they visit their local comic shop.

The Verdict

Getting two issues of THE FLASH this month has been a treat. This annual continues the story of the newly reformed Rogues against Flash. This isn't the same Rogues Flash has faced before as their powers have been augmented and we finally get to discover how this came to be. The explanation adds a new layer to the series and it's going to be spectacular when Barry finds out what happened. Francis Manapul does the breakdowns on the entire issue but there are five other (talented) artists that do the pencils and inks. This makes the comic feel a little disjointed but you can feel Manapul's design influence on the issue. This issue is important for readers of the regular series and we get a pretty big set up for the events after next month's 'zero' issue. If you're digging Manapul and Buccellato's THE FLASH, there is no questioning whether or not you need to read this annual.

18 Comments
Posted by Video_Martian

Woohoo, The Rogues!!!  Looks like I'm gonna have to make a trip to the comic shop!  :D

Posted by zachkastner

I've said this before, but man, having Kolins' art on some of the flashbacks is a stroke of brilliance. It made all of the previous "pre-52" verse history of The Rogues transition over so much better. Namely from Kolins' own run on The Flash with Johns. Even if Wally was in the suit then, it 'headcanons'so much easier.

Posted by pspin

This was a great issue, Captain Cold is kind of a badass now compared to his old version.

Posted by zackattack529

This was the best out of all the new 52 annuals so far. i enjoyed this issue from beginning till the end! i was also very much okay with the guest artist for the different chapters.

4.5/5

i just hate i have to wait 2 WEEKS to continue the story!? X/ haha

Posted by noj

LOVED the issue! It was such a great surprise to see Scott Kolins drawing the Flash again especially since I had no idea it was coming. While this was a 5 star issue for me the one small complaint I had with it was that the worst art in the issue was during the big Flash/Rouges fight. This seems like it would be the point where the art should have been at its best, either with Manapul himself drawing it or Scott Kolins drawing it but instead the art was really wonky.

I very much disagree about the whole annual format issue youve been having. Having the annual be simply a stand alone story (which is more often than not sup par with sub par art to boot) can be fun but is often pointless. The extra pages allotted to the annual really help the story be told better and this issue wouldn't have worked as well as two single issues. Think of the annual as being the climax of a years worth of stories.

Posted by Utandi

Nice!

Posted by batflash09

Awesome issue. I'm so glad that this series has finally picked up again. Seeing all The Rogues together again is great.

Posted by sinestro_GL

As soon as I read the final page, I was thinking 'WHAT?! Now I have to wait until freakin' October to find out what happens?!?!'

Great issue, and as ever, I'm loving this n52 run of 'The Flash' - no pun intended.

Posted by sethysquare

it was so im left thinking. omg whats going to happen after the rogues. I mean they've thrown all their cards on the table already. Other than bringing back Eobard Thawne, theres really not much atories that could be as exciting as the rogues already right? I love this issue though. I wish we can get a spinoff book titled the rogues.

Posted by kennybaese

I get the sentiment that "annual issues should be a standalone story" but given that I've seen that complaint on literally every single review for an annual issue on the site in the last couple of weeks, maybe that just isn't the case anymore? I mean, the last couple of Batman and TEC annuals were two part stories that tied into each. All of the New 52 annuals that I can think of have tied directly into their current story arcs. Most of the Marvel annuals that have come out recently have been three part stories that tied into other character's annuals. I just feel like this complaint isn't really valid anymore. Maybe that's just me.

Anyway, I'm excited to pick this issue up today when I finally have time to hit the comic shop. The interior on this book has been consistently great Manapul and Buccellato or no, but they've really been killing the covers on this series. So rad.

Posted by _Black

Anybody want to spoil it for me? I'm not going to be able to buy this.

Posted by Zoch81

I enjoyed this issue a lot it was great seeing all Rouges I liked how it explained how got their powers plus battle with Flash was great I also thought art was also good overall enjoyed this issue.

Posted by DarthShap

It was a really good issue, I loved it.

However, if the whole point behind the editorial decision to give them redesigns and real superpowers was to make them cooler (which in my opinion was a bad idea because they worked as ostensibly lame characters), it failed because they are basically just as inefficient and goofy as they used to be. They just look more EXTREEEEEEEEEEME!

Posted by LordRequiem

Lovely cover, some of Flash's rogues are pretty cool.

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Posted by carnivalofsins00

Me, personally, while I love Francis Manapul's artwork, would have given this issue a 3. Lately, I haven't really been liking where this series has been headed. It had a great start, but now I'm mostly staying on for Manapul and Buccellato's art.

Posted by DocFishstick

wish I would of picked this one up but I picked up the superman one and I did not care for it.

Posted by Humanoid

Loved this and I actually liked the ending. I'm just bummed out we have to wait until October to see what happens. CC's line though was just fantastic.

Posted by Americanson

My local comic store was out of stock for this