The Flash #15 Gorilla Warfare part 3
After last issue’s cliff-hanger, Barry is left in a coma as his friends rally to save him. Grodd realises that his newfound powers aren’t quite as powerful and all-encompassing as he thought. And Patty has to come to terms with the realisation that Barry is The Flash.
What I liked
· There are a lot of good ideas: I am sorry, I am going to come down pretty hard on this issue. Therefore, as a reprieve I am going to write this nice little preface. The ideas that are contained within this serious are some of the most interesting and exciting from the New 52. It has this amazing Cartoon series feel, where lots of separate components have combined to make bigger components and then those components are played off against other combinations of components (yes, that is a lot of “components”). There is so much potential for, perhaps not the most sophisticated, but an incredibly enjoyable series here. It just falls short due to story-telling and pace.
· The future?: The end of the issue gives nods to particular routes this series could be taking. That doesn’t interest me so much, rather – it is nice to feel that there is a mapped future for this story.
What I didn’t like
I am really regretting the decision to make this week the week I came back to reviewing weekly comics. I am going to come across as harsh, negative and overly-critical. So for that, I apologise, and perhaps next week I will have issues to review which impress me more.
· The series as a whole: Is this a fair criticism to make of this single issue, you ask? Yes. Perfectly so; as this issue highlights exactly what is wrong with the entirety of the series. Let me elaborate:
· The implementation of ideas: The Flash, as a series, has some really good ideas in terms of dynamics: The way the Rogues are currently, some of the Speed Force lore, relationships between characters growing and developing and the multitude of villains already appearing. These are all good ideas and would make this series fantastic if they were at all implemented and built up well. In order to make these ideas fully realised they need to have substance, and in order to have substance they need further explanation and methodical progression.
I realise I am just throwing around a lot of big words and not exactly explaining my point. What I am essentially saying is – the ideas this series has are good out of context, but because they are no explained enough in detail and appear to enter the plot at the spur of the moment, they fall short. As a result this current issue felt like a mess of sudden plot points. Making the current plot boil down to:
1. he Gorilla who attacked Barry as a child was actually New 52 Solovar, who travelled from to the future because the Speed Force randomly told him that he needed Barry to save the world (because...?).
1a. He then enters the scene and is promptly killed by Grodd and is not mentioned again.
2. Gorilla Grodd now has Speed Force powers from essentially a maguffin which didn’t seem to totally power him up (because...?).
3. The Rogues are now protecting the city and being good guys temporarily.
4. The Flash in his coma sees multiple outcomes of the distant future (because...).
5. There’s a subplot about Iris’ brother Daniel who is an Ex-con and runs away from stuff a lot. It’s almost like his only purpose is to pique our interest (what with Iris’ brother being the father of her nephew, Wally?).
The plot needs tightening and needs to stop rushing over important factors. Less ideas – more story.
· Patty: Maybe it was because pre-New 52 Barry was married to Iris, but I never really bought the relationship between Patty and Barry in this current series. They shared a few moments, but ultimately it ended with Barry having a near death experience and henceforth deciding not to reveal to the world, including Patty, that he was still alive. However, in this issue we, as the reader, are almost forced to buy into the idea that Patty and Barry were madly in love. This is another great example of the series having good ideas but not bothering to reach them through any viable means.
In addition, Patty doesn’t seem too fussed that Barry is the Flash. Instead she just recites Nursery Rhymes on his face... no seriously (I don’t get it).
· The Plot: With superhero comics there is some element of “suspension of disbelief”, I accept that. To an extent, it can make these sorts of comics more enjoyable. Yet, in this instance I can’t get behind the insanity which I am reading (and yes, this does link into the fact that they don’t like explaining things and progressing the plot naturally – oh what a surprise). Talking Gorilla’s attacking a city to steal hidden speed powers and seek revenge on The Flash needs to some serious solid writing not to come across as silly.
· Art: The art in this issue wasn’t consistently Brian Buccellato – and really, he is the best bit about reading The Flash.
· Editor’s notes: I’ve said it before. Telling me something in over-the-top exposition which breaks up the flow of the story and then putting *See issue 5 (to read about what we just told you happened) is insulting to my intelligence. Don’t guilt me into buying issues through editor’s notes – write a compelling story which makes me want to read older issues. Thank you.
I say these nasty things because I care. I really do. I want this series to be amazing and, what’s more – I can see every single element that could make it amazing already on the page. This series needs to decide what it’s doing, and then tackle it in a methodical and well-paced way.