Faster Than the Speed of Love
There's a lot going on in this issue, and I wonder if it was really the right time to get into the backstory of Barry and Iris, as much as I enjoyed the scene by itself. It made this issue feel a little less substantial, since there's not a whole lot of movement on the plot itself. After his epiphany last issue, Barry somberly heads into the only possible victory he can foresee; surrendering himself to Grodd. This of course turns out to be a cheap tension builder by the writers as 'surrender to Grodd' really means 'PRETEND to surrender to Grodd.' Why did he need to make Patty think it was a true surrender, why make her worry?
The Rogues get to be seriously heroic this issue, and I can see why these guys have been Flash's iconic foes. They're a really interesting group with a variety of personalities, and now that they have actual powers their potential is limitless. Plus, considering the huge effort they're making to help save the city, I think following issues are going to deal with them being seen to the public in a new light. Their teamwork is excellent, and they have a great aptitude for strategy. Now that they're working together, if they continue menacing The Flash, he's in real trouble.
I'm wondering what Manapul is trying to do with Barry's romantic life via Patty Spivot vs. Iris West. Yes, I know that pre-New 52 Barry and Iris were married. But that's been retconned so that new tales can be told with The Flash. To be honest, Barry and Patty are making an amazing couple and I'm going to be incredibly frustrated if they have to break that up just to put Barry back with who was with before. It's like the way Wonder Girl and Superboy are being forced together despite the painfully grating incompatibility with the radically different new versions of the characters. You need to BUILD the relationship for it to work, and this series has been building the Barry/Patty coupling. But given that this issue has us find out how Barry and Iris' one and only date together went wrong, the fact that despite her deception she did have feelings for him, and her appearance as the cliffhanger; I'm nervous about what's to come.
We also get a nice little teaser for the upcoming debut of a new Reverse Flash. If you think about it, it's pretty obvious who it is, but it's still given to us with some pretty nice subtlety.
In Conclusion: 4/5
Despite my complaints, this was one of the better issues of The Flash, and a HUGE improvement over last month's atrocity. It's not perfect, but Francis Manapul draws some gorgeous artwork and brilliant layouts, and this story seems to have direction once again. Most of my concerns were about the possible future, not necessarily flaws within this issue alone.