the_mighty_monarch's The Flash #18 - The Heroes' Journey review

The Fast and.... I Can't Finish This Pun, Too Obvious

Huh, I feel like Buccellato writes a much smoother issue than when he splits the writing duties with Manapul. There's none of the usual wild pacing flaws I've come to expect from this series, and the thing actually reads well from beginning to end. Well... mostly. The beginning's a little off because of the way it just dumps the 'Speed Force' onto our laps. Suddenly we find out that about half the people who were in the Speed Force (the repeated name is vaguely clever, but kind of obnoxious when we have to talk about both of them) have been given super powers. I think. Is Sprint actually super fast? It's never explicitly stated or shown, and Turbo Charger spends his entire debut on a hoverbike, what are his powers if any? And of course doesn't any of them remember the fact that THEY LEFT SOMEONE BEHIND!??!

I'm not 100% sure I understand Barry's point here in trying to shut down the Speed Force (team). He makes the case that they're amateurs, they make the case that he can help or lead them, and he makes the countercase that he's no expert himself and can't lead them. Make up your mind Barry, are they too inexperienced or are you?

I actually quite enjoyed Marcio Takara's fill-in art on this issue. It's on a nice short arc between big stories, and it fits that tone. But more than that, it just looks good for The Flash. There's not a ton of detail, but the facial expressions still manage to be great; and the action's pretty good too.

While I've seen other people criticize the seeming suddenness of The Outlanders, I was fine with them and bothered more by the suddenness of Speed Force. The Outlanders are an interesting group, not with long term potential unless they get some more prominent members, but beyond that they're a fully close-knit anarchist society. They're the start of an anarchy, the kind that seems like a good idea to those involved because they know everyone involved. It's a bit like Squatopia from Xavier: Renegade Angel, or Meteor City from Hunter x Hunter. Their anarchist sovereign nation mentality has an interesting but clearly ignored contrast with their 'we are all family and seek revenge when outsiders wrong us' hive mind kind of m.o. Trickster fits in so damn well with these guys, but he's clearly stuck a bit between them and his emotional ties to real, normal society. If there's one thing Manapul and Buccellato have been doing right on this series, it's that they've done such a great job at redefining the Rogues while sticking to their roots, and Trickster is no exception, just being taken in his own unique direction away from the others.

But I think the real highlight of this issue is in some of the softer, calmer moments. The Flash is settling into a unique normal life, getting some nice spotlights on it. This issue has one of the best 'aftermath' tones after a massively explosive arc without being overwhelmed by it. Grodd destroyed SO MUCH of the city, and Flash is doing his part to rebuild it. But what really got me, was the way his home life is going with Patty. Manapul and Buccellato are really taking Barry in a great new direction that meshes well enough with his old one. From all I've seen, I much prefer Patty as a love interest for Barry. Iris is certainly her own character, but she shares some significant similarities with Lois Lane. Patty's interesting, connected to Barry, and kind of adorable in an odd way.

In Conclusion: 4/5

There's some misses here, but overall this is a smooth issue, the kind we need more of in The Flash. I liked the guest art, the concepts are nice, and the execution was a bit improved.

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