Written by: Joshua Williamson
Art by: Neil Googe
Publisher: DC Comics
The Flash has been a bit of a frustrating read so far. I’ve been a big fan of Joshua Williamson’s other work on titles like Birthright, but so far something just hasn’t been clicking with Flash. It certainly has it’s charms and feels a little retro at times in terms of dialogue and plotting, though I’m not sure how much that is intentional and how much is just clunky writing. The newest issue shares many of the same issues, but really amps up some of the nostalgic charm that makes it quite hard to hate, despite some things not working on a technical level.
The newest issues features the long awaited meeting of the new Kid Flash with the original Wally West Kid Flash which not only leads to one of the best covers of Rebirth so far, but also quite a fun issue that spotlights some of the Flash family. The issue’s plot is however a little weird pace wise. It starts simple enough with Barry training the new Kid Flash, before things get out of hand and require the original Wally West to get involved. From here though, things get a little confusing as more visions of the future affect Barry, and for some reason make him turn evil? It’s a little weird, especially since the meeting of two Kid Flashes seems like enough to drive the story, and the “turned evil” moment mostly serves just to make evil Barry let slip some revelations to new Wally that could’ve been dealt with naturally through character interaction rather than forcing them out now to speed up to story (revelations that mostly deal with brushing up continuity, therefore making their impact a little flat and often forced). The issue does towards the end however start dealing more directly with the Flash’s investigations into the new Rebirth timelines and the missing 10 years, so any fans desperate for more clues to that story should definitely check that out, including a very exciting last page reveal.
The issue however does do a few great things though that keep things charming and fun, as the series has mostly been despite its roughness around the edges; these are the inclusion of MUH BOI WALLY (!), and setting the issue at Hallowe’en (which has no real baring on the book’s quality, I just love stuff like that). Having both Wally’s team up is definitely a fun experience and something I’d like to see more of, especially since the idea of family is so central to the Flash mythos and I admire Williamson trying to get back to this. The ending especially hints at even more of this to come, but I won’t spoil it. Their interaction is pretty fun and something that I definitely want to see more of, I don’t feel it’s too confusing for new fans having two versions of Wally, especially since they feel different enough, and it feels like a nice development for OG Wally to have someone new to train.
The art by Neil Goole is, like the script, definitely charming although a bit rough around the edges. His art has that same kinetic style as Di Giandomenico that keeps the book feeling fun, though his proportions can sometimes feel a little odd or awkward that breaks the immersion of the story a bit. I appreciate straying from reality in order to make something look more exciting or kinetic, but often these poses and characters stray too far from standard anatomy making them look awkward or strange rather than intense. Other than that though, the art feels nicely fun and exciting with plenty of big moments to keep things at a fast pace, and has that certain touch that makes The Flash feel fun.
Overall, The Flash #9 is another issue that I had a lot of fun reading, but also couldn’t help but feel that it’s something I wouldn’t recommend if I wasn’t so attached to the property. There’s just a lot of odd pacing issues, and some really clunky dialogue that doesn’t feel like Williamson’s usually skilled pen. I won’t lie, I look forward to the title every month and find at least something to keep me entertained and coming back for more, especially as I feel it’s building to something great with the Rebirth stuff, though I feel a lot of that is my personal bias for the franchise. There are certainly worse comics out there, and I still fall into the “liking it” camp, but I can’t help but feel the book isn’t reaching the full potential it could.