We’ve all been there: two issues in your hand, you can only afford one. What is the broke geek to do?! Sean Sorensen is here to guide you in your thrifty comics crusade by providing you with the one issue each week that'll make you say, "Shut up, and take my $5!" It always feels good to get the most "BIF! BAM! POW!" for your buck, doesn’t it?
I’ve spent the past week or so really hating on DC. With Andy Diggle leaving Action Comics and Joshua Fialkov leaving Green Lantern Corps & Red Lanterns before either had written more than a single issue, it looked like the wheels were falling off at DC. So how in the world could a DC book beat out the likes of Fatale, The Legend of Luther Strode, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Uncanny Avengers?
It takes a Flash.
That’s right, folks: The Flash #18 is the one book you should pick up this week.
I promise this has nothing to do with the fact that I am a huge Barry Allen fan. Flash fact. Scout’s honor.
Francis Manapul has shared writing and art duties with Brian Buccellato in the New 52 Flash, but Manapul has taken this month off, leaving Buccellato with the major writing work. I really hope this isn’t indicative of Manapul’s writing (because I love his art), but this was the best issue of The Flash since the New 52 began.
Brian Buccellato pens a truly classic Flash story. We have the return of “Barry Allen: Bartender to the Underworld” (bonus points to Buccellato for hopefully referencing this JLU clip). The Trickster is running around in all of his tricky glory. Barry has to disipline an amatuer hero team called “The Speed Force.” All wonderful, but what really sold me on this issue: Barry is doing detective work again! I love Barry the hero, but I’ve missed his detective work; it’s half the fun! This issue is exactly what this book needed after coming down from the rather drawn out “Speed Force” and “Gorilla” arcs. The Flash was in danger of slowing to a crawl, and Buccellato made it fun again. And really, that’s why this book took top spot. It was an absolute blast to read.
The Flash #18 also has a wonderfully roundabout Star Wars reference. Follow me on this one: The Trickster gets a mechanical arm to replace the one he lost. In the Flash TV show from the early 90s and the JLU animated series, The Trickster was played by Mark Hamill. Mark Hamill played Luke Skywalker. Luke Skywalker has mechanical arm to replace the one HE lost. Eh? Eh? I KNOW, RIGHT?!
#realtalk Francis Manapul is one of my favorite artists, easily in my top five. Normally, when Manapul takes a month off from art duties, the book suffers… but Marcio Takara has come out of nowhere and blown me away. Takara rocks a rougher pencil and makes use of some heavy inks to give the Flash a heavier tone than Manapul’s watercolors. Don’t get me wrong: I still love Manapul’s work, but Takara’s style was pretty damn awesome. With Buccellato’s colors to top it off, The Flash #18 is just an amazing looking book. The only thing it was really lacking was Manapul’s genius manipulation of story panels, but I can forgive that.
The Flash #18 is an absolute blast from cover to cover. It’s probably the most fun I have had reading a comic book in a while. It even topped the horse fight! Buccellato hit this one out of the park. Add Marcio Takara’s art and you have the perfect package. But, what might be the most impressive part about this issue, is that it has convinced me to pick up Dial H #11. Why’s that? Well, you'll just have to go drop $5 on Flash #18 to find out!
But I promise you, it has nothing to do with Dial H #11’s cover, that shit is creepy.