Barry tracks down the Mashup Killer, attempts to get Wally on the straight and narrow and we get a glimpse of the future Flash driving backward through time in the latest issue of The Flash.
Venditti and Jensen are juggling a few balls in this issue, wrapping up the Mashup storyline while checking up on Wally and setting the table for the upcoming Futures End event. The script of this one is pretty straightforward, especially the first half of the issue, though it isn’t poorly written. The strength of the issue grows toward the end, with the writing duo throwing down some really interesting info to cap the issue and get readers hyped for Futures End. They have settled into this title well, giving the characters strong voices that fit with their storytelling style, and there is still a level of tension and excitement from the existence (and future) of Wally West. Each page he is on is electric, and Venditti and Jensen are handling that ongoing plot thread very well. The strength of those pages actually diminishes the somewhat by-the-book first portion of the issue, and I felt like this comic got cut off just as it was really firing up. This bodes well for the Futures End issue, but as a wrap up for this arc it is a somewhat mixed bag as they writers are settling in nicely, but the payoff for the Mashup Killer was lacking.
Brett Booth’s art is, for the most part, quite solid, and he’s never better than when he is penciling Barry Allen as The Flash. Both current Flash and Future Flash…and hell, the minor appearance from the Reverse Flash, all fly off the page, the energy emanating from the characters pulling readers directly into the Speed Force. There are a couple shakier moments with non-costumed characters, as Iris West looks so skinny that it is distracting, but this is a relatively minor quibble when looking at the issue as a whole. Booth is a solid fit for this title, and he brings a lot of energy to the book. His artwork drives the story forward well, and even though the initial portion of the issue is rather predictable, Booth’s layouts keep it visually intriguing. This is a creative team that could do some great things on The Flash with a long run, and I’m looking forward to seeing Booth light up Central City some more with everyone’s favourite speedster.
The Flash #34 is an issue that moves at a rapid pace (ha!) diving through storylines at a good clip and accomplishing a fair amount. The first half of the issue is eclipsed by the latter half, but the end goal of preparing for Futures End is certainly achieved. The Flash is in good hands and I look forward to seeing more of what this crew has in store for Barry, and maybe even more so, Wally West.
The Verdict: 7.0/10