An iconic Flash villain makes his appearance in the New 52 as Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato speed into their final volume of The Flash.
…and they are as good as ever. Manapul and Buccellato are one of those magical collaborations that happens sometimes in comics that are like lightning in a bottle. These two work brilliantly together, and the aforementioned lightning effect from their work gives The Flash an electricity like readers haven’t seen in a long time. This volume highlights the strengths of this creative team as they flesh out another villain for Barry, and put a great spin on the Reverse Flash. They are locked in on these characters, and their dialogue and visuals bring a lot of subtle storytelling into this title that enriches the ongoing narrative and makes readers truly care about these relationships.
There is a magnetism between Barry and Iris whenever the two are on the page, yet Manapul and Buccellato write a compelling Patty so well that readers feel the torn emotions of Barry at all times. The strength of this title has been solidified by their skilled handling of the characters around Barry, and this volume highlights that. Barry and Iris are at the forefront of this volume, which includes the Reverse arc and the Zero Year issue of The Flash. Both the arc itself and the Zero Year issue build these characters well and put them in a “good” place going forward. The two creators have built a great foundation for these characters in the New 52, and have solidified The Flash as a major player in the DCU.
This volume is flat out entertaining, with The Flash going up against one of his most iconic and dangerous foes. The speed flies off of the pages, and the dynamic storytelling of the artwork is jaw dropping. The kinetic energy flying around these pages is intense and the motion captured in the artwork is brilliant. This volume features some of the best Flash artwork I have ever seen, and Manapul and Buccellato capture speed so very well. This is as good as superhero books look, with wonderful design complimenting strong pencils and colour work.
This volume is strong, though I found the Villains Month issue and the Zero Year issue did stall the story somewhat. Neither are poorly crafted, but they didn’t have a positive affect on the momentum of the story and stick out in the collection as being somewhat weaker than the majority of what is in this book. That said, I would highly recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys The Flash, superhero books, or well crafted comics in general. This dynamic team has done something special with this speedster, and volume 4 of The Flash is a great example of how good comics can be when a creative team is on fire.
The Verdict: 8.5/10