The Flash #16 Cover Francis ManapulAt the end of the last issue, The Flash experienced a new super power using his brain at super speed in order to predict every possible result of the war against Grodd and his gorilla army.  Unfortunately, none of the outcomes were good, so Barry Allen decided to turn himself over to Grodd who wants access to the Speed Force, which super charges him but, has also turned him into an addict.

Meanwhile, The Rogue’s take the fight to the gorillas and save a bus full of passengers, including Iris West’s brother Daniel who has a subplot going on about him having been sent to prison years earlier.

Iris herself and a group of civilians are trapped within the Speed Force, inside of an old, not-functioning Soviet tank, being attacked by a woolly mammoth.  Outside, despite turning himself over to Grodd, The Flash unleashes his speed energy to suck Grodd into the Speed Force.

I’m enjoying this series in general and this storyline is entertaining, but I do feel like it’s dragging a bit at this point.  I think it might be that there’s simply too much going on.  This issue opened with a flashback to five years ago, with Barry eating lunch with Iris, who is seeking his help with her brother’s trial.  Then we catch up to the brother in the present, in the middle of The Rogues’ sequence.  Speaking of The Rogues, they each get a moment in the spotlight but their scene overall feels brief.  Then there’s Iris and her group inside the Speed Force and oh yeah, we also have a scene at the beginning showing Barry saying goodbye to his current girlfriend Patty.  There are just so many different storylines going on to the point that in some cases, the scenes feel too brief and not enough feels resolved.  And that makes the overall story drag.

But it looks great!  Francis Manapul art is just amazing.  It really shines when he thinks outside the box and plays with non-traditional page layouts.  In the beginning, as The Flash is running to meet Grodd, the pages are rendered with jagged, lightning-shaped borders.  Toward the end, as The Flash cuts loose with his powers, the pages look like rock that is crumbling apart.  Most of the rest of the pages are more conventional, but they still look incredible.

So stunning artwork, but kind of a dragging storyline… it’s still well-written, just slow (even for The Flash).

 

THE FLASH #16
Script and Cover by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
Art by Francis Manapul