‘The Flash’ #1 ended with Barry Allen (The Flash) investigating a murder of a man who looked exactly like one of Barry’s old friends. Amidst the investigation, Flash encounters a group of men, each looking identical to the dead man and his friend. As the story picks up, Flash takes on the group of clone soldiers, who call themselves “Mob Rule”. While he may be faster than a group of cloned military-style soldiers, the Flash still gets outsmarted and Mob Rule gets away.

Back at the laboratory of Dr. Elias, the good doctor is experimenting on the Flash in an attempt to help him master his speed powers. The end result of the test is that Dr. Elias says that Flash’s speed is too fast to be monitored so physically, there’s nothing that can be done. On the other hands, Flash only uses a portion of the speed force (the source of his powers) with his brain. That means that, theoretically, the Flash can think as fast as he can move. The rest of the issue follows Barry/Flash as he attempts to harness his speedy mental powers while Mob Rule concocts a plot that may mean lights out for Central City… literally.

‘The Flash’ is one of those series where story, art, and characterization come together in an explosive bolt of creative lighting to make something magical. Usually having two writers on a book causes noticeable seams in the story but Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato do it with a finesse that I haven’t seen in a long while. And since Manapul is pulling double duty as co-writer and penciller for the title, the art and story mesh together so well that it makes for a perfect comic. In an interview with DC Comics’ The Source before the relaunch of ‘The Flash’, Manapul said that the most interesting thing about working on this title was “The potential with experimentation of visual storytelling”, and this issue makes it clear exactly what kind of experimentation he was talking about. From the scenes of the Flash in action against Mob Rule, to flashback sequences, to the way that the reader gets to see Flash coming to grips with his newfound mental powers, this entire issue is a beauty to behold.

The title is great since the subject matter isn’t as dark as some of DC’s other titles like ‘Batman’ or ‘Animal Man’ so it’s great for younger readers as well. I hope this creative team sticks around on this title for a while because I’d absolutely love to see how they handle Flash’s rogues like Captain Cold and Mirror Master once they inevitably show up in Central City. Bottom line… run to your local comic shop and grab yourself a copy of ‘The Flash’ #2 now!

Final verdict: Buy

Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL