At the tense finale of ‘The Flash’ #4, the Gem Cities had been completely blacked out by a strange EMP (electro magnetic pulse) and the cloned group of villains called Mob Rule had kidnapped Barry/Flash’s best friend Manuel (the man from which they were cloned) and geneticist Dr. Elias in an attempt to fix their corrupted DNA. To make matters worse, amidst the chaos of the blackout, the Rogues were escaping from Iron Heights Prison.

This issue, like the titular character, is all over the place. It jumps from the Flash trying to rescue citizens trapped in the darkened city, to the Rogues busting out of prison, to the plight of Mob Rule, Manuel, and Dr. Elias as they struggle to fix their genetics before more members of Mob Rule die. In the end, the Flash discovers that, try as he might, he can’t save everyone. People die, enemies are made, and the Flash learns the shocking truth about the EMP that started the disaster in his home city.

Despite being a fast-paced multi-leveled story, writer Francis Manapul (who also does the pencils for this title) does a stunning job of keeping everything coherent. If there is any title in the New 52 that I consistently recommend to anyone (adults, kids, superhero fans or not), it is ‘The Flash’. This book has it all! Superheroes, awesome villains, a touching story, romance, science fiction, and best of all… it’s just darn fun to read!

And the art from Manpul takes ‘The Flash’ title over the top yet again. While not as mind-bending as some of the previous issues, Manapul’s pencils flow in tandem with his story so well that I can someday see this series being used whenever that age-old debate arises over whether comics are art and/or real literature. And, if ‘The Flash’ is any indication… the answer is a resounding yes!

Verdict: Buy! Buy! Buy!

Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL