‘The Flash’ #5 wrapped up the first story arc of the relaunched New 52 Flash series. During that arc, the Rogues escaped from Iron Heights Prison. As this issue opens, the Flash is in the middle of a battle Captain Cold. The new Captain, as Flash points out in his dialogue, no longer uses his trademark guns. This means that the new Cold isn’t just revamped for the reboot, but rather that he’s gained new powers somewhere along the way. While the Flash battles Cold, the lives of his girlfriend Patty and reporter Iris West and a boat full of innocents hang in the balance.

As soon as this issue opens, the first question that springs to mind is: How is the Flash battling Captain Cold since it was revealed last issue that his powers, when overused, can cause rips in time itself. The idea is that Flash’s powers gradually amass the Speed Force, the energy from which his speed derives. That resulting build-up will eventually discharge with potentially disastrous results. In the first story arc, the entire power grid of the Gem Cities was knocked out by one of the Flash’s energy releases.

The story this issue is told through a series of flashbacks that sit within each other like nesting dolls. Through these flashbacks, we are treated to the tale of how Flash is able to use his powers. It also tells part of the origin of Captain Cold, while not revealing where he got his newfound ice powers.

With its first story arc, ‘The Flash’ proved itself as one of the “go to” books of DC’s New 52. It was near comic perfection. It had just the right mixture of action, romance, drama, and high-concept science to please just about anyone, all while being light enough to be accessible to younger readers as well. And the awesome stories were all wrapped up in art that works so well and look so amazing that it is hard to find any fault with this series. This issue just cements my original opinion even further as writer/artist Francis Manapul continues to deliver one of the best comic series on the comic shelf.

Verdict: Buy

Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL