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Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Subj: The Flash #7 - The Runabout.
Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 at 08:40:48 pm BST (Viewed 501 times)

If an entertaining comic could be assembled by hiring a random artist and merely borrowing the storyline from a mass market media outing elsewhere, and failing to add anything of depth or newness to it, then I would be confident that the latest volume of The Flash would be fine rip-roaring fare. With the arrival of The Flash #7, and the ongoing story of new super-villlainous Speedster Godspeed, one has to ask out loud as to just who this book is being targeted at due to the sheer familiarity of the plot and its all too familiar choice of protagonist. And who out there is actually honestly enjoying this series so far.
Writer Joshua Williamson and artist Carmine Di Giandomenico certainly cannot be held up as pursuing some radical new direction for the Flash and his adventures, not when the book reads as little more than a basic translation of the television series, neither can the crude murkiness of Di Giandomenico's artwork be held up as offering some new or exciting approach to the World of the Flash. No, if issue #7 offers something original, something fresh, then that element has completely eluded me.

Barry Allen faces a speedster who is faster he is and murderous. The memorably named August Heart follows in the steps of the equally memorably named Hunter Zolomon and Eobard Thawne as being The Flash's darker opposite, though those two are not alone either in being such... August believes crime and its perpetrators should be dealt with forcefully and without mercy as like Barry Allen he lost a loved one to a murderer and seeks a form of vengeance that automatically makes him at odds with Barry's ingrained dedication to actual Justice rather than personal power fantasy's, as Godspeed August Heart now lives out his darkest fantasies in the sure knowledge that he is completely unstoppable and therefore beyond law of judgement. If even the Flash cannot stop or match him, why then should August Heart think about the consequences of his own actions? For he now God. He makes the decisions, and owns none of the consequences.
But so black and morally uncomplicated is the character and his story it is not possible to feel much of any sympathy for the callow and utterly unsympathetic youth who fancies himself as civil minded and doing what needs to be done, and finding a succession of notably imaginitive and gruesome ways to kill his targets as he does so this issue. And Barry Allen's position as all this is going on? Hiding. Purportedly healing from the beating Godspeed inflicted on him, but very clearly in no hurry to return to the pressing matter of stopping Godspeed's rampage across his city.

Adopting the format of television to tell a comicbook superhero story is rarely a comfortable finished product. Not that Carmine Di Giandomenico is channelling any ideas of widescreen shots or extreme close-ups, for the most part his ambitions go not much further than roughly hewn distance shots and the occasional medium shot, all tending to be done in an oppressive page arrangement of small panels. The results of this combination exclude any chance of the reader beeing able to invest in whatever traces of genuine emotion and concern that Joshua Williamson might try to craft, but then when the drama on display is so utterly hackneyed and unconvincing even an Alan Davis or George Perez would find it challenging to add life to the scenes on offer....

Dissapointingly pedestrian in every single way 'The Flash' has to stand as the underachiever of the Rebirth relaunch. As an artist of Paul pelletier's calibre is assigned to the commercial outback of illustrating the monthly adventures of Teen Titan/Justice Leaguer Cyborg, and fellow distinguished artists such as Mark Bright, Chris Sprouse, and Ty Templeton lie fallow and ignored, the management that can assign and match imaginitive choice talent like Phil Jiminez, Lee Weeks, and Patrick Gleason find the unknown Carmine Di Giandomenico and feel his style is well suited for relaunching The Flash to new acclaim and commercial success.

It is a strange buisiness. But an interesting example of how Rebirth as an initiative has delivered an array of deserved commercial and creative successes, and the occasional example of just the opposite...