The Flash #3

A comic review article by: Ray Tate


An electromagnetic pulse sends a plane crashing down to a bridge spanning the river that separates Central City and Keystone. Piece-o-cake for the Flash.

Hero Triumphant

That's a big budget moment redefining The Flash series. The Flash isn't just a guy that runs fast. He utilizes his speed to perform feats that appear to be magic, when in fact they are the product of a scientific accident that granted Barry Allen his abilities. The new explanations satisfy while corroborating the past. 

The Mob Rule -- clones of Barry Allen's childhood chum -- set up the EMP to paralyze the city. Their motives are a little vague, but it may have something to do with their lifespans being akin to that of mayflies. These are not happy individuals, and they're unlikely to give the source of their cells a hand.

The EMP pulse forces the police to use drastic measures to control the city -- such as horses substituting for patrol cars. Some might accuse Manapul for pulling a Miller. An EMP played a part in the final chapters of Dark Knight Returns, but that was an apocalyptic moment leaning toward the cumulative result of Batman's resonance. Manapul uses the decimation of civilization as more of a nuisance for the Flash to combat. The horses are a practicality not symbolic.

Time is Relative

The Flash despite his speed doesn't have an easy time of it. Manapul foreshadows his fall in the early part of the story. The Flash refers to his save of the plane as miracle. Sounds like Barry's experiencing rare hubris now that he believes he has a handle on his powers. He forgets one thing. Nature, including the Speed Force, is out to get you.

As you can see from the page above, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato distinguish the Flash from other books with an imaginative animated use of panel layout. There's a feeling of slow motion as quantification as the events pulse toward Barry's mind. In other panels, you note a more than figurative crackle of energy as the Flash blurs and energy sweeps over him as his velocity excites the air. This is also perhaps a nod to the idea of the Flash not actually feeling the effects of physics when traveling at such speed. Friction is to the Flash like water off a duck's back.


Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups, where he reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.

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