Regardless of questions I might have about the status of Wally West in the New 52, it’s impossible to deny that Flash is perhaps one of the most fascinating books to come out of the New 52, with some of the most sophisticated illustrations. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato hit the issue out of the park as they tackle both the artwork and the story.
Because the illustrators are the ones writing the story, it adds a whole new dimension to how the story is laid out and illustrated. The opportunity also allows them freedom to experiment with the artwork, so that it helps tell the story more than in a traditional comic book. There are some sequences that are absolutely breathtaking, as Manapul pushes himself further than he has before, manipulating the visuals into telling the story in a way that is much more involved than he has been able to do previously.
This is just an amazing comic book from a visual perspective; it pushes the artistic boundaries for how a comic can be laid out visually, but it also makes you think and is a lot of fun to read. The artwork doesn’t simply rest on its laurels and tell the story in a traditional nine-panel-per-page format; it switches things up, whether it be the opening page showing how Barry sees the disaster sequence at hand, or the numerous tiny panels interspersed within the larger ones to highlight how Barry’s accelerated brain functions could grasp and comprehend the more minute details that form a much grander and greater picture. We get to see just as Barry does, thanks to these innovative artistic techniques, so that we can see just how it all comes together and how everything is more or less connected. This issue and the last revel in showing how it works, not just from a writing standpoint but from an artistic one. Having the writer as artist makes this comic a more pure expression of what the creative team intended compared to traditional creative teams, where the writer and the penciller are two separate people working on the same book, but perhaps not with the exact same concept of what the end product really looks like.
If you give this book a pass, you’re really doing yourself a disservice. Brilliant work by the creative team. Highly Recommended!