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While most have already closed the book on the Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato run on The Flash, which has more or less closed, the two writers/artists have one last surprise in store for us. In what was a shocking surprise it turned out that Buccellato would stay behind and give off one final close for their run.
In a three issue arc, Buccellato has made claims to be adding in some “final pieces” of The Flash mythology into the “New 52”. Going into this, as a proper ending to almost three years of issues, I wasn’t the least bit apprehensive. Buccellato has made himself something of a fan favorite among some Flash fans, who have noted that his solo stuff is of a stronger stuff then his co-writing with Manapul. So, given that this would be solo Buccellato, it was highly anticipated. Without giving too much away early one, The Flash #27 is one issue that did not disappoint. When taking into account the storied history behind this arc there was no real reason that it should have.
Originally meant to have occurred in essence sometime during the first arc, it’s been two years for it to make it to print. Covering the origins of the “Gem Cities”, Keystone and Central, Manapul and Booch have planned this for a long while – and it lends itself to an explosive opening page. The first scenes are itself a greatly entertaining sequence, bringing spotlight back to minor Flash villains Tar Pit and Chroma (aka the “New 52” Rainbow Raider”) who both get a nice dynamic going on between them. It was especially nice to see Chroma one again, given that Buccellato had him killed off at the start of Rogues Rebellion, so his appearance here feels like a nice apology to fans of the criminal. Although it creates a desire to have seen more of him.
The issue really gets into gear when the lingering question about the murder of Barry Allen’s mother is brought up once again, which branches off into two fantastic scenes. The first is one that continues a plot thread that was first set-up in the “Zero Month” issue, where Captain Frye, Barry’s mentor and friend, reveals that he and Nora Allen were in a relationship. The second is another scene where Barry confronts his father, who once again rebuffs him – trying to get his son to move on with his life. Both are well done and emotional sequences that bring these plot threads back to the forefront without feeling too repetitious.
One of the most notable hallmarks of Buccellato’s solo writing on The Flash is the emphasis on his more subtle qualities. Aspects such as giving back to his loving public, being fair-handed and innocent, and also being a detective. Buccellato brings back all of these in some rather good pages. One of my favorite moments in this issue, and perhaps of the entire run in general, is that Barry saves an inmate in Iron Heights prison from committing suicide, all while trying to get to the bottom of this mystery. There’s one thing that no one can really accuse Buccellato of and that is not being able to make a forward moving, tightly written, and engaging story arc. He’s been given three issues and I hope that he uses them to the fullest.
Patrick Zircher is on art duties for this arc and was transferred over from Rogues Rebellion, where he did half of the first issue. Zircher has a very appealing style, and captures the tone of this arc with finesse and style. It’s also similar to Marcus To’s contributions to the series, so there’s nothing quite that jarring with Zircher’s art. He’s as stylized as Manapul in many ways, but is much more conservative with layouts and panels, which compliments and aids Buccellato’s writing. This is one arc that the team cannot let fall flat, and I can’t wait to see what they do next and who they bring in.