The Flash #28 Review: Deadman’s Party
While last month might have seen Brian Buccellato take on a mighty task as bringing a solid run on The Flash
to a close, this month could have proved much more challenging. Yet, within the pages of The Flash
#28, we get not a continuation that is still finding its feet, but rather a writer still firmly in control and with a firm story in mind. Buccellato might only have one issue left, but he is making his remaning few pages count all the more. It's setting the stage for quite the bow-out.
One thing that I think many were apprehensive about, even myself, was the inclusion of Deadman in this crossover. Given the plot it seems like a necessary addition, but the idea could have gone awry in so many ways. Would the weight of a guest star hamper the plot, or would Buccellato even be up to the task of writing Deadman? Thankfully, those fears were put to rest early on, and nigh-on disappeared by the final page. Deadman not only served a valuable storytelling purpose and role, but also led to some rather enjoyable interactions and bits of dialogue. It's a weird addition but it flows nicely and Buccellato has nothing if not the ability to create a nicely paced tale.
One of which that will grab most readers is where Deadman discovers Barry Allen's identity. Which was not only a humorous beat in the story, but also a rather emotional one. The issue is rife with emotional and passionate characterization, even if not all of it makes a soft landing. The still indecisive plot thread about the question who is Barry Allen’s true father hangs by a thread above the reader. Zircher is able to sell the moment with his art, but the writing itself in that one instance always manages to feel a bit uninspired. It’s a plot line that is has remained unnecessary and the resolution being quite obvious. I'm hoping that when it does get hashed out that Buccellato is at least able to write it with some finesse.
The highlight of this issue has to have been more of an extended look at the founding of Central City and Keystone City. Buccellato and Manapul laid this out early on in their run and never got around to it, and it shows (in a good way). It feels very cohesive and is a nice final say for Manapul and Buccellato to have on the series. The small story about the two founding fathers of the cities is rife with pathos and the art is firing on all cylinders most notably there than anywhere else to be honest. They get that raw, dirty, feel that overall is a wonder for this ghost story of an arc. The overall plotline would not have worked where it was intended to be placed before, to be honest, but it sets up for a ending - and one that creates an appreciated roundabout narrative. The caption boxes that accompany these little flashbacks just create the sense of being in an old western tale from The Twilight Zone
Zircher’s art doesn’t always work in this issue, there are pages where things get a bit too out of synch, but the tone that is created by the colors and the penciling is just phenomenal. The outlandish layouts of Manapul’s day are still being sorely missed by some, but I think that Zircher is a worthy replacement for the time being. If just only in terms of talent and skill that is put onto the page alone. There is still a very poppy, pepped up, zest to the look while also being demented and somehow outright scary at points. The final pages of this issue is perhaps one of the most suspenseful pages to have been seen in the around since perhaps the start of the “New 52”. It is not a matter of hyperbole that Buccellato is giving this run an end all his and Manapul’s own.
The only point of contention I have otherwise is the surprisingly lack of Iris West in these past few issues, but it is off-set by the rather amazing use of her in the last couple of issues. Overall this is clearly a well thought out finale to one of the most warmly received runs on The Flash
in quite a while. All Buccellato has to do is stick the landing, which includes wrapping up about three separate plot threads while also creating a sense of ongoing adventures mixed with finality. Should be easy enough, it’s the kind of stuff that you just have to face when doing a cape comic for the Big Two.