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Things have taken a turn for the worst for our hero within the pages of The Flash #15 as “Gorilla Warfare” rages on. Last month we saw The Flash driven to incapacitation by Grodd, saved only by chance interference from Solovar – who made his first and seemingly last appearance within New 52 DC Continuity. Given his injuries this installment can be called the calm before the storm, even though there isn’t much calm. There are still a lot of punches to be pulled before the final curtain call.
The story takes the time out, now that our hero is indisposed, to give some screen time to the other characters, some of who have been left to the wayside. As said in previously reviews there are a lot of things that need to be juggled so what focus is given has to be quick, poppy, and able to pass along information without slowing the pace. Thankfully though over the course of the last 15 or so months Manapul and Buccellato have become nigh-masters of such action and so are able to perform this feat without skipping a beat.
The reader is given simple yet satisfying glimpses at the world around The Flash. There are answers the obvious question of why there is no outside interference, the current state of Danny West, and how The Rogues (still attempting to be heroic in this time) are holding up. None of these get more than a page or so to their cause, but the ball can be kept in motion through these efforts. It’s just enough time to set up characterization and to give small little rewards to the reader for keeping up. Each of the segments is enjoyable in their own way and in the grand scheme of things that should be reason enough. Barry gets some attention, but that only comes with a big burst near the ending with the introduction of "Speed Mind", which not only raises the stakes but also perhaps puts them on a higher level than what was imagined.
One of the biggest shake-ups in this issue among the fandom has been the surprising addition of Marcus To on art duties once again. It has become somewhat of a issue of pride that Francis Manapul do an issue of The Flash, so there was some aversion to To. Not that there really is any problem with Marcus To’s artwork for the series, it is able to serve a valuable function while at the same time capturing a great deal of the fluidity and motion that the series deserves.. There is nothing to worry about though since not only do we get To’s more than serviceable art, but also a not so small piece of Manapul artwork as well.
Now Manapul has been able to put out fantastic work with this series in both co-writing and art but mainly in the latter department. The works that he is able to do in this issue ranks among the best that he has given the series. The amount of effort that shines through excuses the use of a fill-in artist and even his upcoming break from the series. It prompts the question of whether the break should be longer – it is that spectacular. I wish that I were able to show even a glimpse of the piece, but to show just that without the bigger picture would be a waste.
This issue of The Flash might not be the most satisfying installment to the very entertaining tale that “Gorilla Warfare” is shaping out to be, but it makes up for it with energy and tightly rounded set-pieces. It’s an enjoyable reprieve in an already quickly drawn tale and creates a whole new set of excitement for the rest. Now it’s up to see if the next chapter can follow through, but given Manapul and Buccellato's track record so far it should be exciting to witness.