Flash Annual #1 – The brief volume of Flash that preceded Flashpoint suffered from delays and some wondered whether that was the fault of the penciler Francis Manapul. Well, the past year has proved that not to be the case, I guess, since Manapul has done as much work on the New 52 Flash as many other pencilers have on other books while also co-writing the title with colorist Brian Buccellato. Though I am a Wally West fan first, I’ve enjoyed reading about Barry Allen in The New 52 and have found Flash to be a good, if not great title. Surely some of the artist moments that Manapul and Buccellato have been among the best that The New 52 has had to offer, but I have encountered some hiccups here and there in their storytelling: clunky exposition, odd plot choices (Barry being thought dead), etc. This annual proves to be also adequately described by “good, not great.” Manapul handles the breakdowns with different artists penciling over top of his sketching, one for each of a few different chapters. If only the story seemed to need chapters for a reason other than different finishers. As it reads, the breaks only seem necessary to divide up the different looks, some of which appeal more to me than others (and Scott Kolins’ inclusion made me nostalgic for his run on Wally’s book with Geoff Johns). Though an annual, this story continues that of Flash #12 and will make issue #13 in October seem like an abrupt change for any who skip this issue. Since annuals are often self-contained stories, this seems like an odd choice, but as someone who will buy anything with any of the Flashes, it wasn’t a problem for me. A fun read, but I would have rather seen this story spread out over two or three regular issues with full pencils by Manapul.
For more discussion, check out this episode of the Flash-Back podcast.