Messrs. Manapul and Buccellato bring this first set of New 52 story arcs to a satisfying and thorough close in The Flash, Vol. 3: Gorilla Warfare, which picks up immediately following the arrival of Gorilla Grodd and his invasion force to Central City in search of the Scarlet Speedster and his connection to the Speed Force itself.
STORY AND SCRIPT
In my review of Vol. 2: Rogues Revolution, I talked about all of the plot threads that the creative team had snowballed into the current gorilla-filled predicament. In Vol. 3, Manapul and Buccellato wrap all of them up evenly and satisfyingly. All plots are touched by Barry’s showdown with Grodd: the new Rogues and their new superpowered status; Iris West and others’ internment inside the Speed Force; Barry’s outstanding status as “dead”; and, of course, the connection to the citizens of Gorilla City.
The first five issues of this collection tell the five-part “Gorilla Warfare” story arc that treats all of these threads with some attention–the battles are well-paced, the dialogue that needs to happen does, and when it becomes necessary for the storytellers to change the scene, the transitions are clear. When all of the plots come together, they do so in a huge finale that in no way disappoints, and the conclusion here takes The Flash as an ongoing comic book to its highest point that it has in the New 52.
A brief, two-issue arc concludes the volume, telling a interesting story about the Trickster and his alleged murder of a security guard, and while it’s not anything close to the scale of the previous eighteen issues, it doesn’t have to be, as we get a peek of where we’re going next (and it looks excellent).
PENCILS AND ARTWORK
Manapul’s watercolor-style artwork is still some of the best in the New 52. It stands out in its stylish uniqueness, and it fits the book perfectly, but what really stands out most from this collection was the paneling through the middle of the volume.
As the experience of the Flash at that particular moment (sampled above) is somewhat abstract, and as Barry is narrating at that point, it might have been hard to get a sense of that scene’s role in advancing the story were it not for the shape of the panels in which the sequence takes place. It’s a striking moment in the story, and while it offers the reader the same quality artwork that he or she expects from the rockstar creative team, it’s a striking approach to that part of the story and a great moment for the entire series.
9/10 – The Flash has been one of the most consistently excellent books in the New 52, and after making a lot of promises in the first year of the book, Manapul and Buccellato deliver on all of them, wrapping up a year’s worth of plot points in a great five-issue arc that takes the series to its highest point yet.