THE FLASH (2011) #1, released in 2011, signaled the first solo story for Barry Allen after his return to the DC landscape. It was met with great adoration from longtime fans as well as newcomers. Francis Manapul, the writer and main artist of the issue, shows readers just how much he loves the character of Barry Allen, capturing the optimism and determination that makes him enjoyable.
Fresh out of the Speed Force and placed in the midst of Central City, Barry finds himself picking up with a reworked life from his pre-New 52 counterpart. But instead of being in a romantic relationship with Iris West, our hero is happily dating Patty Spivot of the Central City Police Department. And the peace doesn’t last long when a mysterious gunman attacks their headquarters.
After apprehending the threat, Barry finds that the gunman is none other than Manuel, his best friend and roommate from college. And it looks like the Scarlet Speedster will have to embody both the hope and determination that readers love him for.
Manapul’s depiction of Barry in this issue is suitable for old and new readers alike. Readers experience the care their hero feels for his former roommate, yet see his determination to protect people from the damage he’s caused.
One of the greatest aspects of this comic is the fact that Manapul both wrote and illustrated its contents. Along with Brian Buccellato’s coloring and Sal Cipriano’s lettering, THE FLASH (2011) #1 makes for a visual treat for any fan of the character. The penciled lines give Barry definition while at the same time creating a sense of movement. And the coloring complements this beautifully with clean strokes of yellow, red, and orange. What’s more, the lettering placements are fitting for this artwork; it looks like the lighting bolts themselves are creating the word bubbles.
THE FLASH (2011) #1 was one of the best comics to come out of the New 52. It gave Barry a fantastic new story to firmly place him back in the DC landscape for years to come.
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