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Comic Review: Flash #3 by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul

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Geoff Johns continues some massive plotting in Flash #3, shaking out more strands of his elaborate story that has ignited Barry Allen’s return to his own series. There’s a lot going on in this one, as we discovered in the first two issues.

Most intriguing of all is Captain Boomerang’s sudden ability to manifest what appear to be black lantern-inspired boomerangs. He’s able to form them out of air, which is really cool. If you think about all the old comics, poor old Captain Boomerang had to keep up with his weapons during the heat of battle or he’d soon be fighting with just his fists. Since Digger Harkness is not superhuman in any way, that would make him an appetizer in any real fight with a superhero. I gotta go back and read some old Flash issues to see how he was able to hold his own back then. I seem to recall giant boomerangs and boomerang planes, but those are just warm-up targets. These new energy boomerangs are totally cool.

I like the idea that Barry is looking into a cold case in his job as a forensic scientist at police headquarters, but we’re not seeing any real development on that front. It’s been left hanging pretty much. I know Barry is on the run from the Rogues of the future and Captain Boomerang is waiting in the wings, but I question whether the subplot should have been introduced if I’m going to be kept waiting.

Geoff Johns has a charming and romantic view of Barry’s relationship with Iris. The scenes where the two are together are fantastic. I love the fact that Johns takes time to hook them up in a coffee shop, having a normal day before everything breaks loose, and the way Iris agrees to help Barry with his hardship case, instead of continuing to promise doom and gloom, is a breath of fresh air.

Of course, that also means Iris can go off and get into trouble on her own. Which may be the point.

Francis Manapul’s artwork continues to grow on me, and I think a lot of that has to do with the way it just looks “light” on the pages. There aren’t many dark tones in all the action. Central City looks well-lighted and roomy, the antithesis of Gotham City, and not nearly as congested and busy as Metropolis. Manapul and Johns are bringing a new city to life as easily as they’re renewing this character. Manapul does the action sequences Johns generously gives him all in stride and makes them look good.

Back in the heyday of Barry’s original book, the Flash Facts were often interesting and science-based because so many of the writers back then had those interests. I can’t help but feel they’re just two more pages of story I could have had because a quick trip to Wikipedia would satisfy any curiosity a reader might have about boomerangs, and I got the black lantern affiliation all on my own. However, the emergence of the power does make me wonder if other people are going to start developing the same kind of ability.

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