This week’s Friday recommendation is something a little different. As opposed to an old graphic novel or an arc that you don’t remember, I’m going to the roots of the article and recommending a new ongoing title that has quickly become one of my favorites.
The Flash is an interesting character. Well loved by the site and given tons of exposure on shows like The Big Bang Theory, he’s always been a consistent second tier hero in the DC Universe, just below Superman and Batman in the place for prominence. With winning turns on the Justice League cartoon and not-so-winning turns on shows like his short-lived television show, he’s hardly an unknown character.
I’ve never been the biggest Flash fan. Don’t get me wrong, I never hated him, but he never captured my imagination like other characters had. That was until Barry Allen resurfaced in Flash Rebirth and then rose to further prominence in Blackest Night.
Why you ask? Well, some could credit the creative team. It’s written by Geoff Johns who is one of the most prolific and popular writers today, and he’s paired with the incomparable Francis Manapul, who has a style that is all his own. The upcoming arc even has a lot of potential, even if an arc has already been advertised after ONE (!) issue.
Some might credit the setting, which is in a smaller less cosmic city that’s filled with crime and corruption. It almost feels like a superpowered CSI, only not completely terrible and unwatchable. Barry Allen works in the Crime Lab, solving mysteries like they would on a show like CSI or Bones. It brings a dose of realism to the series, as he has a job aside from being a hero, something which the rest of the DC Universe sometimes lacks.
Which brings me to why I love the Flash so much; he has a secret identity which actually gets used, instead of being forgotten for more exciting superhero stories. As much as I love Superman, part of the draw to Superman is Clark Kent. Part of the draw to Batman at least for me) is seeing Bruce Wayne or Dick Grayson outside of the costume being Bruce or Dick. Secret identities have gone by the wayside as of late, and it’s only recently that Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris were actually Hal and Carol, after over a year of flying around the cosmos saving the universe (which is admittedly epic in scale). Barry’s secret identity brings a healthy dose of relatability to a fantastical character like The Fastest Man alive. I just hope that Barry doesn’t go the way of Hal when the Flashpoint event starts up next year.
Then there are the Rogues. Flash has some of the best and most fleshed out rogues in the business, with a code of ethics and a sort of camaraderie that is unique in the villainous underworld. It’s usually kill or be killed, but these guys are less obviously “evil,” and just plain scoundrels.
The truth is, all of these reasons are great reasons why the book is so good. Geoff and Francis get each other and bring a level of humor to the book that can make you laugh and simultaneously say “that is adorable.” The job aspect makes him almost like Peter Parker, only a lot less down on his luck and kind of lame (storyline wise, I love me some Spider-Man).The secret identity is a brilliant move that is so underutilized these days it’s almost a crime. And then you have the sheer amount of interesting and great characters like Captain Cold and Mirror Master, who give The Flash a run for his money all the time. It’s so much fun, and if you’re not reading, you really should be. Go pick this up!