Flash #12 was quite possibly the most action packed issue of the series so far, and it sets us on a collision course for the Flash Annual and beyond. With Manapul and Buccellato back on the artwork as well as the script, it was once again a top notch issue all around.
***MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD - PLEASE NOTE!!!***
This issue develops the character of the New52 (formerly Golden) Glider, who has thus far appeared in cameos while meeting up with various members of the “old” Rogues group. This is a very powerful Glider, with the ability to appear almost anywhere, turn visible or invisible at will, phase through seemingly anything, and still turn tangible enough to save…or to kill. Lisa Snart also has an amazing level of leadership ability and strategic thinking, pulling off a plan that at first makes little sense…before falling into place like a long line of dominoes. At least, most of the dominoes fall as planned (but you’ll need to read the issue for more on that). We do see those who are now part of the re-formed (but not “reformed”) Rogues…Glider, Heat Wave, Weather Wizard, and…Mirror Master!
We also see those who are now on the outs with the new Rogues group. Cold is definitely Enemy #1 of all the Rogues, for reasons that will be more fully explored in the Annual. Strangely enough, Cold finds some help escaping his own predicament with the aid of a reformed Piper and a most unrepentant Trickster. This sets up the twist at the end…but you’ll need to read the issue for that.
What I can say is that the big fight scene centers on another big event in Central City, the opening of a new monorail powered by the batteries The Flash charged up several issues back. Of course, The Flash gets no credit - that is being claimed by Dr. Elias, who is confronted by The Flash early in the issue. Barry is not the only one who wants to go after Elias, though…wonder if he played a part in the Rogues going meta? We’ll likely find out about that in the Annual. Anyhow, there is one last part that bears some special notice here…
That is the name of Dr. Elias’ driver…Kelson! It is amazing and very cool to see this shout out to such a long-time dedicated Flash fan. Congrats to Kelson on the shout out from M&B!
Manapul and Buccellato have proven in prior issues that they can handle the slow build-up well, meshing multiple storylines while keeping the main narrative moving forward. In this issue we find that they can write a fast-paced action story just as well. This was a roller-coaster ride from start to finish, and it does an excellent job setting up the Annual and the issues beyond.
One more very important note - this is the type of issue that a lot of comics writers mess up…the one that brings a lot of story threads together before catapulting us into a bigger story arc. Sometimes there is the temptation to close off all loose threads before moving forward, forcing the writer to do too much in a few pages and ruining the narrative that has taken several issues to build. M&B avoid that temptation…we still have several unresolved issues (not the least of which is Iris still stuck in the Speed Force) and yet enough storylines were brought together to get us set for what promises to be a rather impressive Rogues War story arc ahead.
As for the artwork, what else can I say? This follows the same high standards that Manapul and Buccellato have brought to all their artwork on The Flash so far. Simply outstanding work.
Summary: Another great issue for Manapul and Buccellato - can’t wait for the Annual!