THIS WEEK: We check in on Si Spurrier & Mike Deodato Jr.’s current run on The Flash.

Note: the review below contains spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdict.

The Flash #5

Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Mike Deodato Jr.
Colorist: Trish Mulvihill
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover Artists: Mike Deodato Jr. & Trish Mulvihill

The Flash has always been a comic first and foremost about impossible things. Sure, the same could be said of most superhero comics, but the adventures of the fastest man alive have always had an extra layer of impossibility to them, what with the regular trips backward and forward through time and across vibrational frequencies to alternate realities. The current Flash series, from the creative team of writer Si Spurrier, artist Mike Deodato Jr., colorist Trish Mulvihill, and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, has somehow taken the series even further into the unknown than ever before.

The Speed Force has long been a mystery, an otherworldly energy field that gives speedsters their powers, and which they become a part of if they run faster than light. Spurrier has taken the established pseudo-science of the Speed Force and simultaneously expanded it and turned it on its ear, as each of the speedster members of the West family have begun to tap into the Speed Force in new, exciting, and occasionally horrific ways. This week’s issue, which focuses on Jai West, finds Wally’s son exploring a new set of abilities that are seemingly triggered by anxiety – hard to control for a ten-year-old kid who feels like a disappointment to his family. It’s a story ultimately about the relationship between fathers and sons, albeit one told with talking, telepathic gorillas and extra-dimensional creatures.

I’ve found myself needing to read each issue of this Flash series multiple times in order to make sure I’m actually understanding what’s happening with the Wests. That’s not a criticism of Spurrier’s writing as much as it is a comment on the complexity of the changes everyone is going through. Wally has always been an everyman character, though, and that helps make the concepts being discussed by characters like Mr. Terrific or The Stillness a little more accessible to the average reader. I also find sussing out exactly what’s going on to be part of the fun of stories like this, and there’s been a lot to suss out so far.

That complexity of concept is represented in Mike Deodato and Trish Mulvihill’s artwork in interesting ways. Deodato’s work is very different for a Flash comic, with heavier blacks than the series has maybe ever seen before. His page layouts and panel constructions are fascinating, if occasionally somewhat hard to follow amidst all the characters moving at superspeed and across dimensions. Mulvihill’s colors complement Deodato’s linework well, grounding the storytelling and making it a little easier to tell what’s going on. Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s letters add to the unique visuals of the art nicely. I’ve at times found his lettering style to be a distraction from the storytelling in other books, but it fits well alongside Deodato and Mulvihill’s non-traditional artwork here. 

If there’s one real complaint that I have, as a Flash fan, it’s that, after the first issue, Linda Park-West has been largely absent from this series so far. It feels a bit like she’s been sidelined in favor of focus on Wally and the kids; but then again, that’s what the character is experiencing herself in the story, so perhaps that’s been done on purpose. From the glimpses readers have caught of her in passing panels or mentions over the last few issues, it’s clear Linda is going through a deep depression, and seemingly alone, unless you count the newborn she’s taking care of largely on her own. I’m certain that will lead somewhere – Spurrier has teased that Linda will have more going on stemming from her previous taste of superspeed while pregnant with new son Wade. With Jai and Iris having both had issues from their perspectives already, hopefully Linda won’t be far behind.

There’s no getting around that this current run of The Flash isn’t going to be for everyone. Spurrier, Deodato, and co.’s exploration of new layers of the Speed Force is slower-paced than the scarlet speedster’s typical adventures, and it’s visually far afield from any previous art on the series. It’s perhaps the most off-beat Flash story yet, which given that the character regularly travels through time and to alternate realities is really saying something. There’s a confidence to the storytelling, though, that makes the reader feel as if they’re in secure hands, if they’re just willing to sit back and experience the wild, weird ride. That makes for a pretty solid Flash comic to me.

Final Verdict: BUY.


  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold #9 wraps up the four-part “The Winning Card” storyline from writer Tom King and Mitch Gerads. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it turns out The Joker’s pretty weird and crazy! Not a lot of new ground tread here story- or character-wise, but Gerads’s art is always welcome. The other stories in this issue, including the conclusion of Kyle Starks and Fernando Pasarin‘s Wild Dog three-parter, are all pretty solid, and Bruno Redondo‘s Batman: Black & White entry to close out the issue serves as an interesting companion to King & Gerads’s story.
  • We get a double-dose of the emerald archer this week. First, in Green Arrow #8, Connor Hawke avenges the death of his father at the hands of Onomatopoeia. Wait, what? Joshua Williamson and Onomatopoeia co-creator Phil Hester tell a fun little story, if not slightly frustrating for its obvious lying to the reader throughout.
  • Then, in the Titans: Beast World Tour – Star City one-shot, there’s more father-son bonding between Ollie and Connor in a story started by Williamson and artist Jamal Campbell and concluded by the team of Ted BrandtRo Stein. It’s an entertaining story that highlights the different worldviews of Ollie and Connor nicely. The issue also features a new Red Canary story by Ryan Parrott and Roger Cruz that continues to flesh out this newer somewhat-sidekick for Black Canary, as well as a Red Arrow-centric JSA story by the Superman ’78 team of Robert Venditti and Gavin Guidry.
  • As for the main event, Titans: Beast World #5 from Tom TaylorIvan ReisEduardo PansicaDanny MikiJúlio Ferreira, and Brad Anderson finds Amanda Waller making her biggest move yet in the aftermath of a tragedy she orchestrated. This hasn’t been what I would call a fun event, which is kind of a bummer, but it’s had some decent individual moments, and the Nightwing/Peacemaker fight in this issue is one of them. The final-page reveal of Dr. Hate’s identity is a real head-scratcher, though.

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