The Flash #26

Welcome to my first comic review for The Fictional Hangout (and of 2014), where I cover The Flash #26, written by Christos Gage with art from Neil Googe. This is a standalone issue from DC Comics that can be read without knowledge of the previous 25 issues.

When I was first getting into comics, The Flash was one of the first few series that I tried out on Comixology and I loved the first three issues, but like many other series, I never got around to continuing with it until I picked up #19 in my local store. Like the first three, #19 was excellent – and #20 was just as good. However, my pull-list got too big and one of the things that I reluctantly had to cut from my pull-list was The Flash, meaning that I missed out on the arc with Reverse Flash. However, when #26 came around, I had a new jumping on point, and even though it’s with a different creative team, Christos Gage is a writer who although doesn’t get as much attention as the likes of Jonathan Hickman and Scott Snyder is still incredibly talented and thanks largely to his stint on Superior Spider-Man with Dan Slott I’ve come to appreciate his work more and more, and it’s largely because of him I’m jumping on board Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 when it hits in March – even though I’ve only recently finished the second series of the TV show. But enough rambling, it’s time I turned my attention to the comic – and what a comic it is. The Flash #26 proves that Christos Gage and Neil Googe should easily be the right people to pen a series following the departure of the lead writer and artist – and although it’s only a one-shot, it’s still a really strong one and it’s something that I wouldn’t mind seeing more of in mainstream comics – standalone issues that aren’t part of larger story arcs.

Ever wanted to know who’s faster, The Flash or Superman? Then this issue will answer that question for you, but there’s always one problem when it comes to The Flash, unlike Superman or Green Lantern, he doesn’t have the power of flight. He may be the fastest man alive but when it comes to aerial battles he’s effectively useless. Thus, Christos Gage tackles the interesting dilemma of having The Flash battle an enemy who has the advantage of flight, known aptly as Spitfire. The way Flash solves the mystery is simple and fun to read, and the whole plot was a great break from all the mega-length story-arcs that I’ve been reading recently in other books. The best thing about this issue is that it’s fun – and whilst there are no laugh out loud moments, it’s fun and enjoyable to read with a solid storyline and some strong artwork by Neil Googe – he’s no Francis Manapul, but the artwork that he delivers in this issue regardless is pretty solid, with facial expressions not being entirely spot on in certain places, but aside from that, he delivers a good piece of fill-in artwork.

The villain is the biggest problem of this comic however, Spitfire. She strays into the camp side and isn’t really anything new and memorable – and I wouldn’t expect her to feature heavily in future arcs, which is a shame because The Flash’s rogues gallery is something that I’m not very familiar with and for me it could have done with a bigger improvement to Spitfire. But that wasn’t enough to put me off this comic however, because I very much enjoyed what I got – despite its flaws, Christos Gage delivers a strong read that features the use of Barry’s powers in several creative ways and he can capture Barry’s voice perfectly, making me instantly want to root for the character, and there are some panels where Googe’s artwork does work – such as the Chicago skyline which is pretty awesome and despite a few flaws his artwork still grabs your attention from start to finish.

So overall, a solid comic that hasn’t turned me off the series as a whole and manages to be fun and enjoyable to read with some flawed but strong artwork. I’m going to be sticking around on The Flash if I can – it has impressed me here and I can’t wait to see where it goes when Brian Buccellato returns, even though I wouldn’t mind having Christos Gage stick around for a few more issues.

VERDICT: 3/5

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