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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Comic Book Tuesday #20: The Flash (2016-) Vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice by Joshua Williamson, Carmine Di Giandomenico

Author: Joshua Williamson, Carmine Di Giandomenico (Illustrator)
Series: The Flash, Volume V #1
Audience: +15
Genre: Comic Book, Graphic Novel
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: January 24th 2017
My Rating: 3 Cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Part of the most critically acclaimed, best-selling, all-new line of volume one graphic novels, DC Universe Rebirth!

His name is Barry Allen, and he’s the Fastest Man Alive. But he’s also so much more.

As he learns more about the Speed Force that fuels his incredible powers, the Flash is also discovering secrets about his past beyond anything he’d ever dreamed-how he created a Flashpoint that changed history and helped create a new world, watched over by forces unknown.

And when the same Speed Force that flows through him is unleashed all over Central City, striking cops, criminals and ordinary civilians alike, it’s up to the Flash to train this new wave of speedsters to use their amazing abilities wisely.

But while some may become his partners in crime-fighting-forming a true “Speed Force”-others will use their godlike powers for a more sinister purpose. And the Flash is about to learn that there’s some evil even he can’t outrun…

The race is on as writer Joshua Williamson (DEATHSTROKE) and artist Carmine di Giandomenico (All New X-Factor) present THE FLASH VOL. 1: LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE-the starting line of a bold new era for the Scarlet Speedster, bursting from the blockbuster DC Universe Rebirth event! Collects THE FLASH: REBIRTH #1 and THE FLASH #1-8.

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC from Netgalley and DC Comics in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating of the book or the content of this review in any way

Ever since the TV show The Flash, I've been dying to read more about the superhero, so when I received the approval notification on Netgalley, I was super duper excited. Alas, I can't say I was as in love with this book as I thought I'd be. Let me start with what I did like.

I realize there's a lot of backstory that I don't have, but I liked the fact that I was able to start reading this book, even with what little knowledge I acquired from the TV show, and not feel as lost as I thought I'd be. That's always a huge fear of mine when I try to read comic books about superheroes that have been getting their stories told for decades, that I'll never get the gist of things. So it was actually a really nice surprise to see that I was able to read this book and not be completely lost about some of the characters or storylines.

The thing that I liked most was the fact that this book shows that sometimes the Speed Force makes mistakes. It shows that not always someone that gets speed powers has good intentions. Sure, we all know about how Zoom killed Barry's mom, but that is one example (or at least the only one I know of). But in this story there are a lot of bad guys turned speedsters, people who are willing to abuse their newfound powers and use them for evil. I also liked the balance between those who wanted to use the powers, those who thought they got lucky or that they had a chance to be what they always wanted to be with their powers, and those who wanted nothing to do with superpowers. In a way, I feel like that was one of the main themes of this comic book, balance between good and evil, between friends and enemies, between those who wanted powers and those who didn't. And the book did an okay job of getting that across. I also liked that I wasn't suspecting the right person, so the book kind of fooled me for a while.

The art itself was pretty great. Not the best I've seen, probably not what I imagined a DC comic should look like, but I did go into this with pretty high expectations. Even though they can be challenging to read, I adored the double-paged panels. The panels themselves aren't that difficult to read, they aren't too crowded with either characters or text bubbles. I liked the fact that whenever the POV changed, we got some inner monologue bubbles, because, in a way, it helped me understand the characters better.

The thing that I didn't enjoy was how fast it seemed that Barry got to the answer, and the fact that, in some way, the first part of the book seems to be very, very disconnected from the second part of the book. This part of the review might have spoilers for some of you, so don't read ahead if you don't want to.

Maybe this is just me, since I'm new to this comic book, but I was slightly confused by the idea of Barry Allen not remembering certain things in the beginning, and not knowing about it. It seemed as if he wasn't even aware that something was wrong with him, and then just a few pages in, he manages to crack that mystery and restore part of his memories. Not a bad idea, except, and maybe I'm wrong here, but it didn't feel as if that particular plot point had anything to do with the rest of the story. Now, it's possible that that is the big story with the full run of this comic book. Or, which is another possibility, is that the first part of this volume is actually the first issue of the Rebirth comics, while the rest is from a different comic book, in which case, I'm still confused. Mostly because, and this is another thing that kind of bothered me, the volume doesn't make it clear when one chapter or issue ends and when another one begins. I don't know if that's the case with every DC comic book volumes, but this one didn't include chapter breaks, or at least it didn't seem like that to me. I guess you could take the change in the POV as a new chapter, but it still doesn't really help all that much.

I actually wanted to be more impressed with this book than I actually was. It may be that I had too high expectations, or it could be that because of the two different storylines, the entire volume felt a bit strange. Will I read the next volume? Probably, since this one ends on a cliffhanger and you know I can't help myself but be curious about it and to want to know the end of the story. But I'll probably seriously reduce my expectations. In the end, I did enjoy this story, even if not as much as I wanted to.

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