Comic Book Review: Flash #3

The Revolution has not been very impressed with this all new Flash. I have enjoyed the artwork and that is about it. So far, the writing has been average at best. Absolutely none of the plotlines ever remotely interest me. And on top of it all, I’m just not a Bart Allen fan. And no matter how hard I try to be open minded, I’m just not satisfied with having Bart as the Flash instead of either Barry or Wally. So, I really don’t expect to enjoy Flash #3 that much. Maybe, Bilsen and Demeo will turn the corner and deliver an interesting read. Maybe. But, I seriously doubt it. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Danny Bilson & Paul Demeo
Penciler: Karl Kerschl
Inker: Serge LaPointe

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: This issue starts with Bart rushing to the rescue of Valeria and saving her from the fire at S.T.A.R. Labs. Bart then uses his super speed to put out the fire. Valeria thanks Bart for his help and tells him that she is glad that the Flash suit works to protect him from the speed force. Bart comments that he isn’t the Flash. That is Jay Garrick. (Truer words were never spoken. And that is from Bart himself.)

We then cut to Bart and Griffin working out in a gym. Griffin shows off his new powers by tossing heavy weights through the air like he is Barry Bonds all jacked up on steroids.

We then shift to Bart and Griffin back at their apartment. Griffin is listening to a police scanner for any crimes that he can use his new powers to stop them and earn himself some fame and money.

We then zip over to S.T.A.R. Labs where Valerie’s supervisor is admonishing her for not telling S.T.A.R. Labs when she applied for her job that her father was none other than the infamous Manfred Mota. Mota is a total loser who went through several different codenames and silly gimmicks and battled both Barry Allen and Wally West. Valerie’s supervisor tells her that she likes Valerie and that she does quality work, but that the Board of S.T.A.R. Labs doesn’t like any connection with Mota and may fire her. (Oh wait, I guess I’m supposed to be shocked by this revelation and actually care if Valerie keeps her job, huh?)

We then cut to the next day where Valerie is conducting more tests on Bart. The test causes Bart significant pain prompting him to question Valerie why she is so interested in him. At this point, Valerie confesses that yesterday was not the first time Bart had saved her life. (Cue violins, please.) That there was a race riot in her high school and some skinheads started a fire and locked them in the school. (What? Skin heads? Are they actually any skin heads left in this country? I thought they all disappeared with the 1980’s.) Kid Flash showed up on the scene and rescued Valerie from the burning school. Ever since then she has been a fan of Bart. And with that, Bart and Valerie proceed to swap spit.

Mercifully, we cut to Bart and Griffin’s apartment. Griffin changes into a goofy looking costume and tells Bart that he is off to fight crime. That the Flash has been gone for over a year, and now it is his time.

We then shift to a man holding his son over the ledge of a tall building. He is threatening to drop him since killing him would be better than letting his ex-wife have him. (And the moral of this comic book is that male blancos are EVIL!) The Griffin, as he so eloquently calls himself, appears and demands that the man drop the kid. Which he does. Over the edge of the building. Luckily, stud muffin Jay Garrick catches the kid in mid air and saves him. The man then shoots his gun at The Griffin. Luckily for Mr. The Griffin, Jay Garrick plucks the bullet out of the air. Jay tells Mr. The Griffin that this is not work for amateurs and to go home and that he never wants to see Mr. The Griffin on the streets again. The Griffin angrily thinks to himself “Your days are done, old man!”

We then cut to the next day. Jay is talking on the phone with Bart. Jay tells Bart that he is proud of him stopping the fire at S.T.A.R. Labs. Jay then tells Bart that the police believe that the bomber who planted the explosives at S.T.A.R. Labs is Thatcher, that crazy ex-auto worker. Griffin overhears Bart talking to Jay about Thatcher.

We then shift to The Griffin arriving at Thatcher’s apartment just ahead of the police. The apartment is empty. The Griffin finds a bunch of river charts and a news article about a yacht party for the CEO of Keystone Motors. The Griffin then makes a call to the police and impersonates Thatcher and says that he is willing to surrender but only to the Flash.

We then cut to the yacht party, where Jay Garrick and his honey Joan are doing one mean jitterbug. Jay gets called by the police and told that Thatcher wants to surrender to him. Jay then races off.

We then see Thatcher on a little rubber dingy claiming that his “poor man’s torpedo” will make a nice birthday present for the CEO of Keystone Motors. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Flash #3 carries on the new tradition of very pedestrian issues in this re-launch of the scarlet speedster. Of course, the Revolution’s Rule of Positivity mandates that I always say something positive about every issue.

Well, let’s see, I really enjoyed Jay Garrick in this issue. Jay is a total old school stud. It is always great to see the original Flash in action. And the scene where he totally chews out and embarrasses The Griffin was classic! I loved it.

I thought the guest artist, Kerschl, delivered some fantastic artwork. I really dig Kerschl’s style. I also think that Kerschl does a nice job drawing Bart as Bart rather than Wally West, Jr.

The Bad: It is never a good sign when all of the “good” comments do not center on the main character or any of the new characters or plotlines that the reader is supposed to care about. And that is my problem with this comic book. I think Bilson and Demeo have been less than impressive in their writing duties. They have turned out three very ordinary issues. Flash #3 is an extremely pedestrian read. I think the pacing is spasmodic. The story jerks and stops in a very odd pace. The scenes awkwardly cut to each other. There is absolutely no positive rhythm or flow to this story.

I think the dialogue was boring at best and cheesy at worst. Bilson and Demeo have completely failed to develop any of the characters in this comic book. None of the characters have any personalities or depth at all. It is like watching a bunch of cardboard cut outs march across the pages of the comic book. The Griffin, Valerie and Bart are all generic in feel and lack any substance. That makes it extremely hard for me to get interested in any of these characters.

The Griffin’s character is incredibly annoying. And not in a good way. I mean annoying in the “makes me not want to read the comic book any more” way. There is nothing about this character that makes him worth keeping on this title. He doesn’t even make a good villain.

Bart’s character is totally vanilla. All we get from Bart is “whah, whah, whah” each and every issue. All we get to hear is him whining about not wanting to be the Flash, whining about the seed force, whining about the tests at S.T.A.R. Labs and whining about the Griffin. Bilson and Demeo have made Bart even less appealing to me than he was before. At least as Kid Flash, Geoff Johns made him a neat character over in the Titans. That has definitely been lost with Bart’s character in this comic.

The plotlines are also completely uninteresting and failed to hook me. Thatcher is a terribly boring and uninteresting villain. I could care less about any storyline having to do with him. The entire “The Griffin” storyline also lacks any appeal. The Griffin is an extremely lame and shallow character. His storyline is just as unimpressive. I couldn’t care less if he is a villain or a hero.

I also don’t find anything compelling about Valerie’s storyline with her father being revealed as Mota. Who cares? Mota is a lame villain in the first place. I certainly could care less about the romantic angle between Valerie and Bart. As a matter of fact, the entire scene where Valerie tells Bart about how she saved him when in high school and how much she likes him was a really cheesy scene. The romance between these two characters seems totally forced. It gives the story a very writing by numbers feel.

And the skin heads inciting a race riot was incredibly unoriginal and clichéd. I really feel bad for you blancos. You guys are always portrayed as evil racists. If there is going to be a racist character appear in a comic, it is almost always a blanco male. Not very original or interesting.

The plotline with the Speed Force had potential, but it has been handled so poorly, that I have actually lost any interest in this plotline as well. Bilson and Demeo just seem to be cranking out a storyline that is of the quality of an extremely average and somewhat generic TV show. This comic just lacks the pop and sizzle that so many other new titles have like the Justice League of America.

Overall: Flash #3 was another unimpressive issue. The writing continues to lurch forward with no sign of progress or improvement. The plotlines are all uninteresting and the characters are all shallow and underdeveloped. I am getting the feeling that maybe it is just me. I just may not be the target audience for this comic book. I’m going to give this title one more issue, but I have a feeling that the axe will be falling on the Flash after issue #4. Right now, I simply can’t recommend this title to anyone other than a hardcore Flash fan or a hardcore Bart fan.

2 Comments

  1. Liked Bart as Impulse, loved him as Kid Flash.
    But they’ve made him the Flash far far far to soon.

    The reviews where you have lots of little comments throughout (especially sarcastic/funny one) are always a fun read.

  2. What? Skin heads? Are they actually any skin heads left in this country? I thought they all disappeared with the 1980’s.

    DC, like Marvel, never seems to run out of Nazis. Forty years from now, when we’re commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War II, there will still probably be Nazi bad guys showing up in superhero comic books.

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