Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Reviews: The Flash #13

Bart Allen is dead, brutally murdered by the Flash's increasingly vicious Rogues Gallery. The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13 brings an abrupt end to the story of the fourth man to wear the crimson comet's costume. Though Marc Guggenheim's narrative voice is as strong as ever and Tony Daniel's art is clear and commendable, this sensational saga seems little more than a macabre publicity stunt staged by DC Comics. Thirteen just may be an unlucky number for The Flash. What are readers across the web saying about the grim final installment in this controversial comic series? In the case of The Flash #13, in the wake of the scarlet speedster's execution, the net is understandably awash with commentary...

  • All About Comics's Phil Mateer reacts to the issue's drama with droll sarcasm. "Gosh, my heart is overcome with the tragedy of Bart’s death--or would be, I guess, if this had any sense of poignancy or drama, and didn’t just seem like a soulless corporate reaction to the current lack of interest or sales to this version of the character."
  • Rokk Krin of Comic Book Revolution feels that this was an exhilarating story from Marc Guggenheim. "Near the end of the issue, the reader is frantically turning the pages, hoping against hope that Bart would survive this story." This reviewer, however, also poses the question that will forever linger in our minds: "Was it really necessary to kill Bart Allen?"
  • Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter feels that this was a downright unpleasant end to an unremarkable series. After summarizing the issue's macabre plot, Spurgeon asks, "Does any of that sound fun? It shouldn't. It wasn't! It was sort of like being dragged behind a boat for ten seconds after falling off your water skis. There's no permanent damage, but it's unpleasant as all hell while it's happening. The plot here practically defines dreary, as you're essentially watching someone get murdered, and the script work seems ten years behind Guggenheim's recent stint on Blade."
  • The Flash #13 shares a blog spotlight--along with Justice League of America #10--as the Book of the Week at Jimmy Olsen's Blues. The tongue-in-cheek review is written from the perspective of the fallen scarlet speedster himself: "To DC Executive Editor Dan DiDio: You've finally painted yourself into a corner. You spent all this energy and soaked up a year's worth of negative response and kept my book around, only to Black Flash me anyway. Good luck finding the next Flash, smart guy..."
  • Adam Chapman, writing at ComiXtreme, grants the story four out of five exclamation points, noting that the series has come to an unceremonious end just as it was evolving into something exceptional. "Ultimately, I still feel that it misses plenty of opportunities, and is an abrupt end to what Guggenheim was putting together on this book. Guggenheim deserves a massive amount of praise, because he took this book, which had become virtually unreadable and unenjoyable, and made it good again... It's a shame that the book is now ending."
  • Kenneth Gallant of Broken Frontier is left with the opinion that The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive was nothing more than a failed experiment. "The argument that the Flash is a generational character is debatable at best, and it became painfully obvious that Bart Allen wasn’t up to the task of replacing a character like Wally West."
  • Film Frontier Reviews's JediSheltie, like many other readers, "wouldn't have minded seeing Bart succeed as Flash." Unfortunately, the young speedster was never given a proper chance. "Bart always would have that headache inducing back story, but that hardly meant his character couldn't be compelling. Leaching him completely of the sense of humor and turning him into a such a stock character signaled bad things from the start. Bart has left us, the Flash is dead."

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