This is part 3 of my 24-part-series “Super-Heroes: Best Place to start” [Link to the complete list... here!].
To me, the best place to start is…
not yet released. If you want to start reading right away, a charming first look will be:
“DC: The New Frontier” by Darwyn Cooke (Writing and Art), a limited series / trade paperback collection [Link to review] published in 2004.
If you can wait until November 2012, though, I’d recommend the following collection by Francis Manapul (Writing and Art) and Brian Buccellato:
THE FLASH VOL. 1 HC Writers: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato Artist: Francis Manapul Collects: THE FLASH #1-7 $22.99 US, 168 pg.
more info: here [Link]
What’s the appeal of… Barry Allen and Wally West?
Created at the start of the quirky, optimistic and crazy 1950ies/60ies “Silver Age” of Comics [Link], “The Flash” tells inventive, but slightly nerdy and repetitive tales of street-level, everyday men: Barry Allen and his – temporary – replacement Wally West are doting, sweet and sometimes naive midwestern boys, perpetually almost ready to settle down.
A wide-eyed, but small-scale / suburban / rose-colored examination of life’s demands on your typical normal, late-twenties, All-American “regular” guy.
two other books, good for beginners:
- The Flash: The Return of Barry Allen [Mark Waid, Link]
- The Flash: The dastardly Death of the Roges [Geoff Johns, Link]
good books for advanced readers:
- The Flash: The Secret of Barry Allen [Geoff John, Link]
- The Flash: Terminal Velocity [Mark Waid, Link]
sub-par or disappointing books:
- The Flash: Lightning in a Bottle [Danny Bilson, Link] – tired and trite.
- The Flash: Blood will Run [Geoff Johns, Link] – one step forward… two steps back. The start of a long, rogue-centric run with tiring characterization and no progress / learning curve for the heroes.
- The Flash: Rebirth [Geoff Johns, Link] – muddled and convoluted.
- Final Crisis: Rogue’s Revenge [Geoff Johns, Link] – What the hell, Weather Wizard? Depressing, joyless, rushed.
common problems / grievances in “The Flash” books:
- a plethora of (fairly likeable but flat) mentors, kids and sidekick speedster heroes… who have nothing to do.
- never-ending “the tiger cannot change it’s stripes”-storylines about gimmick-themed thugs and gangsters like Captain Cold, Mirror Master or Trickster.
- a fairly suburban / apolitical / rose-colored perspective on city life, long-term relationships and civic duty. Even more kitties waiting to be rescued than in Superman’s Metropolis.
Is the current monthly “The Flash” book, launched in September 2011, any good?
Hell, yes! Francis Manapul’s “The Flash” is so lush, charming, engaging and reader-friendly… it feels more a like Disney / Pixar production than a DC super-hero book. Excellent, visually mature storytelling for an all-ages audience!
Interested in other comic book heroes?
I’d recommend bright and big-hearted series like “Supergirl”, “JSA” and the current “Aquaman”.
Here’s my full list [Link]!
- 30 years with “Green Lantern”: my interview with Sally Pascale, blogger, feminist and suburban comic book reader [Link]
- An industry in crisis: my interview with CEB, comic book critic at “Collected Editions” [Link]
- September 2011: all 52 new DC books – read and reviewed [Link]
my German comic book journalism:
- Green Arrow und Black Canary: “Helden auf der Kücheninsel” [Berliner Tagesspiegel, Link]
- Supergirl: “Mit dem Kopf voran” [Berliner Tagesspiegel, Link]
- Starman: “Alles ist erleuchtet [Berliner Tagesspiegel, Link]
- Wonder Woman: “Stolz und Vorurteil [Berliner Tagesspiegel, Link]