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]