Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Paul's Picks! - Nov. 23rd

Well, it's that time again folks: Wednesday! And you know what Wednesday is?... Well, of course you do, you're reading a blog about comics, so you obviously know it's New Comics Day, a.k.a. Paul's favorite weekly holiday! And in celebration of this weekly, well, celebration, Paul is here to give you his favorite book of the week.

The Flash by Francis Manupal and Brian Buccellato

Happy Turkey week! In a time of festivities and much food consumption, I'm sure many of you will be busy spending time with your families and eating your weight in turkey and dressing. Still, in the midst of all the food and fun, us comic geeks will certainly find the time to swing by our local store and grab our pulls. I waited to head home for the holidays until today just to make sure that I could grab my books, so you all would have my Pick to check out this week. Don't you feel special?

My folder was packed pretty full this week, with Superman, Teen Titans, Flash, Aquaman, and even more. However, even with a wider selection than usual, this week's winner was a shoe-in. While I'm loving Johns' Aquaman, this week's issue was a little more bland than the first two (at least the ending was). The star this week was undeniably Barry Allen in The Flash, by Francis Manupal and Brian Buccellato. When I heard that Johns was leaving the book post-Flashpoint, I was apprehensive to say the least. Manupal's art had been fantastic on the series. I'm a big fan of Scott Kolins' work on the character, but Manupal is rapidly getting closer and closer to my favorite artist, especially with Barry. By the time I finished the first issue of the DCnU title, I knew these guys were here to play for real. Manupal gets in Barry's head so well that sometimes I forget there even is an author, leaving me to almost believe that I'm reading the real thoughts of a real person.

Of course, the other fear is that when an artist is taking on the writing responsibilities of a book, either the writing is going to be lacking or the art is going to suffer. (*See Superman or Batman: The Dark Knight for some examples.) Perhaps the story benefits from the shared effort of Buccellato and Manupal together, but Manupal is credited with the art himself, and Buccellato with the colors. Manupal takes the same care and essence-of-awesomeness that it always have, and this story is awesome. This style is much different than some of the mainstream artists these days, but man is it perfect for Barry Allen!

Did that plane just vibrate so fast it passed through
that bridge? Why yes, I think it did. 
Still, although I absolutely love this art, it's not the drawing that brings me back each month: it's the story. Many of these books were supposed to be creating something new for us to revamp the characters, while also making it accessible for new readers. While this isn't an origin, it does have some origin-ish-ness (I know, not a word, but this is my column by George!) to it. For one, we're undoubtedly going to see Barry get back with his fated wife, Iris West. The most exciting part for me is seeing Barry discovering new aspects to his abilities: notably his super-speed brain! This Flash is not just fast, powerful, and smart, he has the ability to think so fast he can project all of his next moves before they take place! (For a better idea of this, see The Flash #2).

After going on a century of DC comics, the biggest challenge for these creative teams is to make the characters their own; to make their mark; in the case of this book, Manupal and Buccellato have done just that. I'm so excited for what's coming from these incredibly talented guys. I'm a huge fan of what Geoff Johns did with Barry pre-Flashpoint, but trust me when I say that this book is in no way a step down from what came before, but rather the beginning of something that may set the mold for Flash comics to come. And I'll be right here to see it all unfold firsthand! You should join me, and buy this book. And of course, have a great Thanksgiving holiday! See you next week for a special edition of Paul's Picks!

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