I’m starting to think Flash comics are affected by the Speed Force. Every time I turn around it seems I have a new issue in my inbox to review. It might also be that I have no idea what’s going on, so I’m being bombarded with new information just as last issue’s lesson finally settles in. Characters, relationships, past events, and what each character knows, are all new to me. While this makes for exciting reading, I can’t help but feel the gravity of certain moments is lost on me. Do these shortcomings help or hurt my enjoyment of The Flash #20? Let’s find out.
“The dangerous scientists of Black Hole have been stealing the bodies of dead speedsters, prompting Iris West and The Flash to go deep undercover among them! And in doing so, they discover a shocking secret: a traitor within The Flash’s inner circle!”
The danger of a great first impression is that it sets up high expectations. Joshua Williamson set the bar high with “Sins of the Father” and now has to continue to impress. While the inexperienced fan of The Flash in me appreciates Iris West’s narration of the issue, the fan of visual storytelling in me thinks there’s far too much exposition. After the brutality of the first page, I was expecting a bit more action than was given. Williamson yet again sets the stage in a Part One for a story built on relationships, intrigue, and facing one’s own past, and it’s that type of writing that keeps me looking forward to the next issue.
Neil Googe takes over the series as the illustrator. I know it’s only one issue but I already miss Jesus Merino. I’m not saying Neil Googe does a bad job, I’m just going to have to get used to the continuous change in artwork that is so common in comics. Most of The Flash #20 is a bit too cartoonish compared to the previous arc. The first and last page stand out as favorites. Both are full page illustrations with just enough dialogue to make an immediate and lasting impact.