Hal Jordan and Barry Allen have one of the most unique bromances in all of comics. Two odd couple cop superheroes that live their personal lives on polar opposites shouldn’t be besties, but for over 20 years writers have found ways to make their relationship believable and meaningful. Today, Flash Annual 2 doesn’t so much rewrite the history of the duo but give it back to the fans in a way that feels familiar and fresh at the same time.
Writer Brian Buccellato recounts the first meeting of Barry and Hal in the New52. Instead of two superheroes forced to team up against an earth destroying menace; their coming together is intelligently played out on their little exploited commonality of being cops. They organically play the roles of straight desk cop and loose cannon results cop while bonding over a case. Readers will also get unexpected doses of laughs between the two that give smart levity to the story much like an episode of How I Met Your Mother. In fact one of the best moments in comics this year happens with a case of mistaken identity right as the two interact during the flashback.
The only small flaw I have with this issue is the art. Sami Basari’s art does a decent job keeping up with the nuances of the narrative but it lacks the gorgeous over the top moments Manapul draws in the regular series. One thing I’ve noticed, every time DC uses a fill in artist for Flash books they go for a look that imitates Francis Manapul’s uncanny style. Instead, DC editors should use an opportunity like the annual to go for a different style of art that could impact the narrative in more resonating ways.
Included in the issue is a lovely ten page back up story by Nicole Dubic and Cully Hamner. A story about choice that gives an interesting point of view to what Barry Allen lives with every day in his Flash dichotomy. It’s solid and lends to the value of the book.
This book isn’t perfect but the plot, pacing, character, and dialogue damn near are. Warner Brothers take note; don’t go looking for a writer for your Flash movie who only picks up a comic book because he has to, when you already have a writer who has already proven he knows the potential Barry Allen has. I say purveyor of words Brian Buccellato needs to write the Flash’s big screen debut.
9.5 out of 10. Near perfect! A small problem with the art isn’t enough to hinder our love of this book.