Note: This review was originally published at InfiniteComix.com
Ever want to check out Marvel Comics’ favorite mutants, but found their continuity to be completely impenetrable? Then you’re in luck, as doppelgangers for several X-Men characters (and settings) have found their way into the pages of DC Comics’ The Flash. After the previous issue saw some minor hiccups in Brett Booth’s art, the penciler has returned to form with The Flash #39. Sadly, the same can be said for the quality of the story, which returns to its middling quality.
As has been the case over the course of the last several issues, Robert Venditti and Van Jensen’s script has been solid from a technical standpoint, but lacks an emotional hook to keep readers invested. The main problem has been making the present-day story-line interesting and engaging enough for readers. During the Future Flash’s journey to the present, readers were not overly concerned with the Mashup Killer story. Now that the Future Flash has taken over Barry’s present day life, his narrative has taken a backseat to the much more interesting adventure in the Speed Force (which curiously looks like Marvel’s Savage Land). Given the time-travel, interdimensional nature of this story, the problem is not as noticeable as it could be. However, there are legitimate concerns for when this story inevitably comes to an end and the writers are forced to focus on the present day.
Brett Booth, supported by inker Norm Rapmund and colorist Andrew Dalhouse, continues to produce some career best work. Each panel is filled with a level of detail and energy that The Flash demands. His expressive rendering of characters humanize them, adding life to what would otherwise be a lifeless title. Those moments when the script calls for an action sequence, Booth is able to deliver hearty and satisfying layouts that elevate the title from its meandering state. Also, his inclusion of certain X-Men characters is a nice wink to his longtime fans.
The Flash #39 is the definition of mediocre. It’s neither good nor bad – merely adequate. Brett Booth continues to pour his heart and soul into the pencils, which are further enhanced by Norm Rapmund’s inks and Andrew Dalhouse’s colors. Unfortunately, the script continues to be – at best – okay. The ideas show promise, but refuse to be executed properly. Given the developments that occur between the covers, it remains to be seen if writers Robert Venditti and Van Jensen will be able to close the door on their trans-dimensional, time-travel adventure before the two month Convergence hiatus.