This review was originally published at InfiniteComix.com
The pre-Crisis incarnation of Barry Allen was notoriously boring. Despite the inexplicable lunacy of his stories from the 1950s through his demise in the mid-1980s, Barry was always a bit of a stiff. His writers tended to focus on the near limitless potential of the stories a Flash comic could tell, without paying much attention to the man beneath the mask – at least until Cary Bates came along. Even then, the character’s charisma-free personality had been so well established that any attempts to inject interpersonal drama and *gasp* real character moments came off as melodramatic, culminating in the tedious, drawn out Trial of the Flash. After that story arc, many welcomed Barry’s death, and would have been satisfied with a less heroic exit than what was presented in Crisis.
It’s important to lay out this backstory, because while Convergence: The Flash features the pre-Crisis Barry Allen, this story is full of charm and wit to go along with the superhero action. Facing off against the Tangent Universe’s Superman, Barry and his opponent decide to talk it out because they’re not only heroes, but reasonable people too. Though the Tangent Superman may come off as arrogant, it is the result of him simply stating the fact that he is superior in terms of power, which Barry acknowledges.
This version of Barry Allen also benefits from the mainstream’s more accepting attitude of “geek culture.” From his inception, Barry was a full on “geek,” reading comics and playing with chemicals. Unfortunately, during his original series the mainstream was not as accepting of such hobbies, and so it was rarely featured. But in an age where The Avengers is a multi-billion dollar franchise and Doctor Who merchandise is widely available in the U.S., writer’s can fully embrace all facets of Barry’s character. Barry’s comparing of this situation to an old episode of Star Trek – an assessment to which the Tangent Superman agrees – is one of the many subtleties that adds to this issue’s delight.
The art is, once again, gorgeous. Federico Dallocchio may not be the biggest name in the industry, but he has big league talent. If DC was ever wondering who they should tap as their next artist for the Flash ongoing title, this guy would certainly fit the bill. Inevitably, there is a tussle between the two heroes which Dallocchio renders in stunning fashion. The style he brings to the book combines modern with classic aesthetics.
Convergence: The Flash #2 is a diamond in the rough. The event and its tie-in have certainly yielded some questionable choices. However, the work by Abnett and Dallocchio have yielded a two-issue story that should not be missed.