Review by Frank Plowright
There’s been no part for Abra-Kadabra or the Top in this iteration of the Flash to date, but the other major Flash villain missing until now makes his New 52 debut. Not immediately, though.
By the time he does take centre stage Reverse Flash becomes the only super-villain to appear in Reverse. Not to worry, as this of little concern in a volume that packs a fair amount of material. There’s the first meeting between Flash and Kid Flash, a member of the Teen Titans and no relation, someone else trying on a Flash costume with an interesting effect, and more detail on what sinister research scientist Darwin Elias has been up to.
In Gorilla Warfare several characters with a shared experience were revealed to have escaped with a bonus. That doesn’t appear such a good deal here as someone’s hunting them down.
For the fourth consecutive volume Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato supply well-conceived, character-driven superhero action, but the question has to be asked whether it matches the Reverse Flash stories of the past. The identity of the new version is ironic rather than iconic, they have a selfish agenda that blots out all appreciation of concerns other than their own and their abilities differ slightly from previous bearers of the Reverse-Flash name.
There is a final story, where for the first time there are pages by a guest artist who can match Manapul, Chris Sprouse. He illustrates a tale set in Gotham six years prior to the earlier continuity, in which Barry Allen meets Iris West for the first time, both in the rookie days of their respective professions. It’s very contrived, and somehow pointless, despite the art and an appearance from Harvey Bullock.
This is Manapul’s farewell tour as both artist and co-writer. Over the years Flash has experienced fewer dips into mediocrity than almost any other DC title, and Manapul’s contributions have been at the upper end of the scale. It’s Buccellato writing alone on History Lessons.