“Wally isn’t just walking home … every time he gets upset he runs.”

The Flash and Kid Flash put their detective skills to work as they work together to track down Wally’s criminal father. Their detective skills are going to be put to the test as their leads send them into dangerous territory.

The Flash #18 has all the right ingredients for a great comic book and Joshua Williamson, Jesus Merino, and Andy Owens are the perfect cooks to serve it up. Williamson explores multiple father-son relationships and highlights the differences, but also points out the similarities. By doing this, Williamson explores some of Barry and Wally’s inner depths and how their family drives them.

After the brief father-son and family exploration, Williamson dives into detective mode and puts The Flash and Kid Flash in situations that would be highly appropriate for Batman. However, with The Flash and Kid Flash on the case, things end up a little bit differently than they would have with Batman. In fact, if you compared Tom King’s Batman #4, you’d see how different these superheroes handle things when dealing with a similar situation.

In these situations, Williamson gives us action, but also showcases a little bit of our main protagonists’ characters. Kid Flash’s green behavior definitely comes forth in addition to The Flash’s utter inability to properly get through and mentor Kid Flash. It gets back to one of the core focuses in the father-son relationships. The action throughout this issue is purposeful in that it really showcases characterization.

The Flash #18

The dialogue throughout the story is wonderful. Williamson can make you feel at ease during a family brunch, or frustrated when Kid Flash runs off on his own disobeying Barry’s orders. It all feels natural. His words can even evoke tones – where you end up hearing the haughtiness, frustration, or excitement. If there was one thing that was bothersome in the dialogue, it was the use of grayed out text to imply the characters were whispering to each other. It seemed unnecessary and might not show up very well on digital devices.

Jesus Merino’s pencils are as good as Williamson’s dialogue. He can make you feel just at home during a family brunch as he does in the bowels of Belle Reve prison. He does a great job of capturing movement with both The Flash and Kid Flash. He uses lines that are shooting behind the characters at their feet to make them appear like they are moving at super speed on an inanimate page. The panels for the most part flow well. However, he does have Wally and Barry break out of the panels a number of times and at one point you might think you are supposed to follow their feet into the next panel – only to discover you missed the panel to its left.

The Flash #18

Andy Owens’ inks are a little heavy on the shading. It can wash out some of Merino’s facial features, but at the same time it also highlights and accentuates the facial features. For example in one panel, Owens’ inks force your eyes to focus on the whites of Wally’s eyes. It allows you to see his surprise and fear. However, in the very next panel, the shading washes out Barry’s facial features, making it almost impossible to tell exactly how he is feeling. The inks also give the story a darker tone, which is appropriate given the more serious nature of the themes Williamson and company explore.

Chris Sotomayor’s colors are for the most part solid. However, there is one panel towards the end which just really irritated me. Sotomayor makes it near impossible to figure out what exactly is happening. You can’t tell if there is blood pouring down a man’s neck or if it’s just a collision effect. It really takes away from the entire action scene.

The Flash #18

The Verdict

The Flash #18 is a solid entry. It has a number of things going for it such as the father-son explorations, Barry and Kid Flash’s detective skills, and Williamson’s fantastic dialogue. However, there are a number of flaws including some sloppy panels, a little heavy shading, and some coloring which can derail an entire action scene. It’s definitely worth a purchase, but there are some technical issues that definitely could be cleaned up. The story is definitely good with a number of interesting characters to whet your appetite!

Comic Book Review: The Flash #18
Pros
  • Williamson’s dialogue
  • Exploration of father-son theme
  • The Flash and Kid Flash setting off on a detective case!
Cons
  • A little overkill on the shading
  • Grayed out whisper text
  • Some sloppy panel design
7Overall Score
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