Written by:  Geoff Johns

Art by:  Francis Manapul

Published by:  DC Comics

Price:  $2.99

Fact #1:  My introduction to the Flash came with the post-Crisis on Infinite Earth, Mike Baron and Jackson Guice’s Wally West variety.  I became an even a bigger fan of Mark Waid’s defining run.  So I was never much of a Barry Allen guy.

Fact #2:  Geoff Johns is the DC equivalent of Marvel’s Brian Michael Bendis.  The publisher’s defining voice, who seems to have his hand in everything, and like the aforementioned Mark Waid (or Kurt Busiek for that matter), can deliver the classic super hero tale, infusing them with the essence of what we love about super HEROES.

With those two facts in mind, the dialogue and action sequences flow nicely together in this issue.  We get a real sense of fluid movement without rows of talking heads filling us in on the plot.  Every time I randomly pick up an issue of the Flash, he seems to be up against a variation of his rogues gallery.  They always felt kind of like it takes six lame villains to create a legitimate threat.  On the whole, Johns handles the time travel elements adeptly (Fact #3:  I’m always leery of time travel stories because we’re usually left with plot holes one could park motor homes in by the end) and almost succeeds in making us believe the Tops convoluted motivations and plan.  Almost.  Cause there do seem to be a few less convoluted ways the Top could have handled things.  Also less than successful was John’s handling of the falsely imprisoned kid.  Everything was wrapped up with a tidy boy and comes off a little too intentional about tugging at heartstrings.  Yet, all things considered, these are nits we can live with.

“You remember what you always tell me about the past?  It’s just that … the past.  And you’re always focused what’s ahead.” –Iris

I was struck by the laudable idea behind the time police and their mission to eliminate crime by going back in time and stopping it.  Yet, I also couldn’t help but think about how much we learn and our formed by our regrets and tragedies.  How this life is hard and waving a magic wand, as much as we may want to sometimes to erase our adversity and pain, ultimately wouldn’t teach us how to navigate that part of the human experience.

It brings to mind a quote from Danny DeVito’s character in the movie The Big Kahuna who put it this way: “I’m saying you’ve already done plenty of things to regret, you just don’t know what they are. It’s when you discover them, when you see the folly in something you’ve done, and you wish that you had it do over, but you know you can’t, because it’s too late. So you pick that thing up, and carry it with you to remind you that life goes on, the world will spin without you, you really don’t matter in the end. Then you will gain character, because honesty will reach out from inside and tattoo itself across your face.”

Rather than erase events so that they never happened, it seems more “human” to learn from them, repair where we can, and continue to join in God’s mission to bring restoration and reconciliation.  Everything else feels like a shortcut wherein we learn nothing.

“You gave him his future back.  And to him, that future is rife with potential.” –Iris

This issue also seems like it will be one of those issues where collectors come back and scour for clues as hints about the Road to Flashpoint, 2011’s big event, are doled out.  We know that something bad is on the horizon, and something about time travel has been planted in Barry Allen’s head.  Did I mention that Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato art kicks major butt and every page explodes?