The Flash #6
The Flash #6
Publisher: DC Comics
Writers: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Penciller: Francis Manapul

You have to hand it to Manapul and Buccellato. These two were facing an uphill battle from day one. Their first major writing gig was the DC Relaunch title of an A-List character who had just replaced the version of the character whom most fans were familiar with. I can't be the only one who had low expectations for this title, and I am happy to say that this team has left those expectations in the dust.

While Barry and Patty dig into another cold case, Captain Cold decides the time has come to make a move against the Flash. As luck would have it, Cold strikes during what just might possibly be one of the most awkward dinners in the history of the fledgling DCnU. The Flash quickly learns that his old foe has learned more than a few new tricks, and that this time, their grudge match is very, very personal.

While the freshmen writers are still finding their footing with dialogue (the "relationship talk" between Barry and Patty was particularly clunky), the direction that the overall plot is moving, and their tweaking of classic elements of the Flash mythology have me hooked. Each issue is accessible in and of itself, but events from the first couple stories continue to play a large role in the developing mythology of this duo's run.

While they offer a new spin on one of the Flash's most infamous enemies in this issue, die hard Flash fans should take comfort in knowing that Captain Cold is still the same bastard we know and love. All that has changed is the level of threat he poses to the Crimson Speedster.

The art on this title is, as always, as gorgeous as it is innovative. Manapul's line work depicts expressive characters and backgrounds teeming with action and detail. Particularly impressing are Manapul's layouts of which he seems to try to top himself with each subsequent issue, designing pages that unique, visually appealing, and motivated by the script. Not only does he challenge himself to find new ways to portray the title character's speed but he also portrays a Titanic-esque shipwreck on top of a pillar of ice in excruciating detail Say what you will about writing this is undoubtedly the prettiest book of the new 52.

Buccellato employs a muted color palette for the scenes focusing on Allen's civilian life, while really cutting loose with vibrant hues when the Flash goes into action. The pale blue frost of Captain Cold's ice structures contrasts against the hot electricity crackingly over the Flash just as the deep hues of blue and red of the characters' costumes clash creating a simple and visually pleasing color motif throughout the issue.

Grade: B+
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