Serials for 1-25: The Flash #5 and more

The Flash #5
by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato

Central City in a blackout! Iron Heights in a prison break! Mob Rule in an electromagnetic generator! Only the Flash can handle all three: Speed Force is GO! The two-man team of Manapul and Buccellato continue to push Barry Allen to the limit, and we see some form of a conclusion to those three plot points -- Mob Rule is put to a stop, even if it's temporary; Central City is brought back to power, and Iris West is saved from Iron Heights.

The creativity from these guys is remarkable. Manapul frames the pages in such a clever manner, and there are 3 two-page spreads from this issue: all of them magnificent. Barry's taken on some herculean feat as he discovers his powers, issue by issue, and issue 5 is no different: he uses the speed force to carry two supply boats along his slipstream for the savvy civilians of Central City!

The visual storytelling is a total knockout and the pacing is relentless: The Flash is a hell of a comic book.

American Vampire #23
by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque

"Death Race" continues in this second part of four. The immediate plot doesn't move forward, so much as there are flashbacks. If you'll remember, the meat of issue 22 was told in a flashback as well, but it was a strong flashback -- we learned who this crazy teenager, Travis Kidd is, and what he does for a living: hunting vampires, in an exciting way. In this issue we learn about why he hunts vampires (parents were killed by one) and not much else. That's it. The serial experience doesn't seem to be a priority for this issue, which makes it weaker than the previous.

Secret Avengers #21
by Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen

It's Warren Ellis's goodbye issue! You'd expect the Secret Avengers to finally take down the persistent terror organization, the Shadow Council, but the issue focuses instead on the takedown of one of its many machinations: a cross-dimensional breeding experiment gone wrong in the subbasement of an anti-terror building.

What a mouthful! Where the previous issues focused on a single Secret Avenger or maybe a pair, this issue involves all of them, taking down the monster and escaping safely. There's not much room for character development, and although I feel Ellis could have done more with a few pages, Immonen keeps up with the action-movie pace and together they make a nice, stand-alone conclusion of a story.

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