Now this is what an issue of the Scarlet Speedster's adventures should read like! Despite how good this book looks, I'd been getting a little frustrated with Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato's seeming hesitance to really step in and shake things up. That concern has definitely been assuaged with Flash #7.
We open up right were we left-off last issue, with Barry pushing his speed powers to their limit to save Patty Spivot and some other innocent bystanders from a deadly fall. Manapul does a brilliant job in depicting this sequence, and the unintended consequences of Barry's actions were both dramatically appropriate and built nicely on the bits and pieces that Manapul and Buccellato have established in the first six issues of this series. The whole thing was an excellent example of using prior events to push the current narrative forward, and it definitely felt like the wait was worth it.
On a similar note, I must say that my initially critical reaction to Captain Cold's sudden murderous-nature was perhaps a little hasty. I found it to be very well-used in this issue, adding a lot to Cold's character and to Barry's continually growing list of things he feels that he needs to make up for. I was especially intrigued when Cold's sister expressed her disdain for Len when she woke up later on in the issue. I will be intrigued to see what eventually comes of that small moment.
Perhaps the best part of this issue is that all of these seemingly disparate moments lead us back to the blackout in both Central and Keystone City that Flash accidentally caused a few issues back. Barry goes to Dr. Elias and the doctor's new and improved Cosmic Treadmill in an attempt to turn the lights back on and make up for some of his (self-identified) recent shortcomings. It's a nice climax to all of these different story threads and acts as a really interesting way to tie them all together. Barry's decision to take things one step further and leap into the wormhole he creates was a really interesting story moment and one I'm eager to see develop. The entire sequence felt like a very natural next step in the narrative, building on everything that's come before in an organic way. It also doesn't hurt that Manapul's double-page splashes look absolutely gorgeous and do an excellent job in selling the whole thing.
I'm definitely feeling like I should have been a little more patient in some of my earlier criticisms of this title. While I was getting antsy, Manapul and Buccellato were taking their time to move everything into place, and now the two are paying off a lot of the elements that they've been setting up. The only things that I was a little unsure about this issue were the one page dedicated to the gorillas of Gorilla City and Patty's somewhat odd grief for Barry. Both of these parts felt like they could have used a bit more time, but I'm willing to give them some time to develop over the coming issues.
Verdict - Buy It. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are telling some solid Flash stories here. My earlier impatience aside, the two do seem to have a vision of where they want to take the character, and that's finally coming into play in a big way. Things are looking good, especially when you consider Manapul's shining art and Buccellato's excellent colouring that we've gotten to enjoy since issue #1.
AMERICAN VAMPIRE #25 - I've had nothing but good things to say since the most recent American Vampire arc, Death Race, has gotten underway, and the same holds true here. If anything, I feel like Scott Snyder and Raphael Albuquerque's conclusion to the arc is the best issue of the bunch. The final confrontation between Travis Kidd and Skinner Sweet was filled with twists and turns, Travis' grisly origin was well-handled, and the final twist in the fight really took me by surprise (while still making complete sense). I can't wait to see what comes from that reveal. I also gotta say that I really liked the closing moment's of Travis' narrative (for now, at least). Additionally, the issue's epilogue was top notch, setting up some big things to come. American Vampire is back at the top of its game, and I couldn't be happier.
Verdict - Buy It.
DAREDEVIL #10 - Kind of like Flash, I've been a little negative on the recent issues of Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera's Daredevil. While I've continue to dig Rivera's art, I've felt like Waid's writing has been a little lackluster. Although I feel like Daredevil #10 is a big step in the right direction, I wouldn't say that it makes the shortcomings of the last few issues look much better, but I am glad to see things getting back on track. The fight between Mole Man and Daredevil is handled extremely well by both men; Waid does a good job filling in Mole Man's motivations and Rivera's art is the perfect complement. I was especially impressed with the moment when Daredevil punches Mole Man so hard that his glasses break. It was a subtle thing, but it was really effective. The book's conclusion with Matt reading Black Cat's note was a good conclusion and a nice set up for the forthcoming Omega Effect, which I find myself more and more excited for.
Verdict - Check It.