The Trickster is back... and he's stolen the Flash's ring?!
What trickery is this?! And what's the secret of the Flash's ring?
There’s something of tradition in comics of crafting a palette cleanser after major, life-altering events for a lead character. Something short and sweet and down to earth that helps ground the lead again after triumphing over whatever world-beater they’ve recently come up against. It’s healthy for the character, sure, but also it keeps things fresh for readers. So surely, surely that tradition is what editorial had in mind for new writer Kevin Shinick, inbound after four years of Flash-y speeding around at the hands of Josh Williamson.
Flash #763 is antithetical to a fault to the high-stakes, world-altering OTT madness of Williamson’s run. Gesturally, it’s nice to see the Flash working a down-to-earth case against the Trickster, who has somehow stolen his ring (you know, the one his costume pops out of) and is using it as a prize in his club. Lamentably, though, the story’s inherent low-stakes, low-key plot more or less winds up being a snoozefest despite its earnest intentions. Yes, it’s nice to get some emotional backstory to the ring, but ultimately, Trickster’s plan is thin at best, and the VR twist partway through is groan-worthy and played-out. There’s no real stakes to anything, especially with this being a one-and-done issue. It really reads like a forgettable fill-in issue rather than the starting point of a new writer’s (hopefully) long-running tenure. There’s a half-hearted character beat toward the end revolving around Barry’s emotional tie to the ring itself, but on top of being too little, too late, it’s pretty cheesy as well.
The story is further hampered by uninspired art by Clayton Henry. Henry’s art is all angles and cartoonish expressions and exaggeration, not without its charm but not right for the Flash. Everyone has a blocky appearance that just doesn’t sit right in the Fast Man Alive’s world. Poor Iris looks downright weird. Henry doesn’t convey motion very well (which is obviously critical for drawing the Flash); even when he’s running, Barry looks like a statue. Compounding the issue is Marco Maiolo’s coloring, which is garish and overly reliant on lens flare – on pretty much everything, even bare skin, which makes absolutely no sense. I can’t help but think Henry’s art would have shone better if he’d been paired with a colorist using a flatter, more muted color palette.
In all, Flash #763 is a completely forgettable experience. Readers looking for a great new jumping-on point for the post-Williamson era will have to keep waiting, unfortunately.
Flash #763 is a hollow, forgettable reading experience. From a paper-thin plot to hackneyed emotional beats to art that just doesn't work, this is one to skip from start to finish.
Flash #763: Rings ‘n’ Things
Writing - 5/105/10
Storyline - 3.5/103.5/10
Art - 3/103/10
Color - 2/102/10
Cover Art - 6/106/10
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