It's the Flash and his new pal the Atom (a.k.a. Ryan Choi) versus... a dinosaur?!
The new dynamic duo puts the prehistoric beastie to sleep, and bond over their shared passion for all things science.
But this isn't the first chronal anomaly of the day. Earlier, when Barry was on a date with Iris, an old-timey cattle drive broke out at the zoo!
What's causing the chronal chaos?! Or is it... who? The answer's not so obvious, even when a classic Flash rogue shows up!
The Flash: Fastest Man Alive #3 is a fun, lighthearted romp, but is maybe a little too basic for its own good. As with most of DC’s Digital First comics, it’s deliberately intended as a bite-size reading experience that offers easy access to new readers. But Fastest Man Alive might veer a little too far in that direction, and leave older readers a bit confused.
Having the Flash meet the Atom for the first time in his rookie career makes sense, except that the Atom in question is Ryan Choi instead of Ray Palmer. The story simply assumes Choi is the only Atom that’s ever been, instead of a legacy character as he’s always been written. That’s fine for newcomers, but stands to ruffle feathers of longtime readers and/or continuity buffs. As far as the story goes, it works, but any older fans looking for something a bit more consistent with Choi’s established history are going to be confused or irritated, probably both.
Writer Gail Simone’s take on Barry Allen, on the other hand, is pretty much spot-on. As I stated in my review of the first issue of this Digital First series, I’m all on board for Simone to write the Flash on a regular, ongoing basis. She has a natural inclination for who Barry is, how he’d react in a given scenario, and how he relates to others. In Choi, he finds a kindred spirit in all things science geekery, leading to quality exchanges like this:
Barry’s visible discomfort is vintage Barry, as is Ryan’s over-exuberance. It’s clear that Simone has affection for these characters, despite being somewhat limited by the dictates of the Digital First platform. As for the rest of the story, chronal anomalies and time travel are nothing new for Flash fans, nor is the overall presentation. A dinosaur running around downtown Central City really isn’t enough for most readers to get worked up about, nor is the sudden appearance of a cattle drive. The real meat of this tale is the why of it all, which leads to a surprising appearance by an old-school DC villain. And even his appearance is a bit of a red herring, as the true answer to the riddle is far more directly related to Flash than anyone could guess.
Artistically, though, this issue has some… well, issues. From the cover all the way to the last page, the art is wildly inconsistent. Ken Marion’s cover just looks sloppy in its rendering (not to mention the creepy vacant stare in Barry’s eyes), and the washed-out background coloring has the opposite of its intended effect and looks like someone digitally overlaid a separate drawing of the Flash over a completely different piece, in a bad Photoshop. As for the interior art, Clayton Henry’s pencils are inconsistent from page to page, with lots of panels where the simple rendering of human anatomy is just… off. For example, what on earth is happening with Barry and Iris’s foreheads in this panel?
Rule of thumb for any artist, especially if you are being paid to draw something that consumers are going to shell out their hard-earned money for: if you can’t draw something, like a head tilted down, either don’t draw it or learn how. It’s okay to not know how to draw something; it’s not okay to slop out something so clearly wrong and pass it off as “good enough.” And unfortunately, this comic is rife with panels like this. Now, Clayton Henry’s a good artist. I’ve read comics drawn by him before with which I had no problems. But something about the execution in Fastest Man Alive #3 is seriously lacking.
Similarly, colorist Marcelo Maiolo’s worst tendencies seem to come out in this issue, perhaps bolstered by Henry’s inconsistent pencilwork. Maiolo is a digital colorist, and that generally shows via his blocky coloring and insistence on everything having lens flare – and way too much of it, to boot. When he’s working with the right artist, like Bernard Chang on Teen Titans, he pairs well enough with the penciler’s style that it’s less noticeable. But contrasted with Clayton Henry’s strained linework here, his shortcomings sorely stick out, making much of the issue’s art garish to look at.
What's a lighthearted superhero romp is derailed by woefully inconsistent art in Flash: Fastest Man Alive #3. Probably not spectacular enough to lure new readers in, and too basic to be of much interest to seasoned vets: this comic lands frustratingly in the middle, resting in the limbo of comics you forget almost as soon as you're done reading them.
The Flash: Fastest Man Alive #3: Science Nerds
Writing - 6/106/10
Storyline - 5/105/10
Art - 4/104/10
Color - 4/104/10
Cover Art - 4.5/104.5/10
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