The Flash #51 review

366054._SX640_QL80_TTD_By Van Jenson, Gus Vazquez & Joe Eisma, Guy Major, Pat Brosseau
The calculating mind behind the Flash’s unpopularity and anti-speedster drones is revealed to be the Riddler. Can the Fastest Man Alive survive against the snarky puzzler?

The Riddler facing off against other DC heroes besides Batman and taking entire cities hostage both have precedent. However, Riddler took over Gotham City with much more gusto and efficiency in “Zero Year”. Here, his holding every citizen hostage with the drones meant to police against speedsters like the Flash feels very one note and a little overplayed. Riddler even scares off the Rogues too easily by threatening Golden Glider. Though I’m sure they will return, their first reaction to the Riddler and his plan feel uncharacteristic.
Art duties are split between the artists of the last issue, with the back-up’s Joe Eisma taking over the latter half of the book. Once that happens, the art improves incredibly. Vazquez’s pencils are rough and inconsistent, with the Trickster looking like a muscular 40 year old and character’s placement jumping around in jarring ways. Eisma’s pencils not only maintain a visual continuity, they also ‘fit’ the title much better with a vibrant and cartoony style. Somehow he manages to draw the Flash and the Rogues as regular people in garish clothing without them looking the least bit awkward. If the next issue continues the pace of the previous one, Eisma may end up drawing the entire issue and the art would be better for it.
Jenson’s characterization gets lost somewhat in Riddler’s bragging and the side characters reacting to his plan. This feels much more like a pre-New 52 version that underwhelms from the one we saw in “Zero Year”. While the cliffhanger at the end is somewhat of a surprise, it also feels premature and lacking drama considering we’ve seen it plenty on the TV show. A slower story with a 50/50 split of good art.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent

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