This week “The Button” wraps up in The Flash #22, and the first story arc for Curse Words is here!
The Flash #22 (DC Comics)
It’s all come to this. With the hype of the entire DC universe and comic fans behind it, “The Button” has reached its conclusion. But now that we know the next installment in the Rebirth mystery is coming in November, has the wind been taken out of The Flash #22 sails?
Not really. In fact, it’s probably helped Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter’s finale. Without spoiling anything, you don’t get any major jaw dropping revelations in this issue. Sure, you’ll get glimpses and more hints about a certain blue skinned character from a famous comic work messing around with the DC universe, but Batman and The Flash don’t see him. In fact by the end of the issue Batman and Flash are left with more questions and answers.
Now usually I’d be pretty annoyed by this, but knowing that the main mystery behind DC’s Rebirth will play out over two years really helps keep expectations in check. Not only that, but what this concluding installment lacks in revelations it more than makes up for with character work. Joshua Williamson is able to play with the mystery more than in the second installment of the story, and he even peppers in some heartfelt tragedy into Batman’s role in the story at the issue’s end. Even though the title of the issue is The Flash, there’s plenty of great character beats for Barry Allen and Bruce Wayne.
Howard Porter’s art is a huge improvement over Flash #21. It’s such an improvement in fact that I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me someone else did in the art in this issue. Porter is tasked with drawing some pretty wild stuff in this issue, but he’s able to handle it really well and keep all of these crazy ideas looking pretty consistent too. The action set pieces and quieter character moments are both given equal support with art, and it helps elevate not only Williamson’s script, but the entire “Button” storyline as well.
Those going into The Flash #22 hoping for all of the answers behind DC Universe Rebirth are definitely going to be disappointed. But as the “next chapter” in the Rebirth story it’s a really great, character focused installment of the ongoing saga. By focusing on the human side of Batman and The Flash, Williamson, Porter, Tom King, and Jason Fabok look at how deep these crazy adventures can affect our characters, something that isn’t done enough these days in modern superhero comics.
Curse Words #5 (Image Comics)
Charles Soule and Ryan Browne’s Curse Words is, simply put, bananas. The adventures of Wizord and Margaret the Koala have proven to be one of the most unique Image titles on the stands, with Soule and Browne clearly having a blast playing in the world they’ve created. With Curse Words #5, they close up the first story arc of their series, which finds Wizord in battle with the witch Ruby Stitch, who also just so happens to be his ex.
Since Wizord lost his connection to magic for disobeying his master, he’s been in search of different areas around the globe that can restore his magical abilities. After preventing a massive tsunami last issue, Wizord is in desperate need of a recharge, but he’s then attacked by Ruby Stitch. Wizord desperately tries to hold his own against Ruby, but it’s not until he visits a casino and is recharged by people’s belief in “luck” that he’s able to fully power up and take on Ruby, which leads to a conclusion that may turn Ruby to Wizord’s side and against their former master.
Charles Soule’s script for Curse Words #5 moves at a much brisker pace than the previous issues, largely due to the fact that this issue features a ton of action. While Soule could’ve dragged out the under powered Wizord for another issue, he quickly finds a way to recharge our “hero” and then get him right back into the fight. He also peppers in some pretty major reveals about Wizord and Ruby’s past history that I won’t spoil here, but know that it’s very much unexpected. If you are the type to flip through your comics before you purchase them, I recommend you hold off doing that with this issue.
If Soule’s script moves quickly, Ryan Browne’s art only adds to the frenetic pace of the issue. Browne’s art has been great on this series, but with this issue he outdoes himself. From his dynamic layouts to the framing of the fight between Wizord and Ruby Stitch, there’s not a bad page in the issue.
If you haven’t given Curse Words a try yet, I highly recommend that you do. Now that the fifth issue has come out, the trade paperback will be hitting shelves pretty soon. Charles Soule and Ryan Browne’s story of a wizard sent to Earth to destroy it, only to fall in love with it is surprisingly funny and human, and it’s one of the best Image titles on the stands.