The Flash: Full Stop is here to bring the Scarlett speedster’s New 52 run to well….a full stop.
If you’ve been keeping up to date with my read-through of the run thus far, then you know that I’ve had mixed feelings about the series overall. Starting off brilliantly, it’s slowly devolved into a by the Numbers, underdeveloped affair that feels like it’s running out of road.
Can Full Stop send the speedster off on a victory lap or does this book burn out at the final hurdle?
That’s what I’m here to find out. As with all of my reviews there will be some spoilers so it may be worth skipping this article for now if you want to go in with fresh eyes.
With that out the way, let’s dive into The Flash: Full Stop!
Keep Your Enemies Close
The CCPD want The Flash brought in. Angry at the fact he does their job better than they do (aka the worst motive ever), The Police Department have enlisted the help of The Rogues to bring the Scarlett Speedster to justice.
It’s a laughable idea that really took me out of the book early on and it’s one of the old cliches that I’m sure felt fresh in the 1970s but here just feels ridiculous.
Assigning their best man, Barry Allen (because who else would it be), to work alongside them, our hero gets a little too close to the criminals for comfort and the introduction of the work focuses on the fact that Barry seems to be the only one who realises that this is a bad idea.
‘Flash, You’re Under Arrest’
Trying to continue as normal, The Flash is stopped over and over again in his attempts to save the City. The Rogues try to impede him at every opportunity and by issue three the story is rather par for the course. Whilst some may argue that the idea of The Rogues being on the right side of the law is a good idea conceptually, in practice it becomes cumbersome and the pace of the story is slowed exponentially because of it.
This may be fresh and invigorating for readers who’ve never read a comic before but those who have will find the majority of the work predictable.
Flash gets arrested and sent to Iron Heights Prison (because obviously, Iron Bars will be able to cage someone who can vibrate through them). The book throws all manner of reasons why the Police can’t just remove The Flash’s mask and see who is under it and before you can say ‘worse than the revolving door policy at Arkham Asylum,’ Flash is back on the streets.
Again it just fills the book with needless padding that is so set on retaining the status quo that it becomes flat throughout. There are no dynamics to the work and with this being the final chapter you would expect the creative team to have had more fun before the big Rebirth Reset button was pushed. I just wanted to see something that really shook the universe up similar to how Justice League and The Batman run did in its final few chapters, however, neither artist nor writer have taken any risks here and it becomes a bore because of it.
How The West Was Won
Every story has its subplot and Full Stop is no different. As Wally’s abilities begin to manifest he must deal with the fact that with great power…comes great responsibility. Bullied and harassed at School it’s outstanding to see him deal with the belittling in a mature and thoughtful way.
I was worried the character may become corrupted by his newfound talents but the creative team do a brilliant job of grounding him and this side story is by far the most relatable aspect of the book.
It’s a shame there isn’t more as this is definitely the standout piece of the arc but unfortunately, we don’t spend enough time amongst this element for it to save the story.
Riddle Me This
If you guessed that there was going to be a big bad guy behind it all then you might as well play the lotto this weekend because your foresight is outstanding.
Revealed as The Riddler, it’s a nice touch to add the villain to the run as the rest of The Rogues don’t really feel like that much of a threat when they have been defeated numerous times before. However, everything about The Riddler’s Plan feels redundant and his takeover of Central City feels lacklustre when compared to the one that came before it in Zero Year.
That was a phenomenal arc, this was merely by the Numbers and because of that it leads to a downtrodden conclusion that feels more of a chore than an exciting showdown.
Reveal To The Riddler
Flash reveals his identity to The Riddler but of course Wally’s powers manifest just before Barry is about to be executed so the villain concludes that ‘The Flash couldn’t be Barry Allen.’
It’s the typical motif that you’ve seen 1,000 times and highlights just how lazy and unable to take risks that the writing is. Everything wraps up just as you’d expect and I’m left questioning whether this was all a big waste of time.
Spoiler alert…it was
Full Stop disappointed me in several ways. As the concluding book for the New 52 run, I was expecting a hell of a lot more.
However, the graphic novel stays in its lane, refusing to try anything new or exciting. Whether this was a mandate by DC or not, I don’t know, but I do know that it’s poorly executed and completely kills my love for the character.
I really can’t sum up just how bad Full Stop is with anymore words so I’ll leave you with the score…
My Thoughts On The Flash New 52 Run
The Flash’s New 52 Run has been a weird one for me. It started off at a breakneck speed but slowed down to a crawl in the last few volumes. DC were smart to print an omnibus of those first five books as they are definitely worth picking up. However, the rest of the series is completely skippable and I recommend that you do.
It’s a waste of time and money and your efforts are better spent elsewhere. As a whole, the run has been marred by inconsistency and convoluted cliches that mean it ranks quite low when compared to its counterparts.