The Flash: The Haunting of Barry Allen Review

The Flash: The Haunting of Barry Allen is a 2016 superhero novel written by Susan Griffith and Clay Griffith and published by Titan Books.  Based on the Warner Bros. tv show The Flash, the plot follows Barry Allen aka the Flash who enlist the aid of Oliver Queen to deal with five members of Barry’s Rogues Gallery.


Positives:

  • Great characters
  • Descriptively written
  • Compelling story
  • Good pacing
  • Well-written action

Negatives:

  • Flat antagonists

Plot: The story follows Barry Allen as the Flash as he attempts to stop Central City from being destroyed by five supervillains; Peekaboo, Prism, Weather Wizard, The Mist, who led by Pied Piper.  While dealing with this major threat, Barry discovers another more personal one.  Within him grows a disease that causes his powers to glitch, momentarily leaving him ghostly and immobile in the middle of missions.  Barry then enlist the aid of the Green Arrow.  The story is pretty entertaining and the mixture of the random attacks perpetrated by the villains and the unpredictably of Barry’s glitches does keep the story suspenseful. The story does have an epic climax that does leave off on a cliffhanger.  Now, one of the problems that does arise is the lackluster endgame that Rathaway is gunning for.  It’s interesting, it’s cool, but it isn’t memorable. (3 out of 5)

Characters:  Barry Allen is the Flash and the main protagonist.  He’s likable, he’s relatable, he’s dedicated; he’s just an all around good guy.  His supporting cast includes Cisco Ramon, Caitlin Snow, Iris West, and Joe West.  They all do a great job of standing out while contributing to the Flash’s efforts.  Also, there is Oliver Queen, Felicity Smoak, and John Diggle who also provide great content.  Barry and Oliver work really well together, there is definitely chemistry between Joe and John, and even a great dynamic between Cisco, Caitlin and Felicity.  It is great where all of these characters are working together. Now when it comes to the antagonists, Shawna Baez (Peekaboo) is the most pronounced in terms of character while Hartley Rathaway (Pied Piper) has the most presence. Mark Mardon (Weather Wizard), Kyle Nimbus (The Mist), and Roy Bivolo (Prism) are pretty cool though they aren’t really that interesting.  They all lack depth, their motivations being focused around money, death, and revenge (which in itself is a result of their actions),  Nimbus is probably the most standout among the three while Bivolo is the weakest.  But there is the tension between the group that does help to define who they are. (4 out of 5)

Writing: A great thumbs up to the writing.  For one, the book does have enough attention to detail to paint a pretty descriptive picture without being overly descriptive.  Also, when it comes to most of the characters.  Even though the bulk of the story follows Barry, it does give enough attention to the other characters to make them memorable and relevant.  The action does feature a high level of detail that makes the scenes pretty intense without taking away from the writing.  There is even the dialogue that does come off as a little cheesy here and there but it does keep it fun, reminding us that these characters do have their own personalities.  There are some moments where elements of show creep in and readers might not understand who a person is or a certain event if they hadn’t watched the show. (4 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, The Flash: The Haunting of Barry Allen is actually a pretty good superhero read.  In all honesty, fans of the show will definitely appreciate this book.  Although the villains are a bit flat (with the exception of Shawna), the characters are really good, there is witty dialogue, the story is gripping, and it goes at a pretty good pace.  The Flash: The Haunting of Barry Allen gets 4 out of 5.

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