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For many fans the “World’s Finest” team up of Superman and Batman represents the best pairing of two heroes in comics, but for me it’s always been “The Brave and the Bold” combination of Barry Allen and Hal Jordan that stood out more.  There’s something about the fun and adventure that these two characters bring out in a story that resonates with me as a fan and over time we’ve seen their friendship lead to many great moments in DC history.  The recently released Flash Annual illustrates that the team of the “The Quick and the Green” still exists in the post-Flashpoint DC Universe although it’s not quite the same as it was before.

The oldest trick in the book
What we do know of Hal and Barry’s friendship in the new continuity is that they met before the formation of the Justice League, but until know we didn’t know how they met.  Writer Brian Buccellato crafts a flashback tale that connects their very first adventure to one that takes place on the eve of Hal Jordan’s departure from Earth to take command of the Green Lantern Corps.  In present day the relationship between the two heroes is still developing and the contrast in personalities is played up well if not a little overdone.  Barry and Hal are both so different and while they find what sets them apart sometimes maddening what has not yet developed is the feeling that each has a life that the other envies to some degree. 

When the results of their initial meeting comes back to haunt them we how Flash and Green Lantern teamed up to solve some missing children cases that takes a cosmic bent which draws the attention of both heroes.  Buccellato does a great job of demonstrating a relationship in the early stages as both men take stock of the other and not yet willing to entrust the other with their own welfare.  As the farfetched plot that an alien species would abduct Earth children to compete in robotic combat unfold both come to respect each other for what they bring to the conflict and it’s fun to watch the two go into action again.

Sami Basri does a good job of artistically evoking the kinetic action that is very symbolic of a Flash and Green Lantern team-up.  There are a few places where some things look a little off but overall the artwork is very clean, providing a simple canvas that encourages readers to focus on the two characters who very much defined the Silver Age of comics. 

The tone of this book is light and full of fun and adventure
If there’s one plot point that seem overly contrived it’s the worn out scenario where one hero has to use the abilities of the other to defeat the bad guy.  Predictably Hal is taken out of action and it falls to Barry to use Hal’s ring to save the day.  The one saving grace here is that Buccellato at least plays off the notion that it’s very difficult for someone not chosen by the ring to use it which allows Hal’s uniqueness to remain somewhat intact.

Overall the issue is a lot of fun and while the second feature was a fun character piece I found myself enjoying the simple charm of the lead story that I was left wishing that it had occupied all of the pages of the annual instead.  Four out of five lanterns.  And if you enjoyed this issue you might want to consider picking up Flash & Green Lantern: The Brave and the Bold, a collected six issue mini-series focusing on Hal and Barry from superstar writer Mark Waid.  I highly recommend the series and you can find it in trade for under $10.

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