We finish off a jam-packed week with a little variety, with another day of three books with well-established characters from three different publishers – DC Comics’ The Flash, Archie Comics’ Archie and IDW’s GI Joe: A Real American Hero.

The Flash 5 
Written by Joshua Williamson
Pencils by Felipe Watanabe
Inks by Andrew Currie 

The comic about the Fastest Man Alive (and all his speedy friends) continues to go on its steady pace, as we get more build toward a confrontation between Barry Allen and whoever it is behind the mask of Godspeed (seriously, I still can’t believe THAT is the name they went with). Of course, now it’s personal, because Godspeed has seemingly gone after the Flash’s new girlfriend.

The steady pace does allow for a build with several different story threads, which I appreciate. Yes, we got more movement on the story’s big bad, but we also saw Barry taking it easy a little bit and also re-establishing a bond with Iris West. Barry’s new girlfriend (or maybe not, Flash specifically avoids that term), the STAR Labs scientist Meena Dhawan – who starts the issue by calling herself the Fastest Woman Alive – also takes time to personally help train Wally West. No, the OTHER Wally West.

That’s going to get confusing.

The conflict with Godspeed, who is going around stealing the power of the other Central City residents granted speed to kick off the Rebirth series, certainly feels like an afterthought to all the other things going on in the book. The focus has been on the lives of the Central City denizens who have been granted these speed powers. Or at least it did until the end of this issue. Given the 6-issue nature of comic book stories, the initial fight with Godspeed should wrap in a couple of weeks. The question is whether we’ll find out exactly who Godspeed is, as we’ve already had one red herring on his identity this story.

GI Joe: A Real American Hero 231
Written by Larry Hama
Art by SL Gallant

It’s rare that I go from being excited and looking forward to a new issue of a comic to the absolute malaise I have now toward GI Joe right now. The new “Snake in the Grass” story arc has left me cold, as we are looking at a new ninja with the memories of Snake Eyes. Duke’s wife is possibly a traitor and really, I found it difficult to pay attention to what was going on.

There’s been a lot of action within Real American Hero over the last year, so putting the brakes on a little bit to set up what comes next isn’t a bad thing. I trust Larry Hama to bring things back around in the next few issues, but for right now, I’m just not feeling it.

Archie 11
Written by Mark Waid 
Art by Veronica Fish, Jack Morelli, Andre Szymanowicz and Jen Vaughn

It’s such an odd world we live in that a book set in Riverdale is one of the books I most look forward to every month. I really do hope Mark Waid sticks around writing Archie for a good long while, because the universe he’s created with this series has been one of the most engaging books I’ve read over the last year.

He continues with that streak with the latest issue, which sees Veronica Lodge usurp Archie and Jughead’s band as a school talent show looms. Betty, who used to sit in with Archie and Jughead, gets a twinge of jealousy and starts her own band and almost everyone gets sucked in to a conflict between Archie and Betty that was basically caused by Veronica.

(In all honesty, I don’t know that Veronica’s relationship with a clumsy, goofy Archie makes any sense in a modern era, but Waid’s writing makes it make more sense than just, “Well, that’s the way it’s always been”)

Waid closed out this issue with Archie and Betty seeming to reconcile from the 11-month battle they’ve been having since they broke up (it may just be 11 days in comic book time, I can’t be sure). And the hug they share is spied by both Veronica and Betty’s new boyfriend, and no one seems happy about it. It might not end well for anyone, but with Waid putting words in everyone’s mouth, it will absolutely be a lot of fun.