“Castaways” – and a sad passing…Review of THE FLASH #36

Flash36This issue of THE FLASH finds Barry trapped in the Speed Force, future Wally out of the picture (though present Wally does have his moments), and Future Barry taking over in present day Central City. If you thought the big battle between present and future Barry would end this arc, you were very wrong – it’s just the beginning. This issue also represents the last artwork in comics from an excellent illustrator, Andre’ Coelho, who died far too young at age 35.  Coelho took on the “future Barry” pages while Brett Booth handled present Barry’s tale in the Speed Force, in a generally excellent issue of THE FLASH.

LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY

Barry finds himself against a strange amalgam of dangers in the Speed Force, with threats from almost every era surrounding him. He does make a new friend of sorts in Selkirk, who seems to know his way around…but not the way out. Barry isn’t much help here, not without his powers, but there is obviously much more to come from this story thread. Meanwhile, future Barry has been miraculously de-aged through all the recent events, and he goes about reclaiming his younger life. Imagine what could happen if you could go back in time, knowing where the future leads, where all your mistakes were made, and with the knowledge that you really can change what happens. He is making amends for lost time with Patty, with Iris, and with Wally as well.

In this issue, we finally get a more sympathetic Wally, at least one who isn’t the “troubled youth on the wrong path”. He hangs with Barry for the day, and it is almost heartbreaking when he asks Barry for help finding…well, just check it out. We still don’t get a large amount of Wally’s story here, but it is at least showing promise of going on a better path here. As for future-Barry’s path…

You know that part about knowing where your mistakes were made? That plays a BIG role in this storyline, as future-Barry is not through “erasing mistakes”…and you have to wonder just how many “mistakes” he can “correct” without changing forever how the Flash is seen in Central City.

The Future Flash storyline has set Barry against his most powerful adversary – himself. And, it placed our present-day Barry in a truly interesting and challenging situation. Still, I’m hoping we resolve this story before too long. While it makes an excellent story to have an “All-new, All-murderous Flash”, I’m anxious to see what happens afterward – how we see Wally develop, how Barry regains his powers, and how his life continues afterward. After all, there should be some serious repercussions to future-Barry’s changes in his relationships. It’s a good story, though I’m anxious to see what happens next.

Robert Venditti and Van Jensen have a good script here, and Brett Booth does his usual amazing work with the “Barry-In-The-Speed-Force” pages. Norm Rapmund inks the full issue and Andrew Dalhouse colors throughout. But, it’s important to note the final work from a tremendous artist who died far too young, Andre’ Coelho. His pages (the future-Flash story) showed excellent action, expression and great detail, and it is truly a shame to lose someone so talented and so young. We are sorry to hear of his passing. We’ll be back next month with more – please leave your comments below.

2 thoughts on ““Castaways” – and a sad passing…Review of THE FLASH #36

  1. David Vickery

    Anyone else feel like this issue is a massive retread of Mark Waid’s Dark Flash series?

    During the Dark Flash arc, an alternate future version of Wally, corrupted by the tragic events and failures of his life, ends up going back in time and replacing his more optimistic, less experienced version and dealing with his enemies in a more gruesome, heartless way. He takes up his mantle by abusing the fact that everyone trusts his regular self before nearly ruining his past self’s reputation with the heinous way he deals with crimes due to how jaded he is.

    It’s like that but done a lot worse because it’s painfully edgier(VIBRATING MURDER HAND GRR ME SCARY FLASH), the side plot isn’t as interesting (What are they doing with the Speed Force? Do they really think it’s just a place with tree forts in it? Whatever happened to the near mystical nature of the Speed Force that intrigued so many people? You could do SO MANY things with a dimension that encompasses all space time and instead we get wacky jungle with a tree fort), and there’s a lack of supporting characters to interact with the differences of future Barry–Walter West had Bart, Jesse, Linda(who was far more developed and more interesting than Patty has been–not entirely Venditti’s fault as she was just a mostly irrelevant sidepiece in ManaBooch’s run too), Max et al to interact with while this version of Barry has already “dealt” with his main cast of villains and the current Flash run has a TERRIBLE supporting cast (even if you don’t share my opinion of Wally, who else is there? The non-factor Iris or Patty, the most boring and irrelevant girlfriend in comics? Singh? Is that really what we’re relying on?). No one here even knows Barry well enough to be an interesting foil to his “new,” malevolent self.

    There’s a lot of problems with this arc so far. Wally continues to be the most listless reintroduction of a major character I’ve ever seen (who has miraculously already died twice on us) while everything else is a been there done that deal.

    Reply
    1. FlashFan207

      Wow, you said it, David. I see it EXACTLY the same way. I put this comic down and immediately went to the Dark Flash poster of issue # 152 I proudly display and became dismayed at how this current New 52 Barry/Wally relationship is so terribly inferior to the real universe’s Wally/Bart/Max/Jesse/everybody else set of relationships. I feel I must query: do the creators of this New 52 Flash series feel they must undo and redo EVERYTHING that has already been?

      Reply

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