“Skeletons In The Closet” – Review of FLASH #38

While the Future-Flash continues his lethal hunt for those who might kill BEFORE they commit their crimes, his own charade may be fraying at the edges. Meanwhile, the Present-day Barry remains trapped in the Speed Force…but is there a way out? That’s where we begin with issue #38 of THE FLASH!

Mild Spoilers Ahead!

We begin with Barry and Patty working all the “John Doe” cases left from the days of the Crime Syndicates spree (see FOREVER EVIL), with Barry working at super-speed to get through the causes of death. As they complete the job, Iris arrives, only to find that Future-Barry is not in the mood to be much of anything except a rather pompous-sounding jerk.

We cut to Present-Barry’s situation to learn Selkirk’s backstory, his research into the Speed Force itself and to speedsters in general. He may have a way out for Barry…but we’ll have to wait a bit for more, as back on Earth our Future-Barry is showing a bit more of his dark side…

Mirror Master is trying out a new Rogue and things aren’t going well. In the battle, Future-Barry comes close to killing this new bad guy when he’s spotted by Iris.  Even though he stops, Iris knows what she has seen and is ready to write about it. At the same time, Patty is beginning to suspect something as well…and she may have found the key to unlocking this secret…more on that NEXT issue!

NOTES: There is one unfortunate reference in the issue, with Selkirk saying, “I went native.” While I do not believe the writers meant anything bad by this, there are some racist overtones to the history of that phrase and I’m hoping this isn’t something we’ll see moving forward. Again, I don’t think there was the intent there, just pointing out that it was an unfortunate reference.

ADDITIONAL NOTES: We have definitely left behind the “metal-armor” composition of Flash’s uniform that was depicted in the early New 52, as the “marvelous fabric” of Barry’s familiar red and yellow are literally sewn back together. I’m okay with returning to fabric versus metal – just noting the somewhat silent retcon here.

SUMMARY: I liked this issue quite a bit – it moved both major timelines together rather smoothly and gave us some interesting tidbits for future issues. And, it gives us some hope for how this storyline can be resolved. We see some fraying at the edges for the Future-Flash, and I’m definitely on board with wanting to see just how this plays out. It does look like Patty and Iris will be the true heroes of this storyline – at least in terms of exposing the Future-Flash for who (and what) he is. And, I enjoyed seeing the “Rogues tryouts” part of the story, even if it ended in rather gory fashion. Other than the previously mentioned unfortunate reference, Robert Venditti and Van Jensen turned in a solid script, and the artwork continues to be excellent with Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund and Andrew Dalhouse.  This issue put a little extra life into the arc, and I’m looking forward to what comes around next month.



6 thoughts on ““Skeletons In The Closet” – Review of FLASH #38

  1. Woody

    I have nevr heard a complain about “going native’ being racist. I’ve only heard it mean integrating into your new surroundings/culture. I don’t see how that’s racist.

  2. Ed Garrett Post author

    I want to be clear that I am NOT accusing the creators of being racist. I am saying this phrase has some unfortunate connotations, and there is a somewhat racist origin to that phrase related to white dominance and the fear of being negatively impacted by other cultures. The phrase hit me as an “ouch” moment when I read it, and in doing some research before writing the article I found several references not only to the origin of the phrase but to other incidents that actually resulted in formal apologies from a variety of news sources (from CNN to Fox and more) when the phrase was used in their stories. Again, I don’t think there was an ill intent here – just an unfortunate phrase that didn’t need to be there.

  3. Kelson

    The phrase jumped out at me as well, particularly in the context of Selkirk saying that he “lived among primitives.” I forget when he said he came from, but the art and circumstances suggest late 19th/early 20th century, during the height of British colonialism.

    Back to the story, I like that Patty’s gotten suspicious and has started investigating, and I’m more interested in seeing her inevitable confrontation with Future Barry than his interactions with the villains at this point.

    I still have trouble with the idea that the speed force, or parts of it, just look like a patchwork chunk of Earth. It seems like it shouldn’t actually *be* the speed force, but some place accessed through it. At best maybe a region that’s been trapped? I guess that sort of works.

  4. David Vickery

    Yeah, this issue has all the trappings of my previous problems. It’s the Dark Flash saga that Waid did only without any of the depth and all the characters are acting stupidly. Of COURSE morally ambiguous future Barry is going to ruin normal Barry’s reputation by being more brutal with his villains, just like Walter ruined Wally’s reputation during his brief hiatus.

    1. Kelson

      Future Wally is dead, only he died as an adult after years of being The Flash instead of in a car crash in his late teens. As Yoda says, “Always in motion is the future.”

      Present-day Wally is still around, we just didn’t see him this issue.


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