In this issue of THE FLASH, we see Professor Zoom’s plan coming together – designed to destroy Barry’s reputation along with his life! Robert Venditti and Van Jensen have been pulling key members of the cast together for this moment, in an over-the-top series of moments for Eobard Thawne and company as we move through THE FLASH #44. We won’t spoil too much here…but you can learn more after the jump!
SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!
When we left last issue, the Folding Man had placed Barry 2000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. But, it wasn’t to kill Barry…no, that would be far too easy for Professor Zoom. He’s playing Barry, purposely provoking him in order to turn the Flash’s own abilities against him. Meanwhile, Thawne’s team is preparing things back in Central City – and we finally learn what Selkirk’s contribution to the team is…something that could do more than just hurt the Flash’s reputation.
Meanwhile, there are some relationship plotlines that are advanced. Henry Allen and Thawne have another verbal confrontation, though without divulging whatever past they may have (can’t wait to get the full scoop on this). And, we see Singh and Hartley having relationship issues…refreshingly not related to same-sex relationships but rather the thought of a prominent cop going out with a former Rogue. And, we see Barry and Wally’s friendship growing, which places Wally very near the epicenter of…something that hits at the end of this issue.
That event takes the combined efforts of every player in Professor Zoom’s group, and the effects look to be utterly devastating. What happens next…is something we’ll have to wait for Issue #45 to learn.
NOTES: This issue is heavy on action, and heavy on some over-the-top talk from Eobard Thawne, who appears to have the powers of Hunter Zolomon rather than the pre-FLASHPOINT Thawne. We’re not yet to the true endgame (the December 2015 solicits have us still following the Professor Zoom arc), but we are seeing the threads start to come together. The artwork by Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund and Andrew Dalhouse does a good job with both action sequences and expression, though I would have loved to see a little more of Roscoe other than the swirl of air surrounding him while he used his powers (of course, he was in high-spin mode throughout this issue). This would not be an issue that could be called a jumping-on point – issue #44 depends a lot on previous issues in the arc to understand just what is going on – but if you have been following THE FLASH through the arc you won’t be confused here. There is a panel near the end of this issue that could well turn out to be very significant to the post-FLASHPOINT Flash lore…won’t say more but if you read the issue I think you’ll figure that out, and for that reason you may want to keep this issue handy for future reference.
SUMMARY: The reasons for each character in Professor Zoom’s band of bad-guys finally make sense, and the action is turned up to 11 in this issue. Issue #44 is not an easy jumping-on point for new readers, but it does advance several aspects of the Thawne arc and may carry a panel or so that could prove very significant very soon. While Thawne is absolutely over-the-top in his speech making this issue, it does fit with a character who wants to do far more than simply kill his enemy, who wants to ruin the very memory of Barry Allen first. The bigger debate may be over Thawne having Zolomon’s power set, though for fans who came aboard in the New 52/DCYou era that may not be as big an issue (this will still be a bit confusing compared to the Thawne in the TV show, but that’s true for any TV adaptation compared to the original comic). There are still enough threads hanging after this issue that it is hard to judge where issue #44 will stand in the history of THE FLASH until we get a little further into the arc, but it is still worth the price of admission for me, and I’m hanging in there to see where this arc will lead.