“Thunderdome” – Review of THE FLASH #45

Flash 45The Central City Police Department is trapped underneath a dome made by one of Zoom’s group, along with a bomb that appears to power up with the Flash uses his speed. How can anyone hope to get out safe? And, what else does Professor Zoom have planned for Barry and company? That’s where we pick up THE FLASH #45, out today at a comic shop near you! Click below for more after the jump…

SOME SPOILERS AHEAD

Fans who prefer action over exposition will find a lot of what they want in this issue. Barry is trying to figure out how to save everyone trapped underneath the dome created by Block…and nothing seems to work. Captain Frye seems to be blame the Flash rather than the bad guys…and even threatens to arrest Flash for “whatever the hell it is you’re doing here” (must be a new addition to the criminal code). But, as for the action? It’s supplied in part by none other that Wally West, who figures out a way to disrupt the dome and allow Flash an opportunity to save everyone…but not everything, as the Police Department Headquarters building falls.

Frye is not through with his anger toward Flash, and we get what must be foreshadowing of conflicts to come. Meanwhile, Henry Allen tries his best to stop Professor Zoom, who appears to have Hunter Zolomon’s old power set. That means of course that Henry’s effort is doomed to failure – and Zoom acquires something that he quickly uses against one of his own team! Professor Zoom has put together a formidable group, but he doesn’t intend to keep them around for long – not when he can now steal the powers of other metahumans. By the time Professor Zoom and Barry meet, Zoom will likely be so overpowered that this could be a very short fight.

During all of this, there are two side notes that bear repeating here. One is Iris West punching out her photographer when he said some very insensitive things about Wally’s being trapped in the dome – not that I approve of punching out every jerk, but you can understand her reaction here. The other is Singh and Piper embracing after the rescue from the dome – with Singh finally comfortable in revealing his relationship with a reformed criminal (it’s refreshing that THAT is the issue worrying Singh versus the reveal of a same-sex relationship).

Now, there isn’t a lot more to tell unless you want page-by-page descriptions – and that’s okay in this issue, as it relies much more on the visual aspects of storytelling. There are three pages with absolutely no dialogue and one additional page with only two words. For the most part it works, and in those particular pages additional dialogue was simply not needed. That being said, the artwork was divided between three pencilers (Brett Booth, Vicente Cifuentes, and Ale Garza), and while each was good, there were significant differences in style between sections of the book. Iris West was drawn with almost-Manga eyes (and a top that was unbuttoned about halfway down to her waist in one panel), another section looked as if everyone was angry and having a really bad day, and yet another section looked more like the regular Brett Booth artwork we’ve seen of late.  Again, each section was fine in and of itself (though Iris’ outfit didn’t need to be so, uh, “open”). But, a little greater consistency across the book as a whole would have been welcome.

What makes this issue important has little to do with those style differences, however. What we see in issue #45 is a turning point for Professor Zoom and his gang. We see more of where his plan is heading, and just how powerful and dangerous Zoom can become. There are still a lot of mysteries to be explored about this DCYou version of Eobard Thawne, but once again a Reverse Flash is proving to be a formidable opponent for the Fastest Man Alive. And, we see Wally West not only saving (at least part of) the day, but also gaining confidence in his ability to make a positive difference. We are seeing, finally, the beginnings of a potential hero in Wally.

One thing that Venditti and Jensen do very well (and something that Venditti does well in his work at Valiant) is to set up a situation so difficult that you have no idea how the hero will make it through. The stakes seem to raise higher by the issue, and the battle next issue between Barry and Professor Zoom is one that you can pretty much count on ending badly…meaning we can count on this storyline continuing for several issues to come. That’s actually a really good thing, as the Flash creative team appear to have hit a high note with this Professor Zoom arc.

Now, what did YOU think of THE FLASH #45? Leave your comments below!

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1 thought on ““Thunderdome” – Review of THE FLASH #45

  1. David Vickery

    I did not like it. Like many issues in their run, it felt very slowly paced and like very little happened. We’re six issues into this arc (+ a special and a special preview) and it feels like we’ve only just started the major confrontation.

    Also feel like Thawne’s “I’m killing people connected to the Speed Force and taking their power” schtick was done already with Daniel West, but it was just revealed so maybe there’s something more to it.

    I always think Booth’s art is abysmal and the extra/finishing artists didn’t really do anything to help it.

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