Death Becomes…Flash! – Review of THE DARKSEID WAR: FLASH #1

Justice League: Darkseid War: The FlashThe “Darkseid War” arc in Justice League has moved into a phase where the members of the League are becoming gods themselves! Batman has become the God of Knowledge, taking over Metron’s chair. And, in this tie-in, Barry Allen has become the Black Racer, the embodiment of death itself! Can Barry outrun death?

MORE (INCLUDING MINOR SPOILERS) AFTER THE JUMP

Fans of the DCYou know that there can be (and are) some variations in our favorite characters between different titles. Superman can wear his classic blue uni in JL and be “T-Shirt Superman” in his own title and in Action, etc. And, the Flash can have that red circle on his chest in his own title while going with the white circle in JL. All this is to say that the Barry Allen you get in JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE DARKSEID WAR: FLASH is meant to be a bit different than the version you see in the ongoing eponymous series. The tone and focus of this book is meant to be a bit different as well. But, we do get something most Flash fans will recognize, the Black Flash, or rather, the Black Racer taking over the Flash. It presents an interesting twist – the character who in many ways most symbolizes hope (think Blue Lantern Flash) is now the actual avatar of death!

Barry is told that he must take one life to fully bond with the Black Racer, but obviously that’s the last thing the Flash would ever want to do. That sets up a high-powered (and literal) race against death, followed by some inspiration…as the one life Barry is willing to take happens to be the Black Racer itself! Okay, doesn’t sound like the best plan, and you’ll see the result of that idea…all that leading to the conclusion of this issue (which in turn leads back to the upcoming JUSTICE LEAGUE #46).

This book is big on action, from the race against the Black Racer to the later fight scenes. That gives a chance for the artwork to shine, though at times it’s just a bit uneven (think chest symbol not always hitting at the same angle as Barry’s chest, for example). Still, the artwork by Jesus Merino (with Guy Major on colors) is good enough overall and in some scenes is spectacular, particularly after Barry thinks he has defeated the Black Racer, and honestly the design of the Black Racer/Flash amalgam is pretty cool as well.

As for the script, I’ve been following Rob Williams’ work with DOCTOR WHO comics over at Titan Comics for some time (check out his work there, it’s very good). Williams has done other work for DC (UNFOLLOW launches at Vertigo this week as well), and it is interesting to see what he would do with a mainstream FLASH story here. This is a different tone than the main ongoing for FLASH, but again that’s to be expected (after all, Batman in this arc is still Bruce Wayne, etc.). The feel is much closer to the regular JUSTICE LEAGUE books, which makes sense since this is a tie-in to that series. Again, this book is big on action versus exposition, and the only real caveat is that you will be driven back to buy more JL books as this issue ends (which is the point for all the tie-ins, to be fair).

If you are a fan of JUSTICE LEAGUE, this is an excellent tie-in to the current arc.  It may not directly impact the regular FLASH series, but it is a good stand-alone even if you don’t regularly buy JL books. So, what do YOU think? Leave your comments below!

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