2015 may be coming to a close, but not without the BIG battle we’ve been waiting for – Barry Allen versus Eobard Thawne, aka Professor Zoom! This issue has much more than a great fight scene, though. We learn a lot more about Thawne’s backstory in the DCYou – what made him the messed-up bad guy that he is today. And, the key to winning the battle brings a theme full circle for Barry Allen in this post-FLASHPOINT world. All of this, and more, will be explained after the jump…
SOME SPOILERS AHEAD
Since we are wrapping up the first DCYou arc for Eobard Thawne, let’s take a quick look at what we know about the Eobard Thawne of the DCYou:
- He is from the year 2463, coming back after a failed attempt to rule over the Gem Cities like a god.
- When he was a boy, he watched his own father murder his mother and go to prison for that crime. No claiming a frame-up in this case, as Eobard actually witnessed the crime himself.
- There is also a mention of him coming from a “cursed family of failures”. There isn’t anything more explained here, but there is obviously a lot of room to expand on that a la Cobalt Blue in the future.
- After he grew up, he was touched by the Speed Force, but in a different way than Barry. He can’t actually run fast, but slows time around himself…that’s a key thing to remember here.
- He wanted to be worshiped, but the real hero worship was reserved for the memory of the Flash, upon whom even the justice system of the Gem Cities was based.
- The people of the Gem Cities never gave up fighting Zoom, all in the name of the Flash…which drove Thawne over the edge.
- Thawne decided that the only way to truly win this battle and to rule over the Gem Cities would be to destroy this legacy, the Flash’s legacy, that has inspired all the resistance to his rule.
- He kills Nora Allen to make Barry go through the same tragedy that he endured…and in some strange way to even the playing field between the two of them. He threatened Henry Allen with young Barry’s life to make him “confess” to Nora’s murder.
Which brings us to the present storyline. But, not without noting that all of the people he brought together for his “crew” were also touched by the Speed Force. This means that even The Top (still not known by that name in this continuity, but come on, it’s Roscoe) is a product of the Speed Force itself!
As for the battle, the real key to winning comes from a theme emphasized during Manapul & Buccellato’s run on this title – the idea of “Moving Forward”. The Flash not only runs very fast, but he has a connection to time that moves time forward. That’s something we hadn’t explored in a while, but it is the perfect counterpoint to the powers Professor Zoom is using to slow time down…and it’s the key to allow Barry to win this fight. Even so, this is a difficult battle, one that is most fitting when going up against such a powerful foe.
At the end of this story, we have a new “normal” for the Flash. Henry now knows that his son is the Flash. Henry has been cleared of Nora’s murder and Thawne is in custody…at least for now. But, in one respect, Thawne has still “won”, in that the Flash’s reputation is in tatters. This leads us to the upcoming arc in which the Flash will continue to be on the run from the law.
NOTES: This history for Thawne makes him a true “reverse” Flash, a counterpoint to Barry’s story in every way. And, it opens up the door for some interesting concepts from prior reverse Flash stories to return to continuity, which to this reviewer is a very good thing. The key to the battle brings that “Moving Forward” idea full circle, and I’m glad to see that here. Robert Venditti and Van Jensen had set up Thawne to be so powerful that it was going to be difficult to make a believable exit for Barry to live…but bringing in the “Moving Forward” theme seemed like a fitting way to wrap up this battle and this arc. The artwork held up very well throughout the huge fight scenes, with imaginative page layouts and excellent illustrations by Brett Booth (pencils), Norm Rapmund (inks), and Andrew Dalhouse and Jeromy Cox (colors). I’m glad to see how this arc wound up, and I’m looking forward to what happens next to Fastest Man Alive.