“Under the Gun” – Review of THE FLASH #51

Flash #51A quick word…apologies for the late review. Now, let’s get to what you REALLY want to know…

The Riddler has played what we thought was his trump card…but is that he has up his sleeve? Things are looking bad for The Flash, as Riddler has gotten just enough trust from the gullible officials of Central City that he has been able to place the entire town in a chokehold.  Now, with the help of the Rogues (well, mainly Trickster with some help from Riddler), Barry has been cornered. What happens next? Follow us after the jump for more!

SPOILERS AHEAD!

All that Axel wanted to do was prove himself to be as good as any Rogue. What he has done instead is to betray and split apart the Rogues themselves through his own ambition and naiveté. Glider’s astral form has been scattered, Heat Wave is a prisoner to Riddler’s back-up plan to level the city if things don’t go his way, and the rest of the Rogues…feel the betrayal big time. As for the Flash…

Riddler’s drones are now trained on innocent civilians all over Central City. Flash has to either stand there and let Riddler beat him to a pulp or watch as people die all over town. As fast as the Flash may be, he can’t take the chance that innocent people will die, so he does as ordered…until an unexpected save comes in the form of the Pied Piper! Just a note – it is SO good to see Piper acting as the good guy who saves the day here.

At the Citizen newsroom, Iris and her editor are just starting to put the pieces together with the revelation that Riddler is behind everything. We see Henry Allen wearing a Pre-New52 Alan Scott GL symbol on his t-shirt (thanks to Gus Vazquez & Joe Eisma for drawing that in). And, we see Wally, who may be wishing he could help but who may not fully realize what he is capable of doing just yet. All that leads us to…Riddlers real trump card.

Riddler threatens to turn the drones on everyone in Central City unless the Flash gives himself up!

In the end, that’s exactly what he does, revealing his identity as Barry Allen to the world as he gives himself up to whatever Riddler has planned…and the clue to that is the teaser “The Execution of the Flash”.

NOTES: There are several highlights for this issue, many of which I’ve noted above.  Riddler has proven to be a surprisingly good foe for the Flash, although I’m more than disappointed to see a Bat-rogue outdoing the Flash’s Rogues Gallery (and I’ll still say I believe the Flash’s Rogues to be the best in comics). That leads to a small number of complaints I have about the issue. If the Flash can call on the Justice League, why did he not consult Batman, who has consistently beaten the Riddler? Why not bring in Cyborg, who could communicate with and get rid of the drones? Why not signal Superman, who could blast out drones with heat vision? Why not…you get the idea…someone with the Justice League at his disposal does not have to face this alone, so it doesn’t make sense to bring in another hero’s bad guys and not bring in another hero. And, it also makes no sense for him to give away his secret identity – that wasn’t even Riddler’s request.  Now, getting past that…this was still an issue packed with emotion. There were some hints at what we may be able to see past REBIRTH in terms of the direction of the series. And, Axel’s portrayal is both treacherous and pitiful…all he wanted was to be an equal, to be accepted, and now he will never be trusted again by the Rogues.  The overall story is a good one, and it leads us up to a real cliffhanger…after all…

There is only one more issue before REBIRTH. Writer Van Jensen has the kind of free rein that a Big Two writer rarely has…he can literally kill Barry Allen since REBIRTH can simply bring him back. And with that, I really AM anxiously awaiting what Jensen and company will do with that final issue on their “run” on THE FLASH.

So, what did YOU think? Leave your comments below!

2 thoughts on ““Under the Gun” – Review of THE FLASH #51

  1. Steve

    It was comic book junk food. Gets the job done, but does so by leaning heavily on cliches and story concepts executed far better elsewhere. This kind of brains vs. speed story was told better with The Thinker.

    Reply
  2. FLASH

    I agree with your assessment. I liked it but I was annoyed when Flash revealed his identity because it reminded me of the early Wally West comics when his identity was public knowledge. Like back then it was so dumb! As for Riddler, an IMP could have solved his riddle.

    Reply

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