Some spoilers ahead!
Barry and Meena have been training many of the new speedsters of the Gem Cities. Their uniforms may give you a different take but the color scheme reminded me of a REBIRTH/New52 take on Don and Dawn Allen’s unis from waaay back when (minus the huge collars from back then). This issue is titled “Teamwork” and that theme flows through the whole story, as almost everyone contributes in some way to the fight. Iris West gives key info on Dr. Joseph Carver and Black Hole to Barry, and Meena and August are big parts of the actual fight while some of the trainees get the innocents to safety.
What they find at the HQ of the Black Hole is interesting…in that the tech doesn’t look like it came from S.T.A.R. even though it is headed up by a disgraced former S.T.A.R. Labs scientist. He claims credit for the speed storm, and more…creating a suit called the Speed Machine that weaponizes the speed force itself! The suit, however, doesn’t work so well and creates a danger to everyone including its creator! How to stop it?
This issue clarifies something very important about the recipients of the Speed Storm…the speed force hasn’t bonded with their bodies in the same way that it has with Barry. That means their speed can be stolen! It’s what Godspeed has been doing to other speedsters, and it’s just what Barry, Meena, and August do here, stealing the speed from Dr. Carver and his speed machine to end the threat. The battle ends a little abruptly, and even Barry notes “this seems…too easy.” Of course it is, and we will see that even greater danger soon. But before we do…
Young Wally West is that very unique person who already was connected to the speed force AND was hit by the speed storm. Something has changed in him, and he is experimenting with every aspect of his powers. He appears to be in the early stages of creating a Kid Flash uniform out of the speed force itself…but isn’t able to complete the task. He sees the S.T.A.R. Labs ad, and we supposedly will see him show up there soon, potentially bringing him to The Flash as a mentor at last. Yes, this is a slow teasing of the future Kid Flash, but it looks like we are not far from the payoff now.
There is one other big development at the end of the issue, and it’s a budding relationship that takes a step forward for Barry and…nope, not Iris, but Meena! Barry reveals his identity to her, meaning we will likely see this relationship continue for at least the next few issues.
NOTES: While I’m still an old Barry/Iris fan and want to see them together ASAP, this relationship with Meena makes sense in the story line and I’m not at all upset to see this turn in the plot. I’ll agree with Barry that this battle seems a little too easy…but I also think that’s the point here. The BIG battle is ahead, and I will be interested to see how it goes against Godspeed. I’m also a fan of August and that goofy mask of his (though I really like the jacket). August represents how a lot of us would be if we were suddenly gifted with a connection to the speed force. And, I like this training sequence and how the trainees are reacting to the true superstar speedster being in their midst (“theflashknowsmyname!”).
This continues to be an excellent start to the REBIRTH era of THE FLASH. Joshua Williamson’s scripts perfectly capture the voice of Barry and company, and the story has me fully drawn in. The artwork by Neil Googe (with colors by Ivan Plascencia) is excellent, with a few panels that take me back to Carmine Infantino’s Silver Age Flash (and from a fan who has been reading the Flash for over 50 years, that is intended as a very high compliment). It’s another 9/10 issue for me, and I simply cannot wait for the next issue!
Of course, that’s just my take – what’s yours? Leave your comments below!