Barry Allen may not be the Fastest Man Alive any more, but right now he IS one of the strongest! The Strength Force has claimed him, and as we left last issue both Barry and Axel were being targeted by Commander Cold with a potentially lethal shot! This book carries a lot of the best of the Silver Age, but with a modern take that makes this an outstanding issue. Want to know more? Follow us after the jump!
First, just an apology for the late publication of this review. I live in North Carolina, and while my home didn’t get the worst of Hurricane Florence, it did push my schedule back on just about everything. We are okay, and are sending our thoughts to those in North and South Carolina who weren’t as fortunate as we.
…and a second apology for the groan-worthy Star Wars pun in the title of this article…
As Flash and Trickster stare straight into their fate, Barry makes a significant discovery about the strength force. It isn’t so much just being strong…it’s being able to control the gravity around you. As Barry uses that aspect of his new powers, everything goes topsy-turvy and he and Axel are safe for the moment. Warden Wolfe, not so much – as Axel grabs him and is ready to kill!
Flash stops that – and Commander Cold realizes who the real bad guy is and keeps Wolfe’s guards from chasing Flash and Trickster, who end up in another section of Iron Heights along with all the rest of the Rogues!
Trickster and Flash get in to a serious battle, one that Flash wins due to his better mastery of this new force. Barry returns to normal size, only to see that the roof is collapsing…
…and the only thing holding it up is the still-huge Trickster!
Axel knows he doesn’t have much time left in this super-big and super-strong state, but he won’t move, not as long as the Rogues are still in danger of being killed by the collapsing roof. Barry gets the rest of the Rogues to safety just as the roof falls in…but Trickster’s body is nowhere to be found!
Barry and Commander Cold have it out…again…followed by some straight talk from Iris. Well, almost straight talk, as Iris won’t reveal the one secret from their past lives that she knows – the fact that she and Barry were (are?) married!
As for Trickster, of course he didn’t die…but where he ends up is the BIG twist of the story. You’ll need to grab the issue for that one. It IS a great set up for what we should see in the next issue!
Let’s get my only complaint out of the way from an otherwise spotless issue. I am ready for Barry and Commander Cold to stop bickering and start actually working better together. Other than that…
This was an amazing issue! Here are the notes:
- This old Silver Age fan recalls all the strange shapes that Barry Allen got into back in the day. Josh Williamson’s script even directly addresses them and brings them back into continuity. THANK YOU to Williamson for that – it warms this old fan’s heart!
- This story gave us a twist in Axel’s personality that made him much more sympathetic without making him less of a bad guy. He’s always been that wanna-be character, and the way that his hero turn played out stayed true to that fact. The Rogues are to him a family, even if they have never fully accepted him. That makes this all the more powerful when he willingly puts himself at death’s doorstep for this “family”.
- I am enjoying the interaction between Barry and Iris. It shows the strong side of Iris West, who deserves much more appreciation than she sometimes gets. And, it puts a tension into the relationship that is believable (as believable as comics get) and highly intriguing.
- Wow, the artwork! I have a large monitor at home and re-read this using comiXology – and the artwork survives the largest zooms with superb detail. It’s not just the arms and legs and chest that get detail – the veins in the face while Barry was “Hulked” up were a terrific add-on to the art. Christian Duce’s line drawings, combined with Luis Guerrero’s colors, are a fantastic combo for this book.
SUMMARY: This issue of THE FLASH gets a 9.5/10. The story is near-perfect, as is the artwork, and the nod to the past is handled in a way that still makes this book fresh and new for today’s audience. Of course, that’s just my opinion – what do YOU think? Leave your comments below!