Okay, what did you think when the Strength Force, Sage Force and Still Force were introduced? Were you impressed…were you a little worried…did you decide to sit back and see how it played out? We are now ending the first major arc in THE FLASH that features the new forces, and are getting ready to jump straight into a Force Quest…but before we go there, let’s talk about how the status quo has changed, in the conclusion of “Faster Than Thought”. Want to know more? Follow us after the jump!
At the end of last issue we left Barry and Detective Burns trapped in Mick Rory’s mind, along with a fiery creature that represented the Sage Force. That battle is still going on, and things are looking pretty tough. But, help is on the way, with a surprising development.
Iris recalls more of her past life – and realizes that prior to FLASHPOINT, she had actually studied these new forces! That epiphany gives her a way to save Barry and Detective Burns, by sending Commander Cold into Mick’s mind…but as the 21st Century Len Snart! He is able to talk Mick down, and the danger lessens.
The Sage Force isn’t through with them yet, but Barry is able to use his speed (still trapped in Mick’s mind) to get all of them out. As he takes Burns and Rory back to Iron Heights, we find one big surprise – Mick’s scars are gone!
Barry realizes that it is time for that Force Quest. But, there is one thing holding him back – his love for Iris, and the desire to stay with her. But, that’s not an issue here – Iris wants to go on the quest with Barry, and they head out together. That leads to the epilogue on Earth 18 where the Flash of that world, Johnny Thunder (not the JSA version but the speedster version) is in the fight of his life. As he reveals that Barry is going on his Force Quest, we pull the view back to see…Hunter Zolomon! He is ready to fight Barry one more time!
- We are beginning to resolve those variations in the Barry and Iris’ story that came about because of FLASHPOINT and the New 52. Iris remembers bits and pieces of their past lives, but wants to move forward with Barry. We may or may not ever go back to how they were once married in another timeline, but we have the chance to go from here forward with the two of them as a fairly inseparable team. Even this old Silver Age-d fan can go with that.
- Iris is becoming a more and more formidable character in her own right, and that’s as it should be. Her knowledge, and her quick thinking based on that knowledge saved the day here. I’ve been an Iris fan since the 1960’s, so this is a most welcome thing to see.
- Scott Kolins has pulled an interesting twist with the artwork. Take a look at Barry’s pose on page one of the story…then look at the last page at Zoom’s pose. They mirror closely – only minor changes. Barry is wearing today’s costume, while Zoom is wearing a Silver Age Barry costume (though with the lightning bolt symbol reversed). Barry’s hands are open while Zolomon’s are closed into fists. There are more parallels – but this is a very neat bit in the book. The artwork overall by Kolins is excellent, with great colors by Luis Guerrero.
- Joshua Williamson has wrapped up the arc exceptionally well. That is actually one of the highest compliments I can give. Hitting the mark this well on the last issue of an arc is something that rarely happens in comics. But, Williamson absolutely nails the landing on this arc, with some great character development, some interesting twists (like Rory losing his scars, Iris going on the Force Quest with Barry), and a great transition that leads into the next arc. I only wish every writer could be this spot on when wrapping up an arc.
SUMMARY: What else can I say? This is a 10/10 for me – great story and excellent artwork, leading this reader to anxiously await whatever comes up next. Of course, that’s my opinion – what do YOU think? Leave your comments below!