Barry and Iris are on a world tour…scratch that, Force Quest…okay, pretty much the same thing, but still a great adventure. When we left them in the last issue, Barry had just met the newest avatar of the Strength Force, Fuerza! It’s speed versus strength in an epic battle – and they aren’t the only ones involved in the fight! Want to know more? Just follow us after the jump!
In Corto Maltese, life is especially hard these days. A corrupt man named Cauldron has taken over the police and is bringing exceptionally powerful weapons into the country illegally. Our newest strength avatar Fuerza is fighting back to protect the people of her country, but she mistakes Barry at first as being on the wrong side of the battle. It doesn’t take long to figure out who the real bad guys are, as Cauldron orders his men to fire indiscriminately at Flash and Fuerza, endangering innocent people. When Flash objects, Cauldron even points a gun at Iris! That gets Barry and Fuerza on the same side as Barry speeds Iris and Fuerza out of the line of fire and to safety.
Barry tries to ask Fuerza, aka Alexa Antigone for her help in his Force Quest. For her part, Alexa is far more interested in staying and protecting the people of Corto Maltese. Still, we learn a bit about the Strength Force from her perspective. As we know, there are two aspects to this force – strength and that connection to gravity. Alexa has learned how to deal with the size issue by calming herself – it allows her to stay her normal size. She is close to being invulnerable most of the time – but when lifting extremely heavy objects that invulnerability is lessened somewhat. Barry would like to explore more more about the Strength Force with her help, but right now Fuerza just wants to concentrate on the strength aspect to protect those around her. Fuerza has created what she believes to be a safe haven…but we’ll come back to that…
Meanwhile in Central City, Detective Burns and Commander Cold are fighting crime together…and flirting a bit (at least Burns is doing her best to flirt). They hit a dead end for now, not realizing that the Trickster…the original Trickster, is watching everything. He doesn’t want some “wannabe Rogue” messing things up for the rest of them…
Back in Corto Maltese, that “safe haven” is suddenly interrupted by an attack! Cauldron and his men are demanding to know where Fuerza is – and she and Flash answer that question as they enter the fight. But, Cauldron is more than prepared this time, with a gauntlet that is powered by the Sage Force! That’s where we leave our heroes for this issue – can’t wait to see what’s next!
- This quick recap doesn’t do justice to the continued importance of Iris West in this storyline. Of our favorite couple, only one of them can speak Spanish, and it isn’t Barry. Without Iris they would have been completely lost at first. And, we continue to see an Iris West that isn’t afraid of anyone or anything. I really like how her character is portrayed in this arc.
- Barry once again reveals his identity on almost a whim (sort of like in the CW Flash series Season One) – but in this case it’s because of the connection he felt between his Speed Force and her Strength Force. In this instance, he’s absolutely right to trust Fuerza.
- Gemini make a brief appearance early on in this issue, mainly to establish that they did get some inside info in Gorilla City. They are on to some unnamed location to get a few steps ahead of Barry and to plan a trap there. That is likely for next issue.
- Before they agree to work together, Fuerza does get in one mammoth punch to the gut on Barry. Even though I don’t like seeing Barry getting hurt, the exaggerated facial expression he wears for that punch is just priceless!
SUMMARY: Another great installment in the Force Quest arc – I’m definitely on board for the full ride. Joshua Williamson is doing a wonderful job with the characters of Barry and Iris, and I like the addition of Fuerza for the arc. Hopefully we will see more of her sometime down the road. The art from Rafa Sandoval (pencils) Jordi Tarragona (inks) and Tomeu Morey/Hi-Fi (colors) was right on the money this issue. I’m a big fan of great expression – of facial expressions that go beyond mad/scared/rage – and there are a LOT of great expressions in this issue. The only limitation here is the page count – I wish we could go beyond 19 pages of story, but that’s not the fault of this excellent creative team. I’ll give this one an 8/10 – but that’s just my opinion. What do YOU think? Leave your comments below!