A Double Dose of Speed Force – Review THE FLASH #63 and THE FLASH ANNUAL #2!

This week brought us not one, but TWO books featuring the Scarlet Speedster! In THE FLASH #63 we continue Force Quest, while in THE FLASH ANNUAL we witness the return of Godspeed…along with a VERY special guest star! Both are well worth the read for any Flash fan, though you may need a box of tissues handy for part of the stories. Want to know more? Follow us after the jump!

SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Let’s tackle THE FLASH #63 first. Gemini has captured both Barry and Psych and are busy draining the Speed and Sage Forces from them. Their only hope is Iris West – who tackles Santiago and at least temporarily stops Gemini from harming Barry and Psych. Unfortunately for Iris, that doesn’t stop Gemini from trying to hurt her!

Still, that gives Barry and Psych a chance to recover. More than that, it gives Barry a chance to figure out something very important.  The different forces don’t combine well…in fact they clash! That temporarily stops Gemini…long enough for Psych to do something terrible…He kills Santiago! In justifying that, he reveals something even more troubling to the Flash. The four forces have never worked together. They were always destined to fight for control…of the Forever Force! For one force to win, the others must die!

As Barry and Iris return to Gorilla City, they learn that they knew all along about this – but they hid it from Barry in an attempt to change fate. Now, all but one has died, at the hands of the one person who controls all four Forces, Hunter Zolomon!

Knowing the danger, Barry once again decides to go it alone…will he ever learn? He leaves Iris at her house…then comes back to current DC continuity as he discovers the death of Wally in HEROES IN CRISIS. That’s where we leave THE FLASH #63 and move to…

THE FLASH ANNUAL #2

We start with special guest Impulse – and he remembers everything about his pre-FLASHPOINT life, including being the Fourth Flash! He is looking for everyone, but can’t find anyone…which may be for the best considering what a jarring moment that would be for Barry and Iris. In fact, it would be even tougher for Bart to learn of Wally’s supposed fate in HEROES IN CRISIS. What’s really  interesting are the other people Bart remembers, like Max, Conner, Tim, Cassie, and Jesse!

While all of that is going on, Barry is so shaken by Wally’s death that he actually runs into the Speed Force hoping to find him. What he finds instead is Godspeed! August has been in the Speed Force since we last saw him and he claims he is here to “save the future”. August has been given a special gauntlet by an unknown benefactor, and he uses it to…collect something from all the speedsters he can find.

Barry does beat him down, but he also learns that someone hates him…hates all speedsters. August claims he is just trying to warn Barry. As he tries to get away, he sees a returning Bart Allen!

August has no idea who this is…but his benefactor apparently does. He lets Godspeed know that he is no match for Bart and brings him back to…wherever he is.

Meanwhile, in the midst of battle Wallace learns what happened to Wally. Of course Barry hasn’t told him, so Wallace is really and truly ticked. He tells Barry off…and sends him to do what he should already done.

Barry has to tell Iris. It is a truly heartbreaking scene, and both scripted and illustrated wonderfully. I’ll leave it at that – you really should read this scene.

In our first epilogue, Bart returns to the Flash museum and realizes that something is wrong. The statue of Wally has the “wrong” costume. Everything is wrong. So for now, since he can’t find his family he runs to find his friends, setting up his appearance in YOUNG JUSTICE #1.

In the second epilogue we see August returning to his benefactor…who is unnamed here, but who could very well be…

Cobalt Blue? Quite possibly yes!

NOTES:

  • THE FLASH #63 obviously leads straight into the Annual, so you truly need both to keep up here. No problem with that, but there seems to be a continuation of a theme…
  • Barry just can’t learn his lesson. Seriously, he keeps going off on his own, keeps hiding information thinking that is somehow kinder, then winds up getting beaten down and finding that others are ticked at him for hiding things. Barry just isn’t picking up his social cues…maybe someday, but not today.
  • Quick question – where do you think that gauntlet came from? Was it a Cobalt Blue gauntlet or a John Fox gauntlet or something else? Leave your comments below.

SUMMARIES:

  • The two books combine to both add new elements into the Force Quest story line and also to set up a whole new path for Barry in 2019. We should just get past Zoom in time for Cobalt Blue, and that sounds more than fun for this reviewer. Can’t wait for what’s coming up!
  • The scripts by Joshua Williamson were solid for both books, as was the art. Mink Yu Jung handled pencils and inks for THE FLASH #63 with colors by Hi-Fi. Scott Kolins did the illustrations for THE FLASH ANNUAL #2 with colors by Luis Guerrero. I especially loved the heartbreaking scenes in the Annual, but all the artwork in each book was more than good.

SCORES:
I’ll give an 8/10 for THE FLASH #63 and a 9/10 for THE FLASH ANNUAL #2. Both are more than worth the price of admission, so don’t miss them. Of course, that’s just my opinion – what do YOU think? Leave your comments below!

 

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1 thought on “A Double Dose of Speed Force – Review THE FLASH #63 and THE FLASH ANNUAL #2!

  1. Josh from Indiana

    I have such mixed feelings about these two issues. On one hand, the Force quest arc has been one of my least favorite arcs in a long time and I put 63 down all set to drop the title. It’s as boring to me as the Booth stuff from before Rebirth. I also hate the direction they’ve gone with Wally. All the hope of Rebirth is gone.
    But then I read the Annual, and it was pretty good. A solid mystery with the villain behind the scenes, and maybe we can move past the ridiculous Wallace-blaming-Barry and Barry-keeping-things-from-Iris? I still don’t know how long I’ll stay with the book, but I will at least stick around to give the Flash/Batman crossover a chance.

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