What is the price of being a hero? What do you risk? What do you give up? How great IS the cost of being a superhero? All along we’ve seen the fraying of the relationship between Barry Allen and Bruce Wayne…but is that the only price to be paid in this final chapter of the crossover? To find out more, follow us after the jump!
The story in this issue of THE FLASH ran far deeper than I expected, and frankly it left me with a certain sadness that I think was intentional on the part of writer Joshua Williamson. In the end, the battle to save Gotham Girl was secondary to the real issue here. Why do people keep wanting to be heroes, to take the risk of their lives and their sanity? Why do their mentors, aka Barry and Bruce, keep letting them in to their world?
Barry has lost his hopeful attitude – as he said, that “died along with Wally West.” After saving Gotham Girl, Bats and Flash have it out in the Batcave. Bitter words are exchanged, the kind you rarely can take back. It leads to a breathtaking splash page with a final confrontation (we’ll come back to that in the notes below). But, when Barry returns home, he finds that Iris has realized the real price.
Iris knows that Barry couldn’t really give up being a hero. But, she isn’t ready to pay the price for this kind of life – at least not yet. Iris is gone, trying to figure things out. So, what’s the real price? I’ll quote Iris’ letter:
“…that’s the real cost, isn’t it? You can save everyone from this life but yourself. And then…you’re all alone.”
I can’t think of a better way to sum all this up.
Of course, there will be lasting effects from this. Barry and Bruce no longer trust each other, and that will be something critical in “DC’s Year of the Villain”, coming soon to a LCS near you. Iris and Barry are apart. Wally is still dead (we think). This is a story with an amazing and heart-rending conclusion, one where no one truly “wins”.
- This finale is one of the best I’ve seen in a crossover. The last chapter of a big story seems to be the toughest for so many writers, but Joshua Williamson knocks this out of the park. The emotional impact of this story is significant. Bravo on the script writing for this one.
- Iris slapping Batman? Wow! Could anyone else (with the possible exception of Lois Lane) get away with that? It was a perfect moment for her.
- Let’s also give kudos to the artwork here. Rafa Sandoval (pencils), Jordi Tarragona (inks) and Tomeu Morey (colors) have given us pages throughout this issue that should be framed and hung up on…my wall (I can only wish). The double size splash page near the conclusion, in which Barry says “I could hit you a hundred times before you could throw one punch”, is almost photographic in quality. Barry and Bruce looked like they could step straight out of the panel. Wow!
- Each issue of this crossover had a slightly different take on “The Price”. The first installments was “The Price of Justice”. The second was “The Price of Innocence”, the third was, “The Price of Vengeance”. And, this last installment was “The Price of Loyalty.”
- One note not in this issue of THE FLASH….. Uh, Josh Williamson, do you have any issues with Brian Michael Bendis? In this week’s ACTION #1008, Leviathans’ “Watch List” includes your name. It’s crossed out, along with Sam Lane and some of the other targets. Actually, I’m imagining that’s all in good fun – but it was a nice Easter Egg in that book.
SUMMARY: This is the kind of crossover we always hope for but rarely get. It’s a 10/10 for this reviewer. Of course, that’s just my opinion – what do YOU think? Leave your comments below!