“Death and the Speed Force” Part Five – Review of THE FLASH #80

The Black Flash is still looking to “save” the Speed Force by killing the avatars of the other Forces (Strength, Sage, Still).  One of them has already been killed, and Barry Allen is determined that no one else dies today. Can the Flash make good on that promise? Things have gotten a bit more complicated with the arrival of the “One True Flash” – and in case you don’t know who THAT is, just follow us after the jump to find out more. In fact, why don’t you just follow us after the jump anyway? LOTS more info on a very good issue of THE FLASH!

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Barry has hidden Fuerza, along with Captain Cold, inside the Strength Force itself! He is ready to do the same for Steadfast, when the Black Flash arrives! It tears up the Speed Lab and literally flies off in search of the avatar of the Still Force. Iris West has witnessed all this and goes to check on Barry, who is no longer speed-healing. That’s one additional sign of the dying Speed Force. Barry has enough speed to take Iris with him so that they can talk more – and they will have a long conversation after all this is over about Wally, but for now…

Iris wants to know more about Hunter Zolomon! She and Barry go to track that info down. Meanwhile…

We catch up with Hunter Zolomon himself, who kidnapped Steadfast at the end of last issue. Zolomon want to possess all  the forces, even though he knows the Black Flash will come for him. Zolomon is convinced that, as the “Greatest Flash in the Multiverse”, he can beat the Black Flash on his own. He already has bits of the Strength and Sage forces, and uses them to his advantage when fighting Barry. He looks ready to kill Barry…but that’s just a ruse to get Steadfast to use his powers. Zolomon takes advantage of the situation to steal the Still Force from Steadfast!

This leads to the discovery of one additional force…The Forever Force! This new force is outside of time and space. It may let Zolomon do the one thing he could not do before…change the past!

Why would he want to do that? For a very similar reason to Barry’s actions that triggered FLASHPOINT. Hunter Zolomon was a top-notch profiler for the FBI. Everything was great until he made one misjudgment. That mistake allowed a villain called The Clown to kill Zolomon’s mentor, and it put him on the path to becoming Zoom.  There is a mystery that Hunter Zolomon never solved…and we’ll come back to that in a moment. But first…

Zoom has bested Barry – no doubt about it. And, Zolomon believes himself ready to take on the Black Flash. But, as death comes up behind him, Barry Allen makes a move to save Zoom…

…and takes the death blow instead?! Sure looks like it, and that’s where we leave things for this issue.

NOTES:

  • When Barry and Iris were checking the old records about Zolomon, they came across the gun that The Clown used to shoot Zoom’s mentor. There were two sets of fingerprints on the weapon – one had never been identified. With more modern technology, Barry and Iris learn just who that additional person was…though we don’t get the answer just yet. That is likely for next issue (or one that comes along very soon).
  • Kid Flash and Avery have come up on the revamped Rogues. With the upgraded weapons supplied by Lex Luthor, they are ready to go to war. But, should Kid Flash and the Flash of China risk a battle now, while their speed is fading? We’ll come back to that as well before long.
  • As an old Silver-Age fan (I’m that old, not called Silver-Aged Ed for nothing), I’m SO glad to see the wings on Barry’s boots. I know that’s a small detail, but it means a lot to see that here.
  • Speaking of the artwork, this was another great issue. There is a HUGE challenge in this arc, putting Zolomon’s riff on the Silver-Age suit in the same panels as the new Barry suit for all those battles. It means that the pencils, inks, and colors all have to be spot on to make it work. That’s what happens here. I had no trouble separating the good guy from the bad guy, even when the different chest symbols were not in the picture.

SUMMARY: Another excellent issue of THE FLASH from Joshua Williamson, Scott Kolins, Luis Guerrero, and Steve Wands. I’ll give this one an 8/10…but that’s just my opinion. What do YOU think? Leave your comments below!

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