“I Believe” Review of THE FLASH #81

It’s all been building up to this. It’s a titanic battle between Barry Allen, Hunter Zolomon, and the Black Flash. The fate of the Speed Force, and so much more, hangs in the balance. Ok, that’s a little bit breathless, don’t you think? But, no, this IS what’s happening here. And, the outcome will be NOTHING like you thought it would be! Wanna know more? Follow us after the jump!

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Hunter and Barry are trapped in the Forever Force with the Black Flash. Hunter has decided that he, the “One True Flash” can beat the Black Flash. He wants to defeat Death itself, and he’s doing a pretty good job of it. Using all the Force powers he’s gained, Zolomon is giving everything he can to the Black Flash. He almost makes it…but while that happens…

Something is happening with Barry.

Barry starts to glow with Speed Force energy, and he uses that on the Black Flash to buy a little time to talk with Zolomon. Barry has an idea to turn things around. Remember that odd fingerprint that was found on the gun the Clown used to kill Hunter’s mentor? The killing that pushed Zolomon over the edge? Barry reveals to Hunter just who that was…

It was Eobard Thawne’s fingerprint!

Yes, Thawne in a sense “created” both Flash and Zoom. This completely shakes Zolomon’s world, and he gains a new perspective on what his role should be. He wants to sacrifice himself to fix the Force Barrier!

Barry tries to stop him, but without success. Zolomon asks Barry to tell Wally that “I’m sorry”. Then, saying “This is what Flashes do, right?”, he sacrifices himself – fixing the Force Barrier in the process!

Barry is still in the Forever Force…and so is the Black Flash! Death turns his attention to Barry, who escapes the Forever Force just in time to trap the Black Flash there. But, just as that happens…

Speed Force Lightning strikes Barry, Wallace and Avery! Their speed is GONE! Wallace says that he, “can still feel the Speed Force, but something is weird”.

That’s a problem, because Wallace and Avery were in the presence of…the Rogues! This amped-up collection of Rogues delivers a defeated Kid Flash and the Flash of China back to the Flash Museum. As that happens, the Rogues are realizing something truly important for the DCU…

Because just before that happened, Steadfast felt the presence of Perpetua! Yes, DOOM has hit the DCU, and it finally, completely fills the pages of THE FLASH. Steadfast realizes that all of time and space, all the multiverse is now “all wrong”. The Speed Force is now broken. The Rogues stand triumphant, and Captain Cold talks about Lex Luthor’s “Doom Wins” idea and says, “I believe”.

NOTES:

  • At some point, the Year of the Villain had to fully play out in the pages of THE FLASH. Just as Perpetua and Luthor win in JUSTICE LEAGUE, it plays out here as well. We’ll have to wait and see how this ends up for the whole DCU (or should I say “for the whole “Perpetua Multiverse”). For now, all our favorite speedsters have a much more pressing problem. What can they do about these Rogues without any powers?
  • Go back and look at the last panels for Hunter Zolomon. As he realizes what he must do, as he turns truly heroic, the lightning bolt on his chest changes. It’s now in the same direction as Barry’s, signifying Zolomon’s sacrifice as a hero instead of a villain. Didn’t see THAT coming – and I must stay well done to both Joshua Williamson’s script and to the art team of Scott Kolins (illustrations), Luis Guerrero (colors), and Steve Wands (letters) for an outstanding job.  This was great all the way through, but it’s the little things that really make this issue so great.

SUMMARY:

We have a new normal for our speedsters, giving us a chance to see the harshest test of character yet for Barry, Wallace, and Avery. This should be HUGE moving forward. We knew from advance solicitations that the Speed Force would go away (at least for a while), but the sacrifice of Zolomon and his heroic turn at the end was something special. This issue was a 9/10 for me – but of course that’s just my opinion. What do YOU think? Leave your comments below!

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