The Flash #52

Written by, Joshua Williamson
Art by, Christian Duce
Colors by, Luis Guerrero
Letter by, Steve Wands

During The Flash War, Barry and Wally broke The Speed Force Barrier allowing three new forces to be unleashed: Sage, Still, and Strength. Now, Barry meets with Flashes from every other earth to learn if any of them have experienced something like this on their earth. He doesn’t learn anything new from The Flashes, only that he can’t solve this problem without help. Meanwhile, The Trickster is transported from Iron Heights to testify against Warden Wolfe, which leads to his escape after the guards are attacked by a pair called The Dark Angels. Finally, Iris reiterates to Barry his need to use the help that Commander Cold offered him. Barry leaves to find Command Cold, and when he finds him they locate Trickster. The issue ends on a big cliffhanger.  

I’m torn about the entertainment value of introducing three new forces into The Flash universe. On one side, these new forces feel like gimmicks that I don’t want as part of the permanent Flash universe.  However, they do provide new ways for The Flash’s character to be developed and explored and are not just regurgitated from past story arcs. What interests me the most is the emotional subplot involving Barry and his underutilization of his team members, his regrets at losing Kid Flash and Wally, and his distrust of Commander Cold.

I am interested in the minor arc involving the investigation of Warden Wolfe for his connection to the Rogues and other illegal activities. However, Kristen’s part in the investigation could be elevated so she feels like less of a loose end and more like Barry Allen’s partner. However, Christian Duce’s art is beautiful in how it provides the fine details in faces and background scenery. No one will beat Di Giandomenico and how he presents the Force-lightning that surrounds Barry when he runs, but Duce is close. The large panel layout of The Trickster at the end of the issue was the highpoint artistically.

Overall = 9

Final Impressions:

I’m excited to see Iris entrenched and back in Barry’s world. The book feels like it has more depth with her involved because of the history she has with Barry and her lost and returning memories of the pre-Flashpoint world. The biggest questions created by this issue are:  How much will Central City change by the new forces and how much more will Barry and Iris remember about their past?

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Tom Zimm
I am a licensed clinical social worker and trauma therapist that works with children. I've been interested in comic book heroes since I was a young child. However, it's been in the last 3-4 years that I've been making the weekly trip to the local comic book store to redeem my pull list. DC's Rebirth really won me over, especially Geoff Johns' 80-page book. My favorite properties include The Flash and The Incredible Hulk. My criteria for a good comic book include taking stupid and fun seriously while remaining self-aware.