Written by, Joshua Williamson
Pencils by, Rafa Sandoval
Inks by, Jordi Tarragona
Colors by, Tomeu Morey
Letters by, Steve Wands
The story begins, Barry Allen’s inner monologue describes how becoming The Flash transformed him from a homegrown product of Central City to a Multiverse traveler. Now, he must change again. He is no longer the fastest one there is, but he needs to be, which makes him become a student of The Speed Force. Barry and Iris embark on a journey to uncover the secrets behind the forces which were unleashed and which recently caused great damage to Central City. The Strength Force has to do with manipulating gravity; The Sage Force has to do with empathy, and The Still Force deals with entropy. They come in contact with a pair, Bella Donna and Santiago, who call themselves Gemini and who also seek the secrets of the new forces. After this encounter, The Flash follows the urge of The Speed Force, which takes them to Gorilla City, where they are shocked to find decimation.
The story is interesting because not only does it describe a new challenge for The Flash, to find the secrets of The Speed Force, but also engages him with Iris as his partner. The introduction of two new characters, Gemini, made the story refreshing especially since, after their encounter, Bella Donna is intent on taking The Speed Forces power away from The Flash. In addition, the writer connects this new relationship Barry has to The Speed Force to Wally West, who had an organic and spiritual connection to The Speed Force. The connection to Wally West keeps Wally alive and relevant despite the events of Heroes in Crisis Issue #1.
The art provides the highest highs for this issue and brings life to the story. Sandavol’s pencil-work is detailed, catching small nuances, like shoes and wrinkles in clothing in the extras who populate the streets of the city. His renderings of The Flash manipulating The Speed Force are almost at Howard Porter’s level, but not quite. The Flash’s musculature and his movements jump off the page and create an almost kinetic feeling to the panels. When The Flash scoops up Iris and pursues the inclinations of The Speed Force at the end of the issue, the spoiler is sudden but feels earned because the art captures the nebulized aspect of The Speed Force.
Overall = 9
The Flash storyline has been resuscitated from a stupor caused by over-reliance on tropes and themes that have been overly-explored in his recent books. The storytelling of Joshua Williamson has always had deep emotional connections between characters that feel organic and earned. However, in this current arc, Williamson is putting The Flash in the position of being a student of The Speed Force and has included Iris as an equal partner in the venture. I’m excited to see what they learn together and how it will impact the character moving forward.