Joshua Williamson, writer
Scott Kolins, art
Luis Guerrero, colors
Steve Wands, letters
In the previous issue, Barry learns that The Trickster has concocted a plan to brainwash all of Central City to reclaim his name as The Flash’s number one villain. This issue begins, Barry allows himself to be captured so that he can see where The Trickster’s home base is located so that he can confront him. Barry uses his connection to the Speed Force to evade the effects of The Happy Machine, which The Trickster created with help from The Sage Force and uses to control the people. The Flash then locates Commander Cold and seems to have found a way to stop The Trickster. However, James Jesse, has a trick up his sleeve, which Barry doesn’t see coming and cuts him off at the knees.
There are a couple of intensely emotional arcs in this story, Trickster’s anger toward Warden Wolfe, being one of them. He expresses his anger by beating Wolfe to a pulp. Another emotional high point comes when The Trickster uses both detective Burns and Commander Cold, without The Flash’s awareness, to initiate a surprise attack which cripples The Flash. It’s nice to see a story where the villain is outwitting The Flash based on that character’s strengths. Typically, Barry is overwhelmed by guilt and regret which slows him down from solving crimes. In this case, Barry is a step or two behind The Trickster and he’s been out-thought, which adds weight to the story.
Visually, the book continues to shine due to Scott Kolins’ expert depictions of the characters. Specifically, the renditions of characters faces and body posture is, life-like, cartoonish, and appealing. Barry’s face looks different from what Carmine Di Giandomenico would draw his face, but it is distinctly Barry Allen and has character. Although The Flash lacks the gorgeous Speed-Force lightning that Howard Porter would draw, the kinetic energy is captured nicely.
Overall = 9.5/10
This story is building in tension as The Trickster intensifies his hold on Central City. Barry has been put on his knees by his latest rogue-villain and he lacks the support of his friends Iris and Kid Flash to rescue him. How will he outsmart The Trickster and find a way to release Central City from his grasp? I can hardly wait to find out. I highly recommend this book for fans of The Flash and DC comics.