The Flash #36 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Howard Porter, Artist; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: More Wally, Please!
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The battle for Iron Heights begins in a tense issue that unites villains new and old in a multi-level assault on Flash. Last issue teased us with a horrible murder at Iron Heights, hinting that Barry’s new partner Kristen was the victim. She’s not – the victim is Turbine, an obscure villainous speedster who was essentially dug out of the vaults to play this role. Not every writer spins gold out of the most obscure villains like Tom King can, I guess. While Barry tries to navigate his new role as a prison crime lab tech and figure out where he stands with Singh and Warden Wolfe, they’re quickly interrupted by Trickster, who breaks out of his cell and loudly confesses to the crime. He’s quickly arrested, but Barry suspects his confession is only a feint. This suspicion is borne out by a conversation with his old friend turned current enemy, August Heart – aka Godspeed.
While Barry is off at Iron Heights, Wally is battling the remaining villains in Central City, but this segment is just an excuse for Williamson to show off his knowledge of obscure Flash villains and have some fun. Bug-Eyed Bandit vs. the Trigger Twins is an amusing showdown, but it turns out they’re just pawns in the new Copperhead’s plan to take over the city while the Rogues are away. Something the Rogues know all about and are plotting to counter from within their own private lair beneath Iron Heights. The Rogues are always entertaining and thrive on being three steps ahead of their rivals, but the alliance with Godspeed at the end of the issue has a lot of potential. I’m not sure about the direction Williamson has been taking Barry, tearing his life down, but there’s no question his villains are top-notch.
Corrina: I know this is Williamson’s journey into the dark side of Barry Allen but it feels like a long, long time since Barry had a win. First, his isolation from Iris over her killing Reverse Flash (a totally understandable reaction to being kidnapped by a madmen with terrifying abilities), then the infection by the dark energy, Meena’s betrayal, the loss of his regular job, the move to Iron Heights, and finally, this sense that nothing Barry does matters because the Rogues aren’t restrained at all–they’re doing whatever they want, even murder. Even Barry’s talk with August, his one-time friend, was depressing.
Perhaps that’s why Wally’s segments were so refreshing because of his enthusiasm and because something he did mattered and thus, he was a breath of fresh air.
I know this is the journey that Barry is on and maybe the payoff will be worth it. I hope so. Williamson won me over when he took over this comic originally. But I think my faith in this storyline might be lost in the Speed Force.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.