The Flash #38 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Scott Kolins, Artist; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Racing To A Conclusion
Ray: Iconic Flash artist Scott Kolins returns to Flash, the book that made him famous, with Flash #38, an issue that’s probably the best the series has been since its first arc – combining strong action sequences, twists and turns, and some great character development and emotional beats. When we last left off, Captain Cold – now ruler of an underground fortress he’s built into Iron Heights – had trapped the Flash with the help of Godspeed, and had begun to deliver a brutal beating to his arch-nemesis as the Rogues watch. Williamson’s version of Cold is excellent – somewhat sympathetic, but he’s made his choice to turn his past pain into pure ruthlessness. However, the twists start fast and furious in this issue, and Godspeed provides for the first, proving there’s still some good left in the vigilante killer. This makes sense – while August Heart did a lot of horrible things, he’s always been driven by a sense of justice.
The introduction of the new Copperhead to this series has added a new dynamic to the Central City crime scene – Flash has always been about flashy (pun intended) villains, and this is the first time they’ve had a behind-the-scenes, Kingpin-esque criminal mastermind. The way she tricks the police force is masterful, but the issue also reveals that she has a secret boss herself, which kind of takes away from her impact. Kid Flash steals the show with a heroic moment towards the end of the issue, but this issue’s biggest impact is in the interaction between Flash and Godspeed, and the way it causes Barry to finally confront his own demons. I liked seeing Warden Wolf get his comeuppance, and the final page promises to resolve a hanging plot point that has lasted way too long. This book’s got its groove back in a big way.
Corrina: I haven’t been thrilled with Flash since Reverse Flash was killed by Iris. That sent Barry into an ill-defined descent that veered from overconfidence to depression to self-pity. None of them was a good look on Barry Allen and while they were attributed to the “negative” Flash energy, Barry never seemed to take any steps to fix that himself. He is a scientist but instead of trying to find a solution, he seemed to give up. That may be part of the depression but, again, it had the effect of everyone else in the book being proactive while Barry moped.
Someone else even solved the negative energy problem for him. However, the issues since then have improved but while Ray feels Flash #38 is a return to form (and Kolins’ art certainly is), it still seems more like treading water to me. It leaves so many plot issues hanging. For instance, while it’s good to see the Warden of Iron Heights receive his comeuppance, there has been no real indication of how he became so incompetent. He’s simply been a two-dimensional obstacle to Barry and easily avoided by the Rogues.
Yet the Cold/Flash fight is wonderful, as is August operating under his own moral code. I hope he is not completely redeemed–he is a multiple murderer, after all–but it’s good to see the difference between him and the rest of the Rogues.
I’m eager for this title to move forward in several ways. This issue was a good step toward that.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.