The Flash #46 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Scott Kolins, Artist; Luis Guerrero, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: After last issue’s big reveals that restored Wally West’s memory, Flash #46 shows us the truth is a lot more complicated than expected. Wally doesn’t have all his memories back, he just has fragments that are slowly driving him insane – and he doesn’t know yet who’s responsible for the chaos that’s become of his life. The person who will light that spark and turn it into the upcoming Flash War, Hunter Zolomon, gets his spotlight this issue from the man who drew his original story, Scott Kolins. Zolomon’s always been a complex villain, driven by a twisted version of justice and a desire to see the Flash “perfected” through the same kind of tragedy he experienced. There’s a similarity to Godspeed, but Zolomon is gone far more over the deep end. This issue reveals that he was in an alliance in the future with Eobard Thawne, but Thawne’s more sadistic approach to revenge against the Flash ended with his death.
Meanwhile, all the heroes are trying to figure out the source of Wally’s flashes of memory, but neither Zatanna’s magic nor J’onn’s telepathy cracks his mind. Wally is starting to unravel more and more, and an interaction with Cyborg turns weird when he starts seeing Cyborg shifting through various incarnations from the old continuity. Barry, seeking answers, heads to the Batcave to try to question Bruce, but only finds Alfred. This is a great segment that cuts to the core of the Bat-family, and shows that Williamson would probably be a fantastic Batman writer if he got the opportunity. Barry is able to track down Wally and help him cope, at least for now, but Zolomon has a plan of his own, and next issue promises to set the Flashes against each other. The fact that this has been set up so well, and that the writers have worked to make us care about both sides, means this upcoming event will likely be one to remember.
Corrina: This isn’t the first time Williamson has written a Flash/Batman interaction well. His work in the crossover “The Button” was terrific for both characters. Alfred’s conversation with Wally is one of those things I never expected to see in a Flash comic but works so well.
Wally fans better bring the tissues this episode because poor Wally is dealing with a lot of stuff, including a Flash museum that vanishes around him–or did it only exist in his memory? Barry seems way over his head in trying to deal with his one-time protege’s meltdown. Barry mostly seems over his head. For years now, DC has tried to make Barry Allen work as the Flash, rebooting his origin, bringing him back to the beginning, slowly bringing in his Rogues. To me, that’s only complicated the problem. The Barry Allen I grew up reading as a kid was a happily married man, mostly angst-free, fighting the good fight because it was the right thing to do. The further we get from that Barry, the less he works, maybe because angst-driven heroes are now a dime a dozen and a happily married hero would make Barry stand out more. (As for TV Barry, he’s always struck me more as Barry’s name, Wally’s personality. But I digress.)
But time will not be turned back (well, unless you want Flashpoint), so here we are.
Meanwhile, there’s Zolomon. It is a rule in Flash comics that a Reverse Flash must exist as part of a run and since we’ve already taken care of Eobard, it’s time for Zolomon. He has a strange origin in that he believes imposing tragedy on a hero makes that hero a better person. (Indeed, he sometimes seems to be a comic book villain analog of Geoff Johns, who likes to impose tragedies on his heroes even when they’ve existed just fine for decades without them. See: Barry Allen.)
I can’t say I’m excited to see Zolomon’s story but I am hooked on Wally. Let’s hope he gets out of this alive.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.