Review – The Flash #50: Race to the Finish

Comic Books DC This Week
Flash Variant Cover, credit to DC Comics.

The Flash #50 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Howard Porter, Artist; Hi-Fi, Colorist

Ray – 9.5/10

Ray: Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter’s epic Flash showdown comes to a shocking close in Flash #50, shaking up virtually every element of the Flash-verse, removing some players while adding others, and containing at least one moment that left this reviewer cheering out loud. When we last left off, Hunter Zolomon had taken advantage of Wally West’s grief and used his speed to break the Speed Force, allowing him to seize control of the Speed Force – as well as other, mysterious new powers titled the Sage Force and the Strength Force. These abilities are just being teased out now, and you can tell Williamson is part of the core writing team at DC right now – this ties in directly to the Still Force concept being introduced in Scott Snyder’s Justice League. Amid all the crazy battles, this issue would not work nearly as well if it wasn’t grounded in the often fraught relationship between Barry and Wally, beginning with a rather sweet flashback segment to Wally’s teen years. Then, though, it’s off to an epic race between the three Flashes as Hunter Zolomon breaches the gates of Hypertime and sets off to create his ideal reality.

Race to the finish. Credit to DC Comics.

Zolomon is a fascinating villain, reminding me a lot of the Parallax version of Hal Jordan from the 1990s. He’s evil, sure, but he’s a broken man driven by grief who believes he can rewrite the world to what it should be. Haven’t we all had that desire once in a while? I didn’t think the side story involving Wally Jr., Iris, and Commander Cold was as compelling as the main narrative, but it sets up some interesting subplots for the future. Zolomon is defeated, of course, but the rifts between Barry and Wally aren’t all resolved – and a new one may be emerging between Barry and the younger Wally, which makes his behavior in the Teen Titans Special make more sense (although it doesn’t justify that issue’s terrible writing, or his behavior towards Wally 1.0). The shakeup in the Speed Force – no more time travel! New powers in the wild! – is clearly going to drive the next year of the book, but it was the return of Bart Allen – in classic Impulse mode – that had me the most excited. Getting closer and closer to that Young Justice relaunch! Williamson is one of only two writers, along with Tom King, to do a full fifty-issue run in Rebirth so far. Based on this arc, he’s got a lot more to say, and I hope he sticks with the title until #100.

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