The Flash #53 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Christian Duce, Artist; Luis Guerrero, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: In the aftermath of the Flash War shake-up of Barry Allen’s team, Central City becomes consumed by the search for the remaining Forces – Strength, Sage, and Still. Last issue saw Trickster, in the middle of blowing the whistle on Warden Wolfe’s cruel abuse of the inmates of Iron Heights, being consumed by the Strength force and emerging as a monstrous hulk with an arm made out of volcanic rock. The issue opens with a focus on Commander Cold, showing us his past as a law enforcement official in the 25th century. A brutal encounter with the terrifying Elongated Maniac led to him turning his back on the rule of law and becoming a lone wolf – an attitude he keeps when working as a team with Barry. The general mistrust between the two doesn’t serve them well when trying to take on Trickster, who has quickly begun rampaging across the city and getting his revenge for the way he was treated by the Rogues in the past. Commander Cold has really come into his own as an intriguing part of the book in this last arc.
I’m still not sure about the new direction for Iris – it’s good seeing her more directly involved in Flash’s heroics, but she mainly seems to show up to do his research and give him pep talks. Maybe I’m spoiled by the fact that she’s essentially the team leader over in the TV Flash. This is an interesting take on the usual Flash battles – Flash is rarely up against someone whose power is pure unadulterated strength, and there’s relatively little he can do at first. He winds up being saved by the fact that the Strength Force is overwhelming and killing Trickster – the young criminal is empowered by it, but he’s not truly bonded to it. With no other choice, Trickster agrees to go back to Iron Heights where they have the facilities to study his new powers. To get the facilities’ resources, Warden Wolfe forces Flash into a devil’s bargain to let him experiment on Flash as well – which leads to an unexpected new power for Flash, and a potential betrayal by Cold that throws Flash into danger next issue. The series still hasn’t quite captured the excitement it had during Flash War, but it remains one of DC’s most consistent titles.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.