The Flash #55 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Scott Kolins, Artist; Luis Guerrero, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Still Not Meshing
Ray: Coming off the pyrotechnics of Flash War, Joshua Williamson’s run on The Flash has been slowing down a bit, just enough to let us breathe. Coming off the battle with the Strength Force of the last few issues, it’s not clear if the mysterious forces are at play here, but given the supernatural events taking place it feels like it.
At the start of the issue, Barry is back in the field teaming up with the Justice League Dark against Solomon Grundy. The Gotham-based zombie has shown up in Central City, more powerful and enraged than ever. As Barry manages to successfully destroy the undead creature’s body for now, Iris and his friends are meeting for what’s supposed to be a relaxing night out.
I was glad to see that Barry and Iris’ fight at the end of last issue didn’t turn into a massive rift, instead seeming all but forgotten. I was also amused that Commander Cold now has a job as a bartender. He and Barry don’t get along, but it seems like they’re going to be forced together again, which is the type of dynamic that’s fun to read.
The main plot of this issue takes place at Iron Heights. Heat Wave, hideously burned and unstable as always, starts manifesting new powers shortly after he reveals that he seemingly knows about James Jesse. He explodes, taking down half of Iron Heights with him.
While Barry is mysteriously hallucinating an undead Wally in the bar bathroom, Heat Wave is now in a coma at Iron Heights suffering from total burns. But inside his head, he’s visualizing a mysterious fire being that offers him additional power. As Barry and his team arrive at Iron Heights to investigate, they find themselves besieged by monsters made of blue fire. Those monsters seemingly kill several members of Barry’s team, including Kristen, which makes me doubt that everything is as it seems.
Could this fire demon be some sort of manifestation of the Sage Force? This issue feels a little scattered at times, combining a lot of plots and jumping back and forth. But it’s setting up another strong central plot in a larger narrative. This book is always consistent.
Corrina: I said over in my review of The Terrifics that it combines silly Silver-Age style ideas and emotions well. Flash has been trying to do the same, attempting to weld fights with these various different “forces” (strength, sage) with Barry’s contentious relationship with Iris and Commander Cold. That might work if Barry seemed to have any sense of humor about all this.
I’m still not feeling any real emotion between Barry and Iris, perhaps because they snipe at each other so often. I need to see why they’re together, too. She has more chemistry with Commander Cold this issue, as they seem to be trying to reach steady ground.
However, the fire demon-thing that takes over Heat Wave is definitely a Flash-level villain and much less ridiculous than the past “force” creatures. The world seen in Heat Wave’s new dimension/dreamstate/supernaturalwhatever is chilling. I especially love how Kolins draws the fire and flames.
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Dislcaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.