The Flash #57 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Scott Kolins, Artist; Luis Guerrero, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Saving Heat Wave
Ray: The Flash’s second confrontation with one of the mysterious new forces comes to a close in Flash #57, as Heat Wave has used the power of the Sage Force to transform himself from pyromaniac crook to all-powerful psychic flame-demon. Barry and Detective Burns are trapped in an endless maze of flame, with Barry using his speed to try to force his way out and reaching one dead end after another. In the real world, Iris and Commander Cold are desperately trying to pull Heat Wave and his hostages out of his psychic maze, but failing even if Iris starts getting flashbacks to her past life pre-Flashpoint – and her studies of these forces previously. This is an interesting wrinkle that gives Iris something unique to do, separating her from so many other superhero girlfriends. Iris, thanks to her new knowledge, comes up with an unexpected solution for getting through to Heat Wave – sending Commander Cold into the Sage Force undercover as Mick Rory’s friend Captain Cold.
There’s been a lot of odd stuff going on with the Rogues since the New 52 days, but Williamson thankfully seems to be subverting that and going back to what originally made them unique. The Rogues, unlike so many other DC villains, are actually close to the point of being family. While Flash and his allies have no way of getting into Heat Wave’s head, Cold does. This new Commander Cold does an impressive job of impersonating someone he never actually knew, and that’s enough to get Heat Wave to lose his grip on the Sage Force. When everything returns to normal, Heat Wave winds up back in prison – but without the burn scars that have been part of his character since the New 52, a surprising twist. And Barry, realizing he doesn’t understand these new forces fully, heads off on a Force Quest – with Iris along for the quest, partnering her knowledge with his powers. This has been a compelling arc with some great twists for the mythology, and it seems from the ending that Williamson is just getting started.
Corrina: I’m still a bit confused at the comic book logic that created the Sage and other Forces but this arc has been terrific because it used that handwaved comic book Force to dig deep into not just Heat Wave’s psyche but Barry’s as well. The issues the characters are struggling with feel so real, despite the weirdness around them.
I’m not familiar with previous comic stories about Heat Wave but that’s okay. Even I can feel the gift he’s been given by the removal of his scars and the strength of his friendship with Captain Cold. One wonders what Mick will do once he realized that Commander Cold only pretended to be his friend. Mick’s life was saved by the deception but he seems like the type to carry a grudge.
Better yet was Barry and Iris actually talking about the issues between them, rather than keeping an artificial distance. Iris has always been an active participant in the Flash mythos, ever since it was revealed she didn’t “die” in the 1970s story that ended the original Barry Allen Flash run. She went to the future, had a life, raised twins, and came back in time to raise her grandson, Impulse. During all that time, she also became an expert on the Speed Force and all things Flash. It’s fascinating to see her memories return and I suspect that will help her when Impulse arrives in this title. (But it’s gonna be a bit weird to have all those memories especially since she was much older when she did some of this stuff, not in her 20s.)
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.