The Flash #58 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Rafa Sandoval, Penciller; Jordi Tarragona, Inker; Tomeu Morey, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: World Tour Continues
Ray: The Flash #58 begins its next great storyline, “Force Quest,” as Barry Allen and Iris West leave Central City to track the three new Forces across the world. This is a great way to dial back all the ongoing subplots and focus on the title’s most important relationship, which seemed to be in a constant state of up and down. It also takes Barry out of his element and forces him to fight crime in unconventional new areas. The first area they hit is Badhnisia, a small Asian nation filled with bustling markets and ancient religious sites. The opening segment of the issue is a lot of fun, as Barry struggles to chase a purse-snatcher and fix a crashing streetcar while dodging people on the much busier streets. It’s great to see Barry off-balance for a change, and Iris as the veteran world traveler leading the quest. And that quest takes them to an ancient church where an explorer found evidence of people with superpowers long ago. Barry and Iris are hoping to find clues to the locations of the new Forces – but what they find is very different.
Gemini, a duo of young thieves in love, have seemingly gained control of at least one of the new Forces – they hit like trucks, seem to have some symbiotic relationship, and their gloves have unique abilities that Flash isn’t quite able to figure out before they destroy the church and endanger civilians. He’s forced to let them get away to protect kids, and we don’t get any answers as to what actually gave this duo their power. One thing’s clear, though – we probably haven’t seen the last of them, and their battle leaves lasting scars on Badhnisia. But there’s no time to reflect, as Barry and Iris soon find themselves pulled by the Speed Force to Gorilla City – where they find a massacre, courtesy of someone else looking for the Forces. It’s yet another annoying case of DC giving away the cliffhanger on the cover of the comic, but I can’t say it hurt my enjoyment of the issue. This first issue of “Force Quest” is an enjoyable status quo change that gives some much-needed focus to Barry and Iris.
Corrina: It’s nice to see Barry and Iris acting as a team which has not happened in….forever? Before Iris was “killed,” there were some fine stories featuring the two of them but then Barry died, Iris was found alive, but without Barry, and, finally, Barry returned but with his relationship to Iris reset at the beginning.
Basically, a focus on Barry and Iris has been long overdue in Flash comics.
In this issue, they are a functioning team, with Iris knowing about the world around them, while Barry is out of his element. And, yet, the romantic couple who steals the show is not Barry/Iris but the Gemini, who have more banter and more obvious physical attraction between them. (I suspect they’re meant as a mirror to Barry/Iris.)
What I’d love to see is more of the intimate moments between Barry and Iris. Not sex, no, but emotionally intimate moments, the kind that showcases their relationship. A gesture, a word, or something that provides the “d’aww” to readers.
What I do like is that Barry is willing to listen, to Iris, and even to what Wally had told him about the speed force. It’s a different tactic than the one he used to defeat the last big villain when Barry was convinced he was the only one who could possibly do it, rather than ask for help and be honest with the Flash crew.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.