Review – The Flash #64: Gotham Girl Unleashed

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The Flash #64 variant cover, via DC Comics.

The Flash #64 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Rafa Sandoval, Penciller; Jordi Tarragona, Inker; Tomeu Morey, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 8/10

Corrina: Descent Into Madness?

Ray: The first part of “The Price of Justice” teamed up Batman and The Flash to investigate an attack on the Flash Museum while also dealing with the fallout of the murders at Sanctuary. But the end of the issue revealed the culprit behind the former was none other than a deeply unstable Gotham Girl – the young superhero who Batman tried to save after her brainwashing and the death of her brother Gotham. Completely insane and obsessed with bringing her brother back from the dead, she has the potential to turn into one of Batman’s most tragic failures – if he and Flash survive her attack. The opening of the issue teases a mystery villain pulling her strings – he looks a lot like Bane, but that seems too obvious. The narration of Flash #64 flips back and forth between Batman and Flash a lot, as they pull together the clues that lead them to the island where Gotham Girl has been holed up. The tension between the two heroes over the recent tragedies is strong, briefly letting up and then snapping back into harsh focus.

The reveal of Gotham Girl’s sanctuary is one of the issue’s best moments, a chilling look into total obsession that triggers Barry’s memories of Wally’s earliest days as a superhero. That leads to the mission falling apart, as Barry demands to know if Gotham Girl was at Sanctuary – clearly believing her to be the main suspect in Wally’s murder. I don’t buy this lead for a second – if she was the culprit in that story, she would have been introduced there, not in this side story. But the tension between Flash and Batman has been simmering for a while, and it explodes here. I wasn’t quite as fond of the issue once Gotham Girl shows up again – the issue quickly becomes a semi-generic battle as she unleashes an army of resurrected zombie-clones based around her and Gotham’s style. It’s tense, dramatic, and certainly drawn well, but the more character-driven tension earlier in the issue is much more dramatic. Still, Williamson is getting the best potential out of the Heroes in Crisis event so far.

Flash #64
Shockingly, Gotham Girl’s mental state is not great. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: I remain frustrated at this use of Gotham Girl. She remains basically a pawn since her initial arc and we’ve gotten little of what drives her save, now, her brother’s death.

After all, the need to save her triggered Bruce’s war against Bane in order to get at the Psycho Pirate, so Pirate could cure her. Perhaps the Pirate is the person pulling Gotham Girl’s strings and maybe the end of the story might be a cure for her? But I suspect not. Nothing has ended that well for any DC heroes lately, a trend that shifted too far into death and sadness for a superhero universe. Look at the way Barry and Bruce’s friendship seems to be falling apart. (Back in the 1980s, the worst future DC imagined for its heroes was the out-of-continuity The Dark Knight Returns. Yeah, I think that story actually looks hopeful now.)

Williamson has done a fine job with the Flash, though I’ll point out this is the second-super-powered woman he’s written that goes “crazy.” (Meena being the first.) So I remain uneasy on the storyline from that point as well.

Which is not to say it’s badly written. It’s well-written and well-executed and the art team’s depiction of Gotham Girl’s lair is chilling. It’s just not a story I can say I find enjoyable.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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