The Flash #74 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Howard Porter, Artist; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Is Flash Doomed?
Ray: Josh Williamson’s Flash origin arc may be his finest hour on what’s looking like a 100-issue run, and Flash #74, a big-scale issue, delivers the biggest thrills of the arc. Flash’s rogues’ gallery is probably the most underrated in comics, and Williamson has had a lot of fun with Grodd, the various Reverse Flashes, and the Rogues.
Surprisingly, though, it might be Z-list Flash rogue The Turtle who gets the biggest moment in the sun. As the vicious future dictator of a post-apocalyptic Central City, he tormented a future Flash and was the first villain the young Flash encountered. Then Barry’s battle with the present-day version ended with a bullet in his chest. The two worlds collided at the end of the last issue when the future Turtle jumped out of a portal with a captured future Flash, bringing his plan to enslave Central City to the present day. It was a great visual, and the issue does not disappoint at all.
While Turtle is the main threat this issue, the main conflict Barry face is with his future self, as the older Barry – dying from having his speed drained – warns Barry that the only way to survive this day is to give up Central City to protect the Multiverse. The two wind up holed up in the lab where they got their powers, sharing notes from their careers and having a powerful talk about what their mother taught them. Ultimately, Barry isn’t his older self and hasn’t been beaten down and broken yet. He decides to take the risk and use his powers, hoping to avert the horrible future he was shown even if it risks everything. This is the best Barry in the run, but Iris is really one of the unsung heroes of this issue as she gives Barry his courage earlier in the issue and heads deep into Turtle’s base to get the story at great risk to herself. I know many fans still wish Barry never came back, but Williamson is making the best case yet for his place as one of DC’s best heroes.
Corrina: Yes, this is the best Barry’s ever been since he came back. And this origin with his death in the future staring at him has echoes of his death in Crisis on Infinite Earths, where Barry received his happy ending with Iris but died sometime after that.
Throughout the whole conversation with future Barry, I wondered if Future Barry was simply telling Present Barry what he’d said when he heard it as Present Barry. (I think that makes sense. Timey-wimey weirdness here.) Meaning, Future Barry always knew what Present Barry was going to do and didn’t want to change anything that he remembered, for fear he wouldn’t do it.
Everything about the art works so well, from making the Turtle’s slowdown feels as if everyone in the issue is moving at a quarter speed, save Barry, and Iris’s segments push as much as possible into her limited panel space.
I’ve no idea where this is going, save that Barry won’t die (obviously). That’s the best kind of cliffhanger.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.