Finally, I get to talk about the comic of my absolute favorite DC superhero: Barry Allen, AKA the Flash, the Fastest Man Alive.
I mean, I've gotten to talk about both Wallys, Barry in Green Arrow issues, and I even did an editorial praising a small detail that made a huge difference in Mark Waid's Flash comic from the 1990s. I haven't gotten to review a Flash comic yet, though.
One of the reasons I hadn't covered an issue of the Flash comic yet was that, much as I hate to say it, I didn't find the Rebirth title to be all that good or interesting for a portion of its run. The title had taken a downwards turn since Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato had left the title about 20 issues in to the New 52 run of the title. It never really recovered from their departure, and I didn't find the Rebirth title to be an improvement.
However, with the buzz around this issue, it seemed as good a time as any to give the Flash another go.
The plot to this issue is pretty straightforward. Eobard Thawne, AKA the Reverse-Flash or Professor Zoom depending on the day of the week, has infected the Flash with his Negative Speed Force energy, and Barry has gone mad in his attempts to bring down the villain. It's a global, time-traveling superspeed showdown between two of the Fastest Men Alive.
And that's just freaking awesome. It's the Flash and (arguably) his greatest villain going toe-to-toe around the world and through time and space trying to choke the life out of each other. Barry has gone berserk thanks to the Negative Speed Force energy, and Thawne can't help but antagonize him the entire time. All the while, Iris West watches on in horror.
Given Barry's proclivity towards soft-spokenness and humor, it's nice seeing Dark Barry tell Thawne exactly what he thinks of him, finally tearing into the psychopath.
I also appreciate that Josh Williamson has brought back the crazed fanboy Thawne as opposed to the future despotic warlord that he was in the New 52. This version of the character is so much more interesting and maliciously delightful than a simple warlord with a hatred for the hope that Flash inspires.
The art team does a stellar job of bringing this whole thing to life. They get really creative with the locales, taking full advantage of the nature of the power on display. The Dark Flash costume looks really cool, too. The faces are super expressive, the costumes look great, and it's just an all-around good-looking comic. The back half has different penciling that doesn't look quite as good as the front, but it still pretty damn solid. The color work is bright and eye-catching throughout.
To move into the spoilers that everyone is talking about, Iris kills Eobard Thawne in this issue. It seems thorough, with him being disintegrated by a futuristic laser cannon. However, this is far from the first time Eobard Thawne has been killed, and I fully expect him to come back. It was shocking that Iris was the one that executed him this time, turning the old story of Thawne killing Iris on its head. That was a pretty cool way to flip the script, even if I suspect it won't be a permanent death.
This was a really cool issue. The fighting is great, there is emotional weight to the battle, and it's a lot of fun. Give it a read.