Brett Booth, Van Jensen, and Robert Venditti serve up a healthy portion of action this October, 2015, as The Flash looks set to go head-to-head with Professor Zoom! But can The Fastest Man Alive survive the Thunderdome!? The only way to find that out is with DC Comic's The Flash!

TO QUOTE Sterling Archer: “Lying is like... 95% of what I do.”

There's something inherently kickass about the name “Thunderdome!”. To me, it brings back semi-fond, forgotten memories of watching old WWF/E and WCW matches as a child. For the fantastical and colorful world of The Flash, though, it makes perfect sense to throw the Scarlet Speedster into a zone of danger like the Thunderdome, just to see how he manages to not only survive this, but also protect the people in the precinct. That said, it would probably be slightly easier if he wasn’t being looked at like a guilty suspect.

Fun fact, apparently “Whatever the Hell it is you're doing here” is enough reason to be arrested in Central City, according to Captain Frye. Thankfully, cooler heads are able to prevail, and we get to the fun and nerdy stuff that make The Flash stand out among other DC Comic books.

The question: what is hot enough to ignite oxygen molecules that have no kinetic energy? Haven't guessed yet? Well, stick around for the answer!

Jansen and Venditti's smart writing pays dividends in this installment. While my previous concerns about the story not focusing much on Barry haven't totally been assuaged, it's at least been addressed as Barry does play the central role. In a somewhat not-so unexpected twist the West family also get some time to shine: with Iris getting to draw blood from a reporter who'll probably be filing a Human Resources complaint, and with Wally even stepping in for a big save. (I think he also left a man to die, but he's no hero... yet.)

Wally's newfound interest in cars and his need for speed come in handy, as he realizes (here comes the answer to my earlier question) that the magnesium engine block from the last issue, burns hot enough to ignite the Thunderdome air molecules! This brings us to an interesting development, namely, the character development of Wally West, which has been a contention of fans since his initial appearance post-Flashpoint, looks to be slowly coming full circle.

Originally slammed as a stereotypical black person having absconded with Wally's name for the sake of diversity, while bringing none of the original charm and appeal of his pre-Flashpoint counterpart, Wally has undoubtedly grown much closer to The Flash and character of yesteryear, as his appearance in The Flash Future's End one-shot showed. The actions taken by Wally in this issue are very much in line with what could have been expected of a young Wally West before Flashpoint. With nothing concrete, it should be noted that the possibility of 'a Wally' joining in on more fights in the future isn't totally out of the question. And who's to say we couldn't see a new version of Kid Flash or Impulse make their debut in the next year or so? Teen Titans aside, this is just some food for thought.

Back to the story though, thanks to the quick thinking of Wally, and even quicker footwork of Barry, our heroes manage to escape the Thunderdome, but not the precinct. Yet, not to leave the police on a totally terrible note, we're treated to a heartwarming scene between Hartley and Director Singh.

Of course, every party needs a party-pooper. Enter Captain Frye, who chastises The Flash for being the Maverick that he is. As one would expect Prof. Zoom to plan, Captain Frye blames The Flash for the weapon that was draining his powers exploding, thus destroying the precinct. Flash, doesn't want to hear that though, commenting that he got everyone out and for Frye to stay out of his way.

With the heroes story done for the day, we now turn our attentions to the villains, and find Prof. Zoom checking in on Henry Allen. Having commissioned an invention from the good doctor, he’s pleased to see Henry finishing a glove with claws, commenting on energy stealing properties before attempting to attack Prof. Zoom with his new invention. Unfortunately, it doesn't go well for Henry. Instead, for his trouble he gets a front row seat to a classic “I'm the real hero” monologue from Prof. Zoom, which is interrupted by Magali. Ops! Oh dear! For her trouble and ability to put two and two together, Magali gets... ZAP... her powers stolen!

Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund's art is glorious throughout the book, but the final few pages really shine. From Captain Frye's and The Flash's verbal spat, to Zoom's proclamation of future godhood, the colors just look amazing throughout. With Prof. Zoom and Flash getting closer towards their collision, the stakes have just been raised!

If you've ever watched either Archer or Top Gun, I'm sure you'll recognize a few hints to the music for this review. Things are getting heated, tensions are rising, and people are in danger. Central City is a zone of danger. How would you phrase that now? Oh yeah! We're in the Danger Zone… by Kenny Loggins!

I don't want to get all nostalgic here, especially because I'm a 90s baby, but there's something about this issue I connected with. Maybe it's the title of the story and some of the dialogue, but it feels very... 80s. It's got an appeal that you don't quite get, that you may question later on, but yeah, this issue, from the perspective of a 90s baby, is like the 80s!

Lots of lies, betrayal, and probably some psychotic behavior happening here as well. However, there is a secret here that gets revealed near the end of the book that could have some serious consequences moving forward. So from the options below, what do you think or know this secret to be? Is it:
  1. The Blood
  2. The Game
  3. The Heart
  4. The Lightning
  5. The Eyes
  6. The Earth
  7. The Force
  8. The Rock
*** This article was brought to you by Tyson V. Jones: Don't wake me up just yet, I'm not done working.

FLASH #45 FLASH #45 Reviewed by David Andrews on November 17, 2015 Rating: 5
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