FLASH #51 & #52

Things are changing in a big way for the heroes of the DC Universe. We've seen defeats, victories, deaths, returns, and of course, Rebirths! And as per usual, with any of these universe-shattering scenarios, a Flash is on the front-lines, ready for action. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take one last glance at how the New 52 Saga for The Flash ends with a special Double-Take Review of The Flash 51 and 52! Jesus Merino, Van Jensen, and Robert Venditti close out their time on The Flash with a story ending with lots of promise and key changes in store! It’s June, it’s 2016, and it’s DC Comics The Flash!

TO QUOTE Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Before we start, can I just say that I’m digging this art by Jesus Merino! Everything he does looks so sleek and smooth. To me, it’s a prime representation of the world of The Flash through both issues 51 and 52, and I look forward to seeing his art on other books post-Rebirth.

Now, moving onto the story! Issue 51 picks up after the dramatic reveal of how The Riddler is the orchestrator behind all of the Flashes’ latest misfortunes, as well as being the secret benefactor of the Central City Police drones whilst in a alliance with the equally colorful Trickster!

Bad move on the part of The Riddler, right? I mean, surely if he can’t beat Batman, he has no chance against The Flash! Well, Mr. Nygma thought that through, and instead of directly confronting the Scarlet Speedster, explains that he wanted to beat The Flash using his mind (and The Flashes’ conscious) to win. Using the drones that have been targeting Barry since this arc began; everyone in Central City is in danger! Now, The Flash is fast, but even he can’t take certain risks.

Feeling he’s achieved his victory, The Riddler proceeds to lay into the Flash both verbally and physically, as the people of Central City can only watch in frustration as their hero receives a solid thrashing. Thankfully, The Pied Piper manages to help our hero escape from the whimsical clutches of The Riddler, who lets his prey escape, quite sure that he will be back to save his city.

Meanwhile, Captain Cold, Mirror Master, and Weather Wizard tend to the comatose body of Lisa Snart, aka The Golden Glider. The Tricksters’ betrayal hits the Rogues hard, but not nearly as hard as Captain Cold’s inability to bring his team together. Mirror Master takes it especially hard, noting Captain Colds’ previous departure from the team in favor of the Justice League, and the makeup of the team without Lisa just isn’t the same.

Golden Glider, your sister. was the heart and soul of The Rogues. Without Golden Glider, there are no Rogues” he says.

It’s lines like that which are going to make The Flash a tough book to carry over into Rebirth, if only because of the writing by Robert Vendetti and Van Jensen. These two have done a killer job, such as their work with Prof. Zoom in the previous arc. Not only that, but their ability to tie and continue to push plot points will be something I hope the next team takes into consideration with Rebirth.

Back at his hideout, though, The Riddler basks in his victory over The Flash and announces to the citizens of Central City who their new ruler is. Along with that, he calls for The Flash to surrender to him, lest Central City ends up looking like Swiss cheese. And then, with only moments to spare, unmasked, Barry Allen appears in front of the Riddler and Trickster admitting defeat!?

Well, that would be quite a way for the New 52 Flash to end, wouldn’t it? Thankfully, that’s where issue 52 comes in! As with most things, The Riddler prefers to make a spectacle of offing The Flash. Kicking it 'medieval style', he chooses the guillotine! He also makes a point to mock Captain Frye, as he prepares to kill Barry in front of him, threatening him and the reluctant-to-continue Trickster with a Heatwave-powered bomb should he attempt to stop him.

Not content to simply watch his hero die, Wally West decides to throw a wrench into The Riddlers’ plans. Using his speed to catch the attention of the speed-seeking drones, The Riddler believes The Flash to still be on the loose. Taking the time to get away, The Flash goes to recruit some unlikely allies: The Rogues!

After an uneasy make-up session that sees the return of Golden Glider (along with a bit of an upgrade), The Flash and The Rogues take the fight to The Riddler, who is doing what he normally does, causing chaos in the streets. The Flash, Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, and Pied Piper are on the front-lines, while The Trickster, Golden Glider, and Mirror Master are on rescue duty to save Heatwave.

As the drones attack, The Flash lets his allies know not to provoke Riddler, otherwise they risk him turning Heatwave into a bomb and destroying the city! Again, this is where the strong writing by Jensen and Venditti is on display. The Trickster can be a difficult character to like, but with his interactions with both The Rogues and The Riddler, a real character can be seen, one worth exploring and enjoying.

Elsewhere, things in the city turn grim, as Weather Wizard gets taken down, Ouch! The Riddler has had his fun, but just before our green-suited fiend can unleash the full power of his drone army…well, to quote a former Overwatch agent, “Cheers, love! The cavalry’s here!”.

The Rogues are back together and The Flash can go all-out, dismantling the remaining Riddler drones with ease. Though Heatwave, rightfully, would rather have Riddler flame-broiled, The Flash lets his frenemies know that Riddler isn’t going anywhere, but straight to jail.

The New 52 Flash ends with Captain Frye beginning to rebuild his relationship with The Flash, and The Flash doing what he does best: running.

My choice of music goes out to represent something that is very apparent about Central City. It’s a home to a lot of people, on both sides of the law, however, when that home is threatened, it’s never really surprising to see The Rogues, The Flash, and even everyday citizens coming together to stand up for Central City. That’s why a perfect song to end this arc is “We Can” by Ted Poley and Tony Harnell.

One thing I think could be a bit of a downer when it comes to the comic industry, is the reality that it’s easy to know things well-ahead of schedule as a reader. Solicits come out months in advance, publishers put out press releases for their next big shake-up, and in general, it’s easy to look ahead. I’ll admit, I’m guilty of this too. I like to read these solicits, and unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few months, you’ve heard about Rebirth a lot. While, I will say I enjoyed these stories, I think many people have been looking forward to Rebirth for a long while now, myself included. It can take a little bit out of you to not be there yet, but at the same time it’s an enjoyable ride. It’s like having really good previews before you go to see a movie that’s going to be very good. Hence the comparison to Really Good Movie Trailers! Issues 51 and 52 of The Flash have gotten me pumped. Now it’s time for the feature presentation: The Flash: Rebirth!

That’s it, ladies and gentlemen! The New 52 era Flash gives way to Rebirth, and with this conclusion, let’s take a moment to reflect back on the stories that have been a part of the DC Comics world for the past few years. Tell us, what has been your favorite arc since the New 52 started? Let us know what you loved about the New 52 Flash series!

  1. Mob Rule
  2. Gorilla City
  3. The Reverse Flash
  4. The Future Flash
  5. The Speed Force
  6. Prof. Zoom Saga
  7. The Manhunt
  8. Other(s)
*** This article was brought to you by Tyson V. Jones: Don't wake me up just yet, I'm not done working.

FLASH #51 & #52 FLASH #51 & #52 Reviewed by David Andrews on June 13, 2016 Rating: 5

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