FLASH #52 & #53

Knock, knock! Who's There? Accordion! Accordion who? Accordion to the Weather Channel, it's going to snow tomorrow! Or at the very least, turn cold, just like one of the characters featured in the following adventure. It was created by Joshua Williamson, Christian Duce, and published by DC Comics in August, 2018.

TO QUOTE Ashlan Gorse Cousteau: 'Some people are cool, some are cold. Many are down to earth, while a select few are divas'. 

Now if you were in Barry Allen’s shoes, which of the following two dilemmas would you attempt to tackle first? Would you try to investigate what’s going on with those three new powers associated with the speed-force? After all, you can now contact each of your multiverse equivalents, and maybe, just maybe, they can point you in the right direction! Or alternatively, would you rather go in search for Axel Walker, also known as the villain, The Trickster, who has mysteriously disappeared after a failed attempt was made to kidnap him. 

Huh? What’s that? There’s no point in deciding which of these two problems to tackle first? Simply because they will both eventually collide when Axel gets sucked down into a giant hole and transformed into a strength-force beast? 

Oh! OK. Fair enough! That makes sense, especially when you take into consideration that the strength-force is somehow connected with the speed-force, but stronger, bolder, and much more difficult to control. So much so, in fact, that Commander Cold pitches in when Axel goes on a mad rampage throughout the city! 

But will this be enough? Will Cold be able to assist considering he’s an emotionless time-cop from the 25th century with a past that’s as dark as his future? To find out, please pick up issues 52 & 53 of The Flash today. In the meantime though, here, check this out…

Part One) SPEED-FORCE SELFIE:   Now please allow me to start off my review by addressing the pink elephant in the room. That being, those three new powers added to the speed-force — sage, strength, and slow — which, for whatever reason, Joshua Williamson introduced at the end of issue 50. Well, personally speaking, I’m not a big fan of these new additions because I partly feel as if they will enlarge the speed-force universe and dilute The Flashes legacy.

I mean, do we really need to see something like this? More speedsters featured in a biweekly comic book! And if so, why so? In the past, the speed-force has generally been slightly more selective when it comes down to choosing their range of candidates, almost as if it was being guided by a divine and unseen hand. In fact, their roster has been so selective, that sometimes they’ve been marginalized to include a particular lineage or legacy, namely, Wally’s legacy or Barry’s legacy.

Not always, mind you, because on the odd occasion the speed-force has decided to pick a more notable character to ride the lightning, such as Jay Garrick, Max Mercury, and Johnny Quick, to name but a few, despite it normally being a family affair associated with a particular breed of hero.

Well, let’s face it, do we really want to see The Flash Family turning into another version of the Green Lantern Corps? After all, when Geoff Johns first introduced the Emotional Colour Spectrum in 2005, during the 'Green Lantern: Rebirth' saga, I don’t think any of us could have possibly foreseen how this would eventually expand, and expand, and expand, their cast of characters as well as their main focus.  In fact, this has happened to such an extent, that it inadvertently diluted their concept, impacted their uniqueness, and in a strange way has made them seem less-special somehow, less-super even.

Along similar lines, I would also like to draw your attention to another saga which likewise diluted a superhero concept and ideal.  It was called ‘Genesis’, it was published in 1997, and it was another one of DC's earth-shattering multi-part crossover events. In this one though, the final showdown resulted in a unification of sorts, a unification that joined together every single power source featured in the DCU via the source wall. So, in simple terms, that meant that the speed-force, the Central Power Battery, the New Gods, the Amazons, and every other superhero featured in the entire universe, such as Superman, Captain Atom, etc, were all connected together because of this flimsy link that, thank God, most people have probably forgotten by now.

So can you see what I’m trying to say, dear reader? Can you now understand why I’m against these new powers being associated with the speed-force?  It’s because they will dilute the majesty and the uniqueness of The Flash Legacy, plain and simple, and sometimes too much can be just that... too much. 

Part Two) COMMANDER SNIFFLES:   Are you a fan of Commander Cold? I’m not! Not totally, anyway, because even though he comes across as a fairly kooky character (whose bark is a lot worse than his bite), at the same time, I do appreciate the type of situation he’s currently been placed in.

Well, who doesn’t like following a scenario where a shady character is plucked out of their regular environment and forced to find their way back home? I do, that’s for sure, as they’re normally highly dramatic and suspenseful scenarios, which time and again can be charismatic, captivating, and somewhat associative by design! I mean, can you imagine being lost in time and having to return to where you originally come from? It must be a really frustrating situation, to say the least, as it will most probably make you want to reflect on who you are and what you truly stand for in life! 

Like many of you, I’m sure, I was first introduced to this breed of adventure by watching such films as Timecop, Terminator 1, Back to the Future, and Time After Time, among others, plus they have also been depicted in numerous comic books as well, such as in the first Booster Gold series (created by Dan Jurgens), as well as the only Chronos series (co-created by Paul and John Francis Moore). 

In this case though, well, the situation seems far more enticing (ish), and Commander Cold does appear to be in a somewhat reflective and agitated mood (ish again), but only when there’s enough room for him to do so during the plot. Know what I mean? On occasion it almost appears as if the other two subplots — those focused on The Trickster and the strength-force — are pushing his subplot to one side, literally relegating it to becoming a third banana. The problem with them doing this, however, is that in my eyes his subplot is far more enjoyable to follow, largely due to those segments which touch upon his broken personality (Dirty Harry anyone?), his futuristic references (I liked the Elongated Man reference), as well as the mystery surrounding his own origin's (Was that The Mad Monk?).

Now don’t get me wrong. I'm also enjoying the whole Trickster subplot and would genuinely like to know what’s going to happen to him next, in regards to his strength-force powers along with him snitching on Warden Wolfe. But that said, there’s still a part of me which is more intrigued by the Commander Cold subplot because Axel is an annoying character, a right pain in the ass, and I do have some difficulty sympathizing with him. Cold, on the other hand, seems more aloof, detached, plus I’m particularly looking forward to finding out what his real name is. Have you got any ideas? If so, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below. At a guess, I suspect that he may be related to someone we already know.

Part Three) DON’T DIS THE DUCE:   Now the first time I became aware of Christian Duce’s artwork was after seeing his efforts featured on this very comic book. I’m not quite sure when that was exactly, but at a rough guess, I think it was around issues 44 or 45 (or thereabouts), and even back then, his work was mightily impressive and still is. 

Well, just take a look at some of the pictures provided and you can clearly see Christian’s talents when it comes down to putting pen to paper. Not only can he draw smartly defined characters full of movement, expression, and vibrancy, but in addition to this, the majority of his action sequences are easy to follow and very dynamic to look at.

In the same token I would also like to applaud his skillful partnership with Luis Guerrero, the colorist, who’s been able to complement Christian's illustrations with a bold, vibrant, and somewhat dramatic color palette, which consistently fits the mood he attempts to convey. For instance, most of his fighting scenes are dramatically enhanced with splashes of red, yellow, and blue (the latter of which has presumably been added to coincide with Commander Cold’s costume), whereas most of his dialogue scenes are generally lightly lit with pastel shades to undercut whatever’s being said.

Now another great example of his work can be seen at the start of issue 52 (see picture provided), where he drew a highly detailed double-page spread which showcased the numerous versions of The Flash throughout the multiverse. To name but a few, this image included the Kingdom Come Flash, the Bizarro Flash, the Stan Lee version of The Flash, some sort of Red Tornado and Flash hybrid, a cute baby version of The Flash, The Flash from the Justice Riders Elseworld story-line, a Turtle looking Flash I’ve forgotten the name of, and of course, many many more.

Well, as you can see, Christian is a good artist, a seriously good artist, so it should come as no surprise that over the last few years he’s worked on such titles as Justice League Vs Suicide Squad, Infinite Crisis: Fight For The Multiverse, a few Wonder Woman specials, Detective Comics, Nightwing, Catwoman, Arkham Unhinged, and Batman & Robin: Eternal

Anyway, that’s enough of that for now. So in conclusion, I would just like to say that overall these two episodes of The Flash were a genuinely good read. The story had its moments, the art was on point, and more or less I’m looking forward to next months adventure. 

In honor of Commander Colds' origins, I would now like to musically match-up these two episodes with the Foreigner song: ‘Cold as Ice’. Well, if the cap fits!

When I first saw The Trickster bulked up in all of his strength-force glory, he immediately reminded me of one person, and one person only. 

Yes. That’s correct. Him. The Hulk. Comparison made. 

At the end of issue 53, we see The Flash suddenly turning into something fairly familiar. So, out of the following eight options, let’s see if you can guess what he actually turns into? Could it be…

  1. Another Rogue.
  2. Another transvestite.
  3. Another moaning git.
  4. Another Democrat.
  5. Another comic book blogger.
  6. Another strength-force Beast.
  7. Another cold-hearted tosser. 
  8. Another reason for making whoopee.
Nuff said. 

FLASH #52 & #53 FLASH #52 & #53 Reviewed by David Andrews on August 28, 2018 Rating: 5

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