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FLASH #62 & #63

[ THE NEED FOR SALE
There once was a crook called Psych, who was never quite sure what to like. He was so perpetually confused, he ended up bemused; until his doctor told him to get on his bike. Want to know more? Then please ignore the following adventure created by Joshua Williamson, Christian Duce, Minkyu Jung, and published by DC Comics in February, 2019.

TO QUOTE E. W. Howe: 'A thief believes everybody steals'.

THE REVIEW:
When Barry Allen first met Psych -- real name, Bashir -- he wasn’t quite sure if he should believe everything that came out of his mouth. After all, is Psych a real secret agent from the corrupt country of Zandia, and if he is, should he help him take down the career criminal, Roulette? Or alternatively, should he get away from him, ASAP, and forget about learning anything new associated with the sage-force? A power Psych presently possesses.

Well, after a while, Barry decides to stop asking himself these questions and finally comes to a decision. A decision, much to Iris’s chagrin, which results in a gigantic battle, a quick double-cross, and a face-off against Gemini: The criminal-duo who want to live forever. So, as you can imagine, with these two added to the mix, things aren’t going to turn out too well for anybody involved; because somebody’s bound to die, somebody’s bound to lie, and somebody’s bound to sigh, spy, and cry. Want to know more? Then please check out issue 62 and 63 of The Flash today. In the meantime though, here, check this out…

Part One) SHOW AND TELL:   All in all, I’d say issue 62 and 63 of The Flash was a fairly jumbled affair. On the one hand, the artwork was bold and expressive and the story was simple to follow. While, on the other, the depiction of certain characters didn’t do anybody any real favors. Namely, the depiction of Barry Allen, the star of the show, who is normally portrayed as being a very astute person who basis his judgments on facts over feelings! In this case though, well, no, no he doesn’t! Saying so because he gets blindsided by a liar, a thief, and an obvious scoundrel, named Psych, due to a familial bond they both share with the force.

I mean, in all honesty, does this sound anything like Barry to you? Or for that matter, slightly realistic? Because to me, no, no it doesn’t, as Barry usually avoids getting conned by an obvious -- I repeat, obvious -- bad-guy, especially since Iris reinforces this opinion as soon as she cottons on! Besides, Barry isn’t a Homer Simpson and Iris isn’t a Marge, so I can’t see why either of them should be portrayed in this fashion without a substantial explanation given! Like mind control, for instance, or a dubious disposition brought about by superhuman means. 

Come to think of it, why didn’t Barry contact Steve Trevor -- who works for A.R.G.U.S., as Bashir alleged -- in order to find out the validity of his claim? Heck, all he had to do is to call him up on the phone (or send a quick message via Wonder Woman) to find out the truth. But no. No, he doesn't. He'd rather make a silly mistake by relying on a connection that doesn’t apparently work against an inferior opponent.

Oh, and while I’m on the subject of opponents, on the whole, I wasn’t a big fan of any of those featured throughout these two episodes: As Psych was too obvious, Roulette didn’t show enough depth, and Gemini, spit-spit, were as two-dimensional as the paper they were printed on. Sorry, folks, as I don’t normally like being overly critical towards Joshua’s work, but in this case, these bad guys were only bad in their depiction and not in their tone.

Part Two) A FLASH OF LIGHT:   Now, on a much nicer note, I must say that some of this story was fairly enjoyable to read. Particularly, Psych’s origin (no matter how brief it was), that sequence inside Roulettes’ club (as it was good to see the Royal Flush Gang again), the final fate of Gemini (Thank God), as well as the revelation surrounding -- SPOILER ALERT -- the four elements that make up the force (which I surprisingly enjoyed taking in).

Well, let’s face it, just knowing that the speed, still, strength, and sage force have all been at odds with each other for many, many, years, puts a nice spin on things in regards to establishing some sort of backstory. Not only because this revelation was able to explain why we haven’t heard of these last three forces before (Hint: The speed-force did it), but in addition to this, it also managed to nicely set up a future conflict between Barry and whoever appropriate (Psych, Fuerza, Gorilla City, etc). Otherwise, why bother, eh? Why bother to include a Flash version of the Green Lantern multi-colour spectrum? As it’s not like Barry desperately needs a selection of new villains or old allies. Not when you take into account that most of his Rogues Gallery have been clearly defined, ish, and most of his sidekicks... uhhhh... have generally been well reconfigured! Although, with that said, for the sake of originality, I hope that none of this turns out to be a substandard regurgitation of the Green Lantern saga,  "War of the Green Lanterns", because that was too long-winded, too transparent, and too episodic in its design.

Now, along somewhat similar lines, this point brings me quite nicely onto something else I enjoyed about this adventure. Namely, the artwork produced by Christian Duce and Minkyu Jung. Well, as I said before, most of the artwork was well defined, well expressive, and well dynamic on the page. So go ahead, take a look at some of the pictures provided, and see for yourself how their bold, detailed, visuals jump off of the page and give this story a lot more depth than the story itself.

In Christian’s case, his hyper-detailed approach to illustrating helps in establishing a hyper-unnatural situation, and in Mink’s case, his Manga style of art is easy to follow and even easier on the eye. I also enjoyed the more exotic looking color palette on display, as it was tinged with hues ranging from purple, blue, red, and orange, which in some way enhanced the overall adventure in terms of elegance, atmosphere, and style. Lovely stuff. 

So, what did you think, dear reader? Did you enjoy reading these issues? Did you hate them? Or like me, are you somewhere in between? Keeping in mind that the last couple of pages were dedicated to setting up Barry’s involvement with ‘Heroes in Crisis’! Either way, let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

THE MUSIC:
To some degree, both of these episodes were about trusting people and relying on your own instincts. Which, in my opinion, is a notion that can be best represented in musical terms by the Prince song, ‘Trust’, as featured in the first Tim Burton Batman movie. Here, check this out…




THE COMPARISON:
At the start of issue 63, we saw Gemini sucking the powers out of both Psych and Barry Allen. So, with that in mind, I remembered something else that’s good at sucking the energy out of things. 

Oi, don’t be naughty, as I’m referring to vampires or vacuum cleaners. Whatever the case, comparison made.

THE CONCLUSION:
As I said before, the last few pages of issue 63 were devoted to explaining how Barry Allen first found out about the final fate of Wally West. So, as you might expect, the pacing for this section felt fairly rushed in tone, fractured even, despite managing to tell us the circumstances surrounding Barry finishing his force-quest and starting his search for Wally’s killer. So, with that said, let’s see if you can guess who or what Barry thinks about prior to this taking place. Could it be... 

  • Iris, because he just realized if she added the letter ‘H’ to the end of her name, she’d be called Irish.
  • Brexit, because he skipped lunch.
  • Hunter Zolomon, because he may be behind the up-and-coming force war.
  • Paris Hilton, because she once had a very promising career in the porno industry.
  • Tom King, because he wrote ‘Heroes in Crisis’.
  • Gorilla City, because he likes monkeys.
  • Batman, because he’s Batman.
  • The Wall, because he wasn’t sure if it’s going to be a steel barrier or a brick structure.

Nuff said. 

FLASH #62 & #63 FLASH #62 & #63 Reviewed by David Lee Andrews on February 18, 2019 Rating: 5

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