FLASH #76 & #77

There once was a villain called Mick, who’d get a kick out of being a prick. But then, one day, he changed, his way, because his prick got hit by a brick. Want to know more? Then please ignore the following adventure created by Joshua Williamson, Rafa Sandoval, and published by DC Comics in September, 2019.

TO QUOTE Nick Wechsler:Any story about revenge is ultimately a story about forgiveness, redemption, or the futility of revenge’.

Not so long ago, Barry Allen got on the wrong side of Wallace and Avery because he left them both stranded in a very difficult situation. So now, after all this time, he’s decided to atone for his sins by showing them that he’s a thoroughly changed man.

Initially, he does this by advising them on how they should take down two members of his rogues gallery, Tar Pit and Girder, before he then introduces them to the latest attraction, hidden deep inside the freshly furnished, ‘Flash Museum’. Namely, the ‘Speed Lab’, which is a brand new, hi-tech, base of operations that the speedsters can use for their crime-fighting activities!

But suddenly, before he can show them around, they’re swiftly attacked by the Black Flash, who seems very, very, very determined to kill everybody associated with the force, including the three Flashes, along with Steadfast, Fuerza, and Psych. Want to know more? Then please dodge Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and The Weather Wizard, and pick up issue 76 & 77 of The Flash today.  In the meantime though, here, check this out… 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading these two episodes of The Flash because the art was amazing, the story was simple to follow, and more or less, it was a great introduction to this latest multi-part saga, ‘The Death of the Speed Force’. Essentially, both of these books laid down the groundwork and established who are the villains, who are the heroes, and who feels what about whom and for why!  But more importantly than that, dear reader, they also throw up a number of very interesting questions that I feel compelled to answer. So, without any further ado, let me snap into review mode, question and answer style.

1) Is the ‘Speed Lab’ a good addition to the Flash Family?  Well, if truth be told, I’m not entirely sure if I like it or not. On the one hand, I don’t like the idea that Barry is mimicking Bruce’s methods, considering that he’s always been a mobile operator. Whereas, on the other hand, I’d like to see how things will eventually play out, but only if the creators behind this book are going to do something new with the concept. After all,  DC have failed numerous times over the years at establishing superhero HQs: Like Green Arrow’sArrow Cave’, for instance, which was a joke, as well as Hawkman’sSpaceship in the sky’, which didn’t seem to resonate with the fans. Heck, even when some did manage to last the test of time, such as Superman’sFortress of Solitude’ or the Justice League’s many bases of operation, ranging from the ‘Watchtower’, to the ‘Hall of Justice’, to the ‘Happy Harbour Cave’, each version of each HQ had to evolve and change with the times, both in design and physical location! So, with that in mind, we have to now ask ourselves, which iteration is the ‘Speed Lab’ going to fall under? A joke? An evolving concept? Or something to rival the Batcave? Either way, I’m sure time will tell! 

2) Were Wallace and Avery right to forgive Barry? Yes. Yes they were. But only because Barry was willing to prove himself by walking the walk and talking the talk! Well, let’s face it; nobody’s perfect, that's for sure, and nobody should hold a grudge for the sake of argument. Besides, Wallace and Avery aren’t infallible either, as they’ve both made plenty of mistakes in the past and I’m sure they’re going to make even more in the foreseeable future. So, with all due respect, if they didn’t forgive him, they'd be hypocrites. Or at the very least, spoiled children who have no idea how lucky they really are, because if it wasn’t for Barry, neither of them wouldn’t have won their battle with Tar Pit and Girder or learn that there’s something wrong with the speed force! 

3) What is wrong with the speed force? Mice. There’s a ravenous gang of mice scurrying around the speed force and eating everything they come into contact with.  So far, they’ve eaten two packets of tacos, half a chocolate bar, ten gallons of cheese, a wafer-thin mint, and now they’re getting ready to devour Barry Allen’s pants, ha! Only joking, folks, because in all seriousness, there is something wrong with the speed force. Something to do with the other forces weakening its integrity and causing every speedster to gradually slow down, bit, by bit, by bit. Allegedly, when these additional forces were first unleashed, blah-blah-blah, they somehow damaged the nature of the speed force, yadda-yadda-yadda, and now it’s up to Barry and co to... to... to... well, do something to rectify matters! Otherwise, the Black Flash is going to sterilize the force by killing everyone who’s been imbued with these newly birthed abilities! Namely, Steadfast (an avatar of the still force), Fuerza (an avatar of the strength force), and Psych (an avatar of the sage force). Or as I like to call them, the nice one, the arrogant one, as well as the sly one! Which reminds me...

4) Were the bad guys, bad enough?  Well, I suppose that all depends on how you’d define the term bad. To me, bad means evil, cruel, and vindictive, and can only really be measured in terms of somebody’s actions. So, from a scale of one to ten, I’d say foes such as King Shark, Tar Pit, and Girder, were a four at best, because they caused some damage but were ultimately ineffective. Whereas Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and The Weather Wizard, were a moderate six, because they showed up, did their thing, and set up whatever they’re going to do next. And finally, at the top of my list, I’d award Black Flash and Psych a cool eight, because their actions were very sinister and very, very mean, wink-wink!

5) Was Rafa Sandoval's art any good? Yes, yes, and three times yes to the power of Grayskull.  In fact, Rafa’s artwork was so good; I’m not entirely sure what I should praise first!  I mean, should I begin my adulation by applauding his bold, brazen, and bombastic illustrations of Barry and his buddies? Or should I take that as a given, and just concentrate my praise towards his nicely choreographed action scenes that were evenly paced and very dynamic to behold? For example, he drew those scenes featuring the Black Flash, almost as if he were a cross between the angel of death, a super-fast zombie, and the New God, The Black Racer. Similarly, his depiction of Fuerza was also nicely illustrated as well. Although, in her case, he managed to capture her feminine and masculine sides, particularly during that strangely disrespectful scene where she cracked the King Shark’s jaw! That said, however, I wasn’t too keen on some of the redesigned outfits. Most notably, Captain Cold's outfit, who now looks like a bad-ass version of Santa Claus; as well as The Weather Wizard's outfit, who comes across as a morose-hippy that needs to eat some meat. Apart from that, though, more or less, everything he drew was fairly spot-on. 

For this month’s musical match-up, I’m going to align this adventure with the Lionel Richie song, ‘Running with the Night’, simply because the Black Flash is good at running and is as dark as the night.

In issue 76 of the Flash, Wallace West said that the Speed Lab ‘feels a lot like an absentee Dad showing up with a new toy thinking all will be forgiven’. Which, to me, kind of sums up both of these two episodes and justifies this month’s comic book comparison! 

Say no more. 

At the end of issue 77, Psych does something to his allies that I found very surprising but very appropriate for his character. So, out of the following eight options, let’s see if you can guess what he actually does? I mean, could it involve him…

  • Slapping them.
  • Selling them.
  • Stabbing them.
  • Ignoring them.
  • Kissing them.
  • Hugging them.
  • Lying to them.
  • Double-crossing them!

Nuff said.

FLASH #76 & #77 FLASH #76 & #77 Reviewed by David Andrews on September 17, 2019 Rating: 5

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