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FLASH #78 & #79

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There once was a super-fast horse, who had some difficulty running the course. So what did he do? He didn’t have a clue. Until he set his sights on the force! Want to know more? Then please ignore the following adventure created by Joshua Williamson, Rafa Sandoval, and published by DC Comics in October, 2019.

TO QUOTE Monty Python:Run Away!!!!’.

THE STORY:
At the end of last month’s episode, we saw Psych deliberately betray Barry, Fuerza, and Steadfast, because he honestly thought that by forcing them to fight each other, The Black Flash would focus on killing them instead of killing him.

But no! He was wrong, he was very wrong, on account of Barry being able to break free from his mental manipulation before quickly getting away! Namely, to the Speed Lab, where he and Commander Cold come up with a plan so they know what they have to do next: Protect Fuerza and Steadfast! Track down Psych! And put an end to The Black Flash’s reign of terror once and for all! 

Well, that’s what they wanted to do; until Psych gets killed and Barry gets sidelined by two people he didn’t expect to see: Iris West and Hunter Zolomon.  Want to know more? Then please pick up issue 78 and 79 of The Flash today. In the meantime though, here, check this out…

THE REVIEW:
I’m afraid to say that I’m not entirely sure if I enjoyed reading this adventure or not! On the one hand, the artwork was amazing and the story was pretty simple to follow. While, on the other, each issue seemed to conform to a similar style and narrative structure, which in turn, made them both feel fairly repetitive to read. In fact, these two issues were so similar – tonally, at least – that the only real way for me to review them is by doing it, question and answer style!

1) So what was wrong with this story?  Basically, certain sections of the plot were pretty predictable to figure out because you could easily second-guess what was going to happen a few pages before it did! In issue 78, for instance, you could tell that the three heroes were going to get out of Psych’s trap due to Barry’s previous encounter with him! And in issue 79, you could tell that Fuerza was going to get out of Commander Cold’s trap due to her constant agitation! I also want to mention how most of the supporting characters appeared pretty predictable as well, as Fuerza was always arrogant and brash, Steadfast was always docile and aloof, and Psych was always snide and mean.  So much so, in fact, that it would’ve been nice if we saw a different side to their personalities in order to give them a bit more range.

2) Is there anything else you want to moan about? Yes, yes there is, but only because you asked so nicely, ha! Seriously, though, something else about this story I wasn’t too keen on was how the two secondary subplots didn’t seem to directly tie into the maiden Black Flash storyline! Well, even though I did enjoy following Captain Cold’s recruitment drive (very Blues Brothers) as well as Wally and Avery’s quest to take down The Rogues (very 1, 2, 3), in the same breath, both ‘interludes’ failed to add any real weight or substance to the main part of the narrative! After all, neither of them had enough page time to develop their respective storylines, neither of them had any real connection to finding ‘The Black Flash’ or saving ‘The Force’, and neither of them needed to be included to break things up and stretch things out! Come to think of it, they both felt so disposable and disjointed within the larger scheme of things, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when they merged together at the end of issue 79

3) Say that again? Coff-coff! I said that I wasn’t the least bit surprised when they merged together at the end of issue 79, but that’s only because these two subplots were loosely connected via a common theme, Rogues, and needed some more time in the spotlight! There. Are you happy now?

4) Uh-huh! But only a little bit! So was there anything about this story that wasn’t predictable? Yes, I would say so! Three things to be more precise, and they revolved around the death of Psych (which was shocking), the reappearance of Iris West (which I want to see more of), and the return of Hunter Zolomon (say no more). Thematically, these three revelations were the best thing to come out of this storyline so far, because they all asked questions we’re all dying to hear answered! Questions like: What has Hunter been doing up till now (Shopping) and what does he want with Barry? (To carry his bags) How will Barry and Iris’s relationship change (Sex) now that Wally has been incarcerated? (Allegedly) What’s going to happen to The Speed Force (Burp) now that Barry is preventing The Black Flash from saving it? (D’oh) Seriously, folks, what’s going to happen? Both to The Speed Force and all of these characters! Will they live? Will they die? Or will they all get spit in the eye? Either way, something has to happen sooner or later to resolve these dilemmas, or else, evil will rise and heroes will fall. Heroes who are starting to show the world that being an optimist is generally a good thing, wink-wink!

5) Was Rafa Sandoval’s artwork any good? I liked it. I liked it a lot. Not only because it was bold, expressive, and very nicely presented, but in addition to this, it also emotionally enhanced the narrative and shaped certain scenes. For instance, in issue 79, there was a scene set on an ice rink where The Rogues suddenly revealed themselves to the Golden Glider. But instead of showing up in a fairly conventional fashion (like walking into frame and saying ‘hi’), they revealed themselves in the reflection of the ice rink (with the use of Mirror Master’s special paraphernalia).  I also appreciated seeing all of those nice little touches Rafa would include to specific panels or frames, ranging from the sparks seen on Fuerza’s costume, to the dark eyes protruding out of Zolomon’s face, to the coy look Iris gave Barry when they bumped into each other at the Museum. So, all in all, good job Rafa, nice job Joshua, and keep up the momentum, DC Comics. 

THE MUSIC:
For this month’s musical match-up, I’m going to align this adventure with the Destiny's Child song, ‘Survivor’, simply because that’s what it’s all about!




THE COMPARISON: 
On page 2 of issue 79, Barry Allen described the new emerging forces as being a cancer that’s slowly eating away at The Speed Force.  Which to me, personally, nicely sums up these two episodes in a nutshell! Metaphorically speaking, of course, and with all due respect!

Comparison made.

THE CONCLUSION:
At the end of issue 79, Captain Cold opens up a glowing suitcase and says a single word to the four Rogues who are standing by his side. So, out of the following eight options, let’s see if you can guess what that word actually is? I mean, could it be…

  1. Yes.
  2. No.
  3. Sh*t.
  4. Finally.
  5. Food.
  6. Flange.
  7. Life.
  8. Death. 

Nuff said.

FLASH #78 & #79 FLASH #78 & #79 Reviewed by David Andrews on October 09, 2019 Rating: 5

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