FLASH #80 & #81

There once was a man called Hunter, who spent most of his life in a bunker. But then, one night, to his, delight, he jumped out and got hit by thunder! Want to know more? Then please ignore the following adventure created by Joshua Williamson, Scott Kolins, and published by DC Comics in November, 2019.

TO QUOTE Douglas Horton: Desperation is like stealing from the Mafia: you stand a good chance of attracting the wrong attention’.

In order to preserve the integrity of the Speed Force and save his new friend, Steadfast, Barry Allen has to now track down Hunter Zolomon, or else Hunter will kill his friend and steal all of his powers. 

But where could he be? Where could Hunter be at a time like this? A time where The Black Flash is killing everyone associated with the new forces, ranging from still, to strength, to sage! I mean, he isn’t in the city and he isn’t anywhere near Wally and Avery while they search for The Rogues

So, to find out where he is and who he’s doing/beating/killing (delete as applicable), please pick up issue 80 and 81 of The Flash today. In the meantime, though, here, have a look at this...

All in all, I quite liked reading these two episodes of The Flash because Scott Kolins’s artwork was bold and sometimes groovy, while Joshua Williamson’s storyline was cajoled and sometimes loony. So, without any further ado, please allow me to tell you what I mean by this via the following questions…

1) So how would you sum up this storyline? Conceptually, I’d say it was very much like eating a three-course meal, on account of the story being garnished with a large variety of different tastes and textures. After all, one part of the plot slowly set-up the confrontation between The Rogues and The Kids (soup of the day), another part of the plot focused on The Black Flash’s purge of the Speed Force (burger and chips), and yet another part of the plot revolved around Barry’s search for Hunter Zolomon and their subsequent battle (cake and custard). In fact, there were so many disjointed subplots scattered throughout this multipart storyline, on occasion, the narrative lost its focus (burger and custard) and the characters lost their way (Burp!). Well, let’s face it, what would you rather see? A diluted set-up between two kids and a bunch of baddies? A meaty mouthful of murder, madness, and mayhem? Or how about a bittersweet confrontation focused on a friend and a foe? Personally, I prefer a good hearty meal myself, which in this case, means that I enjoyed reading The Black Flash storyline more than the rest, but only because Hunter sacrificed himself for the sake of The Flash‘s legacy!

2) What? Say that again! I said, coff-coff,  I preferred that part of the plot where Hunter sacrificed himself for the sake of The Flash’s legacy.  You see, near the end of issue 81, Barry told Hunter that Eobard Thawne, a.k.a. The Reverse-Flash, was behind his parent's death because he gave a gun to the maniac who killed them with it. So, when this was explained to him, not only did Hunter join forces with Barry in order to take down The Black Flash, but in addition to this, he also sacrificed his life so he could make things right again. Allegedly. I think. Or maybe he just went boom for a few months until he shows up sometime down the road. In any event, Hunter is currently no more, and from the looks of it, neither is the force. But then again, I could be wrong and most probably am; which is why this story was such a riveting read.  The questions. All of those thought-provoking questions which will hopefully get answered over the course of the next few months. Such as, how did Hunter’s run ‘fix’ the force? Where did The Black Flash go after their confrontation? And most importantly of them all, where’s Barry?

3) Was there anything else about this story that you liked? Yes, quite a few things, in fact, starting off with Iris’s partnership with Barry, because it gave them an opportunity to express who they really are, both as people and as professionals. Iris, for instance, comes across as the more logical one out of the two as she thinks first and acts later. While Barry, on the other hand, seems slightly more optimistic in comparison due to his moderately upbeat nature. Having said that, though, there were a couple of times throughout issue 80 where they channeled the essence of Lois and Clark, but only those times where she became the brains of the outfit while he became the brawn. Either way, this wasn’t a major flaw, and I for one hope it will continue from here on in. In addition to this, I also enjoyed the bipolar depiction of Hunter Zolomon, as it transformed him from being an evil sod (prior to his death), to becoming a redemptive figure (after it).

4) Was there anything about these two comic books that you didn’t like? No, not really, but there were a couple of things that I wasn't too keen on! Such as Hunter's origin now mimicking Barry’s origin (Thawne, Scientist, Dead Parents, etc), as well as all of those times he kept on referring to certain events that happened prior to the New 52 (like his time with Wally, for instance). Also, what was the point of getting rid of the 'Speed Force', only to replace it with the ‘Forever Force’? Aside from trying to rebrand Barry's power source with a more inclusive name! Plus, along similar lines, why did Barry supposedly 'die' at the end of issue 80, only to end up wounded at the start of issue 81? Tut-tut-tut! That was cheap storytelling. Really cheap storytelling. But hey-ho, what can we do? It is what it is and we have no other choice but to go with the flow and hope for the best. Fingers crossed.

For this month’s musical match-up, I’m going to align this adventure with the Pet Shop Boys song, ‘It’s a Sin’, simply because a large portion of the plot revolves around people being greedy and stealing things (which are both obviously sins).

Well, because of my earlier food analogy, I might as well continue the motion by using it for this month’s comic book comparison. So, without any further ado, I now declare these two issues a three-course meal.

Bon appetit.

At the end of issue 81, Steadfast looks up into the sky and says... what? What do you think he says? I mean, could it be something like...

  1. I think it’s going to rain.
  2. When did Batman move his Bat-Signal to Central City?
  3. This is the end. The end of everything.
  4. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a hot air balloon.
  5. I wonder how they clean the windows on skyscrapers?
  6. Look, a spaceship made from Lego!
  7. Pastrami.
  8. I never realized that the sky was made from air.

Nuff said.

FLASH #80 & #81 FLASH #80 & #81 Reviewed by David Andrews on November 14, 2019 Rating: 5

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