FLASH #82 & #83

There once was a Captain called Cold, who was told that he should never steal gold. So what did he do? He didn’t have a clue. Until he decided to invade a stronghold! Want to know more? Then please ignore the following adventure created by Joshua Williamson, Rafa Sandoval, and published by DC Comics in December, 2019.

TO QUOTE Bill Hicks:I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out’.

The Rogues have recently taken over Central City with the use of Lex Luthor’s hyper-advanced technology, and from the looks of it, nobody can do anything to turn things around. Not The Flash (who’s been captured). Not Commander Cold (who’s been frozen). And not Wally, Avery, or Iris (who’ve been driven underground).

Don’t worry, though, because there's still someone who can lend a helping hand. Namely, Cold’s sister, The Golden Glider, who’s currently in the process of breaking Barry out of prison! Want to know more? Then please pick up issue 82 and 83 of The Flash today. In the meantime, though, here, have a look at this…

If truth be told, I’m not entirely sure if I enjoyed reading this adventure or not. On the one hand, the artwork was bold and dynamic and the overall narrative was pretty suspenseful to follow. While, on the other, I have a sneaking suspicion that Joshua Williamson is trying to transform The Flash into a certain Dark Knight. Yes. Him. To see what I mean, please allow me to elaborate further via the following Q and A...

1) So go on! Please explain your Batman and Flash comparison! Well, ever since Joshua has taken over this title, I’ve started to notice how he’s been able to incorporate a variety of different elements we’ve previously seen in the Bat-Books. This includes things like, a snarky-sidekick who’s a member of the Teen Titans (Damian / Wally), a regular base of operations (The BatcaveThe Speed Lab), a love life that isn’t always happy and harmonious (SelinaIris), and a diverse Rogues Gallery full of colorful characters and warped minds (The Joker / Captain Cold). But more importantly, dear reader, both heroes seem to now share a similar style of story. Like this current story, for instance, ‘Rogues' Reign’! Or as I like to call it, a rehashed version of ‘No Man’s Land’, ‘Contagion’, and ‘City of Bane’, all rolled into one, but minus the bat and add a flash of lightning. Shazam! Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that The Flash shouldn’t at least try to mimic some -- I repeat, some --  of The Dark Knight’s more positive attributes (particularly those attributes which made him so successful and popular for such a long time)! But in the same breath, this sort of mimicry has been happening quite a lot lately -- too much, some might say -- and I don’t want to see Barry end up exactly like Bruce, but rather, I’d prefer to see them both as two discernible superheroes in their own right, The Bat and The Flash, with their own paths to follow and their own amiable style. Nobody else’s! 

2) So did any of this spoil your enjoyment of this adventure? Well, yes and no, really. Yes, because I felt that I’ve read this specific style of storyline many times before, and no, because there were some quite surprising moments scattered throughout each episode. Moments like the incarceration of Barry, for instance (which was rather unexpected), the rebel status of Iris’s character (which strangely suits her personality), as well as The Golden Glider's involvement with Barry‘s rescue (which made her stand out from the crowd and gave her a bit more depth). I also liked the fact that Barry’s powers have now changed, changed for the worse, and that he’s still trying to figure out what is currently going on! Well, let’s face it, Barry has an analytical mind, and as such, most of his more prolific adventures feature him figuring out what’s what, who’s who, and why’s why. At the moment, though, he’s still at stage one of his analysis, the ‘What the f#ck is going on’ stage. Then once that's completed, afterwards, he can quickly move onto stage two, the ‘get Captain Cold’ stage, and finally stage three, the ‘smack the sod for being such a schmuck’ stage. Or in other words, getting down to business and putting the world to rights.

3) How do you suggest he does that? Well, according to The Golden Glider, what Barry, Wally, Avery, and her good self need to do next, is to search for the one thing that can revert Captain Cold’s grand master plan. Namely, huge shards of mirror which seem to be located all over Central City! Having said that, though, I’m not entirely sure how these shards can stop him or why Golden Glider thinks this to be true? I mean, I know they're somehow connected to ‘that special giftLex Luthor gave The Rogues to take over the city (along with Mirror Master’s mirrors), but apart from that? Well, who knows how they can help and in what capacity? Come to think of it, I’m not entirely sure why The Golden Glider wants to go up against her brother in the first place? Is it jealousy, perhaps? Sibling rivalry? Or is there something else going on between the two that hasn’t yet been fully divulged? Also, what was the point of The Trickster's cameo appearance when he didn’t do anything to enhance the plot? And along similar lines, what happened to Commander Cold after The Captain froze him? Either way, this story still has a lot of explaining to do in order to find its footing and stake its claim. Otherwise, it’s going to seem like a cheap knock off of an old Batman story with some really impressive art. 

4) Wait a minute! Did you just say that you liked the art? Yes, yes I did, because Rafa Sandoval is a very competent artist and he has a style that’s slightly modern, slightly cinematic, and slightly traditional by design. In fact, his artwork is so evenly balanced that sometimes it diluted a few of the cheesier elements that were added to the overall plot, such as the huge snow dogs, for example, or the giant robot, the clunky chains, and the bulky parkas. Not always, mind you, because here and there I did notice a couple of discrepancies in Rafa’s work, mainly when he drew characters posing in a rather stiff fashion. Apart from that, though, yeah, good job, and I’m sure next month will be a lot better.

For this month’s musical match-up, I'm going to align this adventure with the Geto Boys' song, ‘City Under Siege’, because of the obvious connection between the two... a city under siege.

Ok, so this may sound rather strange, but I’m going to compare this adventure to a fridge freezer because a large part of it was set inside a cold prison. Or in other words, a cold-place where things are kept and stored.

At the end of issue 83, Wally turns to Barry and says to him something very shocking. So, out of the following eight options, let’s see if you can guess what he says? I mean, could it be something like…

  • We can never eat spicy chicken again. It’s bad for our health.
  • We can never refer to ourselves in the third person again. It’s grammatically incorrect.
  • We can never dance again. It’s too George Michael.
  • We can never wear red and yellow again. It’s too racist.
  • We can never use the speed force again. It’s too dangerous.
  • We can never punch people in the face again. It’s too illegal.
  • We can never sing in front of a panel of judges again. It’s too vocal.

Nuff said.

FLASH #82 & #83 FLASH #82 & #83 Reviewed by David Andrews on December 19, 2019 Rating: 5

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