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FLASH #84 & #85

[ COLD CASH! ] 
There once was a very cold King, who had a thing for fiddling with his ring. So to stop this bad habit. He ate a bowl of boiled rabbit. Until his ring started to sing-sing-sing. Want to know more? Then please ignore the following adventure created by Joshua Williamson, Christian Duce, and published by DC Comics in January, 2020.

TO QUOTE Henry Rollins:I know that collector types can be a pain in the neck and seem perpetually frozen in time - or at least in their parents' basement - but someone has to look out for the past, lest it slip away forever’.

THE STORY:
In order to relinquish Captain Cold’s control over Central City, Avery, Kid Flash, Golden Glider, and the main man himself, Barry ‘The Flash’ Allen, have to track down and collect various broken shards of mirror which are pivotal to Cold’s source of power, starting off with The Weather Wizard’s shard.

But can they do this? Can they successfully complete this mission without anyone getting killed? Keeping in mind that the speed force is currently out of control which makes it difficult for each speedster to use their full range of abilities. Or else, will they need some extra help? Some extra help from the remaining Rogues! Want to know more? Then please pick up issues 84 and 85 of The Flash today. In the meantime, though, here, check this out…

THE REVIEW:
Overall, I really enjoyed reading these two episodes of The Flash because Christian Duce’s artwork was bold, dynamic, and a pleasure to follow, whereas Joshua Williamson’s storyline meandered in places but eventually found its footing. In many ways, both episodes were a nice way of acknowledging the current crossover event, ‘Year of the Villain’, without totally forgetting about Barry and his problems. His problems with the speed force as well as his quest to capture the remaining Rogues. Although, when I say Barry wants to ‘capture’ his foes, I suppose a better term to use would be ‘team-up’ (in regards to Golden Glider, Weather Wizard, and Heat Wave), or ‘take-down’ (in regards to Captain Cold and Mirror Master), depending on which part of the plot we’re focused on. So, without any further ado, please allow me to get down to business with the following Q&A…

1) Which issue did you enjoy reading more? Issue 84 or issue 85? Well, in all fairness, I’m not entirely sure which one I preferred because they both had their own ups and downs. On the one hand, issue 84 had a tough time setting up its conventional pretext (confront the Wizard), but a good time at establishing the personality of each character (all of them). Whereas issue 85, on the other hand, built up a great rapport between the heroes and the villains (via a training session, no less), but was let-down by a fairly formulaic face-off (Cold and Mirror Master versus Barry and Co). So, with some benefit of hindsight, I‘d have to call it a draw, or a stalemate, whichever you prefer, yet I can’t deny that issue 85 had a slight edge over its predecessor due to a possible romance between Barry and...

2) Who would you say was the star of the show? Personally, I’d say it was The Golden Glider, a.k.a. Lisa Snart, on account of her being a pivotal figure that served this story in a dual capacity. Well, not only did she act as a liaison, a go-between, who persuaded the heroes to join forces with the villains in order to curb their abilities and take on Cold, but in addition to this, she was also a narrative device, a soothsayer, who told Barry and his crew how Captain Cold was able to take over Central City (Lex, Doom, and all that jazz) and what they have to do next (collect the shards, band with The Rogues, etc, etc, etc). Having said that, though, the one thing that I wasn’t too keen on was how her new abilities were able to subdue the speed force’s new level of power. I mean, seriously? Wasn’t that a little bit too coincidental in terms of defining a problem and then solving it? I would say so, 100%, as it came across as a rather simple yet implausible remedy.  

3) Was there anything else about these two issues that you didn’t like? Yes, I’m afraid there were, but these gripes weren’t anything major or overly idiotic. Heck, they were irritable at best and silly at worst, ranging from the fairly disposable confrontation between Barry and the Weather Wizard / Mirror Master (boom-boom-boom / yawn-yawn-yawn), all the way to the coy dialogue spoken by some of the characters (yadda-yadda-yadda). I wasn’t too keen on the pacing and the structure of these two episodes either, as the narrative zigzagged, all over the place, and had a strange, stop-start quality, which occasionally made things slightly confusing to read.

4) Issue 85 featured a few scenes where Heat Wave, Weather Wizard, and The Golden Glider taught Wally, Avery, and Barry how to control their unstable powers. So, did any of them get along? Well, let’s just say that so far, so good, but only because they're united against a mutual foe and appear to have a couple of things in common. This includes things like, a stupid costume, an impressive range of abilities, and most importantly of them all, a tragic backstory, featuring death, rebirth, and a new outlook on life. The main difference between the two, however, is that the villains allowed their tragedy to define them while the heroes allowed their tragedy to push their lives in a more positive direction. Either way, I did enjoy following the similarities between the two, and all in all, I sincerely look forward to seeing how they will interact with each other once this storyline comes to a close.

5) So what was Cold doing while all of this was going on? Nothing much really, apart from talking to himself about one thing or another, mainly his desire to be successful and not a loser like his Dad! Which is a shame, if you think about it, because it goes to show that Captain Cold's life could’ve been so much more productive if he had some proper guidance behind him. After all, he would rather be the King of a world that’s about to end, than a regular human being living a normal life. So here’s hoping Barry can beat some sense into him when they duke it out next month. Fingers crossed. Say no more.

THE MUSIC:
For this month’s musical match-up, I’m going to align this adventure with the Foreigner classic, ‘Cold as Ice’, because, you know, cold and ice.




THE COMPARISON: 
I’m now going to compare these two issues to a game of ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’, simply because they both involve people collecting things under perilous circumstances!

Wink-wink-wink! You know it makes sense.

THE CONCLUSION:
At the end of issue 85, Captain Cold ripped off his shirt and said to Barry… what? What do you think he said to him? I mean, could it be something like…

  1. You’re not the only one who has nice nipples.
  2. You’re not the only one who has a smooth chest.
  3. You’re not the only one who has a belly button that sticks out.
  4. You’re not the only one who sings.
  5. You’re not the only one who’s farted.
  6. You’re not the only one who’s eaten chicken.
  7. You’re not the only one who’s supercharged.
  8. You’re not the only one who’s reviewed this comic book.

Nuff said.

FLASH #84 & #85 FLASH #84 & #85 Reviewed by David Andrews on January 20, 2020 Rating: 5

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