FLASH #88 & #750

There once was a mysterious crook, who was dying to learn how to cook. So to obtain this new skill. He swallowed a very strange looking pill. Which made him read a medical book. Want to know more? Then please ignore the following adventure created by Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, Stephen Segovia, and published by DC Comics in March, 2020.

TO QUOTE Steven Wright: I went to a restaurant that serves breakfast at any time. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance’.

Once upon a time there was a scientist, a scientist named Chris, who decided to dedicate his life to unearthing the mysteries of time. In fact, he became so dedicated, that he even ignored his own family and the world around him. 

But then, one fateful day, all of that changed, big time, when he witnessed a fight between The Flash and The Turtle on the streets of Central City. A fight, I hasten to add, which for many, many reasons, warped him out of reality and propelled him through the Multiverse, until he eventually changed, evolved, and encountered The Reverse-Flash, a.k.a. Eobard Thawne, who put him in jail for crimes against the 25th century.

However, this didn’t last for very long because Chris (now called Paradox) somehow managed to escape and make his way to the current moment in time, 2020, where he set a plan in motion to destroy the fastest man alive. Want to know more? Then please pick up issues 88 and 750 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 artwork was bold, dynamic, and tastefully illustrated, whereas the actual storyline was easily divisible by two: With issue 750, updating us on Barry’s current status before introducing him to this month’s featured villains, while issue 88, touched upon...

1) The origin of Paradox. Was it any good? Yes, I would say so, because to some degree, his origin features some of the attributes we normally find in a Flash foe’s origin. This includes things like, a main character that’s obsessed with a particular subject or theme (similar to Heat Wave, Captain Cold, etc.), a sad home life where a family, a friend, or a loved one, either dies or fades away into the background (see all of the above), as well as a point of view that slowly gets corrupted by an external power source (see the previous answer for further details). Having said that, though, there were a couple of extra bits and bobs that made Paradox’s origin stand out from the crowd. Well, not only is this the first time that we’ve seen a new Flash foe (Paradox) being defeated by an old Flash foe (The Reverse-Flash) before either of them became a Flash foe (Ouch! My head hurts), but in addition to this, this is also the first time that we’ve seen a villain which is connected to the Multiverse and focused on a life less traveled. So, you know, it’s all good in the hood, bro.

2) What did you think about the first half of issue 750? Otherwise known as part one of ‘The Flash Age’. Well, without giving too much away, I‘d like to say that this episode was a fairly decent read because the three artists who worked on it did a marvelous job at synchronizing their elegant styles together (RafaJordiand Stephen), while the story in itself can easily be broken down into three different parts. Part One, basically updated us on Barry’s current status and expanded upon what’s been going on within recent months (including updates on Wally, Avery, Iris, The Rogues, The Other Force Users, and Commander Cold, may he rest in peace). While Part Two, on the other hand, presented us with a transitional-adventure featuring Barry and Director Singh taking down The Rainbow Raider (who I thought was dead). And as for Part Three? Well, more or less, this portion of the plot focused on Godspeed introducing Barry to Paradox and his madcap shenanigans (who literally popped up out of the blue on page 22). Now, wedged in between these three subplots -- and trust me, I do mean wedged in -- are a series of vox pop styled inserts, where some of the people Barry has saved throughout the years give their opinions on their savior (all of them interviewed by Iris, no less). So in hindsight, you could safely say that this bumper-sized episode both praised the fastest man alive and tried to bring him down at the same time. Either way, it was a pleasant read, and managed to tell us who he is (a true hero), what he stands for (justice), and what he means to those people around him (both friend and foe alike). Nice.

3) At the end of issue 750, we were presented with five -- I repeat, five -- additional short stories. So please tell us what these stories were all about and arrange them in order of preference.

Five)Flash of All Worlds’ by Marv Wolfman and Riley Rossmo: This psychedelic parable chronicles a fight between The Flash and The Mirror Master in a hall of mirrors (Naff story, messy art, and relied too much on visual nostalgia).

Four)Why You?’ by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul: This eight-page adventure sees Barry taking a quick trip through his own mind so he can find out what would happen if Iris, Gorilla Grodd, and a kid on a bike, were able to take on his mantle (Nice idea, lovely art, but felt a bit disposable in its execution). 

Three)Beer Run’ by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins: Basically, this short story was about Captain Cold walking into his local Liquor Store and stopping it from getting robbed by a punk-kid. In addition to this, it also alludes to the strange-notion that villains don’t understand heroes, and vice versa (Not a bad story, but felt false in its representation of Wally West).

Two)At the Starting Line’ by Joshua Williamson and David Marquez: In this timely tale set in the 1940s, a wartime Jay Garrick goes up against The Thinker and discovers that hope can sometimes conquer fear (Amazing art, wholesome attitude, but was basically let-down by some muddled continuity).

One)Flash Forward’ by Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth: Essentially, this cosmic tale acts as an epilogue to the recent mini-series featuring Wally West -- also called 'Flash Forward-- where we see him reminiscing about his past so he can figure out what he has to do in his future. Namely, fix time because it’s now broken (Good story, but nothing more than an update and a tease).

4) If you could speak to Joshua Williamson, what questions would you want to ask him about this storyline?  Well, with some benefit of hindsight, there are a couple of questions I’d like to raise about these two episodes, starting off with…

- In issue 88, pages 11 to 12, we see Chris tricking three people into touching an electrified, golden tower, which he then uses to discover the secrets of the Multiverse. So, is this the same golden tower used by Superboy-Prime in ‘Infinite Crisis’? And if it is, how did it survive its eventual destruction and why did these three people have to die? I mean, they didn’t do anything wrong! Heck, they didn’t do anything at all!

- On the same two pages, it’s also revealed that Chris has discovered that someone has been manipulating time, someone he believes to be Barry Allen.  But as far as I'm concerned, I think it’s either Dr. Manhattan (from the ‘Doomsday Clock’ saga) or The Reverse-Flash (from the ‘Flashpoint’ saga). So who’s right? Me? Chris? Or are we both completely wrong?

- In the same issue, although page 5 instead, we see Chris being struck by lightning while standing in front of the window in his study. So, is this the same lightning that hit Barry and transformed him into the fastest man alive? And if it is, how come it was established earlier that Barry wasn’t in his lab when the lightning hit? After all, Barry’s origin has previously stated that the lightning was mainly centered around his lab when it hit him! So I’m pretty confused if this is the same abnormality or something else.

- Why does Paradox look like the secret love child of Doomsday, The Monitor, and Gorilla Grodd? Seriously, the resemblance is uncanny! And I would also love to know where he got his red cape as I want to buy one myself!

- Can I stop asking questions now? Yes? Thanks very much.

For this month’s musical match-up, I’m going to align this adventure with a great song featured in ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’, namely, ‘The Time Warp’, because they’re both about distorted reality. 

Collectively, these two issues either praised The Flash or denigrated his legacy. So with that in mind, I’d like to compare them both to people (or organizations) who try to pervert history in order to appease their future. Such as Lucasfilm, for instance!

Comparison made. 

At the end of issue 750, Paradox turns to Godspeed and tells him to do something to The Flash. So, out of the following eight options, let’s see if you can guess what that something could be? I mean, could it be for him to…

  • Tease him.
  • Kiss him.
  • Slap him.
  • Kill him.
  • Sell him.
  • Cuddle him.
  • Ignore him.
  • Praise him.
  • Lick him.

Nuff said.

FLASH #88 & #750 FLASH #88 & #750 Reviewed by David Andrews on March 19, 2020 Rating: 5

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