[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
First off, let me preface the summary by stating that the spoiler warning above is for a very major spoiler: the revelation of Godspeed’s true identity. This is central to this issue’s plot and cannot be adequately discussed without giving the surprise away.
The issue starts with Godspeed killing an unnamed man by dragging him at super-speed through the streets of Central City. He states that he is dispensing justice and that the man’s death will be quick…but painful.
Then we see the Flash’s partner, August Heart returning to Barry at S.T.A.R. to find that Barry is obsessing over the deaths of Meena Dhawan and other speedsters under his tutelage. Barry suspects that Meena might not actually be dead from the fact that she disappeared, leaving only her uniform behind. Barry recalls that Meena’s death seemed remind him of something that seems impossible. August states that Barry should get past this and back to his police work and crime fighting duties as the Flash.
Then Barry and August view a news report indicating that four more speedsters were killed by Godspeed. Also, the remaining students at S.T.A.R. Labs indicate that they no longer have faith in the Flash’s ability to protect them from Godspeed.
The Flash then heads to see Iris West as Barry, to see if she can give any insight in tracking down Godspeed. Iris’ nephew Wally (the younger New 52 Wally) enters just in time to overhear that his mentor, Meena, has been killed. Wally berates Barry for “flirting” with Iris when he should be out looking for Meena’s killer. Then Wally runs off, but Barry is unable to catch up to him, causing Barry to realize that Wally took off at super-speed.
Getting back to Iris’ findings, Barry discovers that one of the latest victims wasn’t registered as a speedster. When Barry reads the name of this victim, he recognizes the name and has a shocking realization.
The Flash catches up to August and confronts him with what he has learned. All the speedsters were killed by having the Speed Force ripped out of them, but one victim was killed by being dragged at super-speed, and that victim was the man August suspected of killing his brother.
Faced with the truth, August admits that he is Godspeed. He killed his brother’s murderer because August felt he had escaped justice. He then tells Barry that he killed the other speedsters because they were wasting their powers when they could have been heroes. He doesn’t show any regret over killing Meena, claiming Barry hardly even knew her.
August further berates Barry with the claim that death is the only thing that motivates him to action, which is the reason Zoom killed Barry’s mother. August asserts his superiority over Barry by claiming that he considered calling himself the “new and improved Flash,” but settled on Godspeed after realizing that his powers essentially judge, jury, and executioner – essentially a god. So he chose the name Godspeed.
Barry questions August on how he managed to kill some of the speedsters at the same time he was with Barry. August reveals that he’s even faster than the Flash – fast enough to be in two places at once. At this, Godspeed seems to split into two people and both attack Barry.
First, some readers will get what Barry is referring to when he talks about how Meena’s death seems familiar, while others may have missed the reference. The depiction of Meena’s death here mirror’s Barry’s own death in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Barry is apparently remembering the Crisis, which seems impossible as that death didn’t happen in the New 52 timeline Barry remembers. This adds another little hint about the mysteries of the Rebirth event. Did the Crisis actually happen as readers remember it from 1985?
Also, we get another brief mention of the elder Wally West. Barry states that he was sure that another Wally West in his life would also get speed powers, but he should have realized it would. Readers of Wally’s adventures as the Flash know that Flashes quite regularly defy the odds.
Also, I believe Barry is correct in believing that Meena is probably still alive. There seem to be a number of mysterious disappearances of characters happening that seem tied into the Rebirth storyline. Check out Detective Comics #94o and Batman Beyond #16 for more cases of characters vanishing.
On the other hand, it was a bit maddening that the elder Wally only just got a brief mention. Although Wally’s story is being told in Titans, I think it would be great if he would make the occasional appearance in this title. I definitely want to see Wally reconnect with his Aunt Iris, and we definitely have to see how the two Wallys react to each other – especially if the younger is going to follow in Wally’s steps as Kid Flash.
This was a great issue. The revelation of Godspeed’s identity is surprising, but fits the way the character has been portrayed since his introduction. I love that we get a few more hints about DC Rebirth. Keep them coming, DC!