Review: The Flash #8

[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico

Summary
Before the Flash’s battle with Godspeed continues, a flashback to conversation between Barry and August Heart reminds us of their differing views on dealing with criminals. August has trouble understanding why Barry wouldn’t kill Zoom in revenge for his mother’s murder, considering that with Barry’s powers and knowledge of forensics, he could easily avoid any consequences. In retrospect, Barry realizes he should have realized what August might do with his super-speed powers.

Returning to the present, Barry is chasing Godspeed, who is on his way to Iron Heights to go on a killing spree of the prison’s inmates. Out of desperation, Barry attempts to short-circuit August’s connection to the Speed Force, despite the fact that it will likely hurt himself more than Godspeed, and might cost Barry his powers.

theflash8-b

This manages to temporarily stop Godspeed, but Godspeed uses his ability to be in two places at once, threatening to deal with Barry and go on his rampage at Iron Heights simultaneously.

Luckily, the younger Wally West arrives to help, so that Barry does not have to contend with two Godspeeds alone. Also fortunate is the fact that when August is using his ability to be two places at once, his speed is divided, making it more of an even battle.

Barry and Wally attempt to steal Godspeed’s speed, and while doing so, there is a bright flash of light and suddenly Wally is garbed in the classic Kid Flash costume.

August flees, still determined to kill Zoom, Barry chases after and barely manages to get a choke hold on him and ends the fight. Kid Flash catches up, wondering if Barry has killed Godspeed, but he’s merely knocked out.

theflash8-c

Barry then questions Wally how he made that suit. He asks if Wally remembers seeing that design before, which would mean he remembered the original Kid Flash, but Wally has no idea where the idea came from. Wally explains that a feeling of calm overcame him and suddenly he was wearing the new outfit. Barry explains that Wally used the Speed Force to generate the costume, and that he knows someone else with that ability – someone who Barry believes Wally should meet soon.

Since Godspeed still retains some connection to the Speed Force, Barry hurries to get him where he can be held safely before he regains consciousness.

A few days later, Barry visits August in Iron Heights. August reveals that he can still feel the other speedsters through the Speed Force, despite their having lost their powers. However, Barry also has a revelation for August. Barry has proven that the man August killed in revenge for his brother’s murder was innocent. The actual killer is still at large, but Barry promises to find him and bring him to justice.

Then August tells Barry that the Black Hole organization is far from defeated and that he knows who the real mastermind behind the group is. August refuses to tell Barry, keeping this information to barter for a future favour from Barry.

Meanwhile, Wally is showing his new identity and costume to his Aunt Iris. Iris is doubtful about Wally being a superhero, but he tries to alleviate her fears, assuring her that he has a great mentor.

And Barry sets about being a proper mentor to Wally, teaching him how the Speed Force powers work as a foundation for improving his speed and abilities. As Wally learns, Barry reminisces about the other Wally West and about how much alike they are – and that Barry can trust his new partner as much as he did the original Kid Flash.

Interrupting his musings, a mysterious apparition, whispers a thank you in his ear. However, when Barry turns to look, no one is there – but Barry recognizes the voice as Meena Dhawan’s. Is Fast Track not dead after all?

Positives
There is a lot for Flash fans to love in this issue. First, there is debut of the new Kid Flash, after months of hinting that Wally would eventually take on this role. The costume is perfect, being almost exactly the classic Kid Flash costume, with only a few minor tweaks.

Also, we have the promise that Barry will introduce Wally to his namesake soon. The final blurb hints that this might happen next issue: “Next: Kid Flash Of Two Worlds!” It will be interesting to see how Wally reacts to his younger cousin taking on his legacy.

Finally, Barry has enough time to remember that he has to investigate the mysteries introduced in the overarching Rebirth storyline. He specifically mentions the bloodstained button found in the Batcave. He also has to investigate Meena’s disappearance, which unknown to Barry is only one of a number of mysterious disappearances happening around the DC Universe recently.

There was also a striking reference to Flash history that some fans may not have picked up on, but was very well done. When Barry grabs Godspeed it is exactly how he had grabbed Professor Zoom, accidentally killing him (The Flash, Volume 1 #324). Barry even utters the same dialogue, “No! No. Not again.” However, this time, Barry avoids killing his nemesis, adding “Heroes don’t kill. We find a better way.” This is the perfect way to demonstrate Barry’s commitment to not killing, by showing him in the exact situation where Flash did kill before, but finding a different way this time.

theflash8-d

Negatives
I am very hard pressed to find anything wrong with this issue. However, I did have a slight worry occur to me, when I noticed the stress on how much Wally is like his older cousin Wally. Flash comments that they have the same heart, both having been raised by Iris. They also have the same name, and the younger has the elder’s hand-me-down identity and costume. Hopefully, as the character develops we will get a bit more differentiation between the two characters, so that Wally puts his own distinct stamp on the Kid Flash name.

Verdict
I was blown away by this issue. We got a satisfying conclusion to the Godspeed saga, the debut of the new Kid Flash, some nostalgic touches, and a reminder that more exploration in the Rebirth mystery is coming soon.

4.5outof5

 

http://dccomicsnews.com/wp-content/themes/maxblog/assets/img/flash-icon.jpg

Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.