Review: The Flash #23

[Editor’s note: This review contains spoilers.]

Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico

 

Summary

In a prologue to the main story, we find ourselves in the 25th Century, being offered a personal tour of the Flash Museum by an unseen speaker. This voice starts to tell us the story of “Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, a.k.a. Professor Zoom.” The voice also surprisingly claims that Thawne was the Flash’s partner, ally, and best friend.

Returning to the present, we see Barry examining Thawne’s body in the S.T.A.R. Labs morgue, where the Flash had brought it after the events of “The Button.” Barry expresses the fear that somehow Thawne will manage to come back from death, as he has before.

Barry leaves to meet Iris for what he thought was a dinner date, but turns out to be a surprise birthday party. However, Barry is distracted and doesn’t feel much like partying, especially when he has a vision of Thawne killing Iris and all of his friends.

Iris notices his distraction and tries to get to the root of it, only to be interrupted by the arrival of Barry’s pal, Hal Jordan (who we know to be Green Lantern). Iris informs Barry that she is aware that he’s holding something back from her, and that he will have to come clean to her very soon.

However, the party is broken up by an attack from the Firestorm supervillain Multiplex. Multiplex is searching for a woman he is obsessed with, who coincidentally happens to be present at the same venue where Barry’s party is being held.

Barry has Wally take Iris to safety, while he and Hal leap into action as the Flash and Green Lantern to face Multiplex.

Meanwhile, having taken Iris back to their home, Wally starts to tell his Aunt that he has discovered the truth about Daniel West, the Reverse-Flash, being his father. However, they find Thawne waiting for them, who tells them, “There is only one Reverse-Flash.”

 

Positives

First off, who is the mysterious person telling us that Thawne is Barry’s ally and friend? And why? My guess is that it is Thawne himself. This would be in keeping with the pre-Flashpoint version of the character, as we learned in “The Return of Barry Allen” storyline that Eobard Thawne started off as an obsessive fan of the Flash before discovering that Barry was fated to kill him.

Also, in Barry’s vision of Thawne killing Iris, it is very reminiscent of the way he did kill Iris in the pre-Flashpoint continuity. This is especially chilling considering that a lot of pre-Flashpoint continuity has or might be being restored, meaning that this could very well come to happen.

This is a somewhat minor point, but I’m happy to see that they are returning to using the pre-Flashpoint names for Thawne. Originally, both the names Professor Zoom or Reverse-Flash were used exclusively refer to Thawne. It became a little more complicated when Hunter Zolomon took on a variation of the costume and called himself Zoom. Then, with the advent of the New 52, Daniel West was named Reverse-Flash, and then Thawne was re-introduced as Zoom (minus the “Professor”). It has become a bit convoluted, so it is good to have it simplified again.

 

Negatives

It’s a bit disappointing that we aren’t immediately getting a follow-up on what’s going on with Jay Garrick – but that’s just my own impatience speaking here. On the other hand, I’m happy to see that we aren’t left wondering about whether we’ve seen the last of Professor Zoom. I’m hoping he might drop some more information about what happened to him in “The Button”, but for all we know, from his perspective, that hasn’t happened yet.

Verdict

The Flash continues to be one of my favourite titles, especially with the increased drama as Barry balances keeping Iris safe by hiding his secret life against his desire to be open and honest with her. Also, I will be eager to see how Wally fares in his first solo encounter against the Reverse-Flash, who is one of Barry’s deadliest villains.

 

 

 

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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.