This review contains spoilers.
The Flash #49 is written by Robert Venditti and Van Jensen with art by Philippe Briones and colors by Guy Major. In this issue, the Flash must again battle the Rogues.
Captain Frye, determined to arrest the Flash, teamed up with the Rogues in order to take the scarlet speedster down. Drones were deployed to assist this new task force in tracking traces of the speed force. Meanwhile, Wally West started to show signs of the speed force.
The issue begins with the Trickster meeting up with the Riddler. The latter obviously has some part in the current events and hands Trickster a weapon. Meanwhile, at CCPD headquarters, Captain Frye asks Barry to study a sample of the Flash’s blood in order to find a way to stop his speed.
At school, Wally’s speed powers are developing which alerts one of the drones. Meanwhile, Barry and his father have a nice conversation about what Barry should do to stop this task force. However, they’re interrupted when the Rogues attack Wally’s school searching for the Flash. The scarlet speedster battles the Rogues but they start to work together and are able to get in a few good hits. Trickster uses the weapon that Riddler gave him which is a gauntlet that grabs the Flash’s throat. However, when he struggles to get it loose, the gauntlet only gets tighter. The issue ends with Captain Cold’s declaration that the Flash is under arrest.
The fight between the Flash and the Rogues is spectacular. The creative team really takes advantage of the different characters. The way that the various abilities of the Rogues are combined is really fun and inventive. I genuinely believe that they are able to take on the Flash working in this manner. Additionally, Briones’ art and Major’s colors make the scene even more exciting. It’s really well done.
The scene between Barry and his father is great. There is a lot of heart and that is always appreciated in these stories. It’s a really sweet scene.
The conflicts of this issue are great. The idea that Barry has to find a way to destroy himself is really amusing and I love that Frye has started to make Barry question himself as the Flash. He is fairly reckless and it could be argued that he causes a lot of harm. I actually sympathize with Frye despite thinking he’s wrong. This isn’t a generic plot about the police hating superheroes that is seen a lot. It actually comes from character development.
The cover by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Adriano Lucas is misleading. While it is a wonderful image, Flash is never in jail during this issue. It looks like he will be next issue so this may have been better suited for that issue. It looks great, though.
I don’t like that there is a master manipulator behind this story and I especially don’t like that it’s the Riddler. It just over-complicates the situation. There is enough story in the conflict between Flash, Captain Frye and the Rogues. There is plenty of wonderful material there for a great story in addition to moving Wally in the direction of a speedster superhero. Adding in the Riddler, or any master manipulator, feels really unnecessary and actually makes this story less interesting.
This another really strong issue. The action is fantastic, there are nice slow moments for the characters and it is well put together in both the writing and the art. I have a couple of minor complaints but it’s still a fun read. I definitely recommend checking this issue out.