Review: The Flash #53

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Joshua Williamson

Artist: Christian Duce

Colors: Luis Guerrero

Letters: Steve Wands

 

Summary

It’s a slippery slope for the Scarlet Speedster when he must team up with the frosty Commander Cold to stop a powered-up Trickster from trashing Central City. The Trickster’s first target is the maximum-security prison Iron Heights, which could mean a criminal breakout the city would never survive.

 

Positives

This issue starts off with Commander Cold’s origin story, which gives us a peek into his mindset and motivations. He’s a cold-blooded killer, which gives him the ability to make and follow through on difficult decisions, but also makes him a dangerous ally for Barry.

But Barry is making some initial attempts at forging a partnership with Cold as they face the Trickster together. Their relationship is still mostly antagonistic, but occasionally a bit of begrudging respect slips out.

Meanwhile, Iris has taken this advice to heart and has set herself the task of figuring out the new Strength, Still, and Sage Forces. She is shown poring through the works of the Earth;s greatest scientific minds. Incidentally, the names on the books are a nice nod to DC history: Niles Caulder, Will Magnus, T.O. Morrow, and others.

Iris ponders Fastback’s advice to Barry about going on a Force Quest, considering going on it herself if Barry won’t. If she does so, it’s highly likely that Barry will find himself following after her, so it seems likely that such a quest is in Barry’s near future.

Iris’s memories of her pre-Flashpoint life don’t seem to be fading at all. She accidentally refers to herself as Iris Allen, although she and Barry aren’t married (yet) in the current continuity. With her, Wally, and Barry all remembering the previous timeline to some degree, perhaps the pre-Flashpoint continuity isn’t gone for good.

It seems interesting that in the 25th Century that all of the hero and villain identities are reversed. Reverse Flash is a villainous version of Barry, the Renegades are heroic versions of the Rogues, and in this issue we are introduced to the evil Elongated Maniac. It’s a bit disconcerting to see a murderous version of Elongated Man.

 

Negatives

Commander Cold’s origin as a cop that went too far in the pursuit of justice, becoming a killer seems awfully reminiscent of August Heart (a.k.a. Godspeed). There stories aren’t identical, but I hope that Barry’s partnership with Cold doesn’t turn out to be a rehash of his partnership with August. Hopefully, Williamson has something different planned for him than turning evil. Barry already has a cold-themed villain, he doesn’t really need two.

 

Verdict

Williamson has given us another top-notch story, and Duce’s art beautifully captures the highly kinetic adventures of DC’s premier speedster. The Flash always goes on the very top of the pile whenever I get a new stack of comics.

 

 

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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.