[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artists: Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Steve Wands
“FORCE QUEST” part one! Following “Flash War,” Barry Allen remains the Flash, but he’s no longer the Fastest Man Alive! With Hunter Zolomon on the run, and new forces such as the Strength, Sage and Still Forces unleashed on the Multiverse, Barry must leave Central City behind and travel the world to learn the secret history of the Speed Force.
Barry and Iris have set off on a Force Quest, to learn the secrets of the Speed Force – as well as the newly discovered Strength, Sage, and Still forces. The first stop is the country of Badhnisia. Longtime DC readers might recall that this nation played an important role in the origin story of Justice Society member Johnny Thunder. Could it be that one or more of the Forces is connected to Johnny’s Thunderbolt?
While in Badhnisia, the Flash encounters Gemini, a pair of thieves with the power to absorb and redistribute energy. The pair make an interesting addition to Barry’s roster of villains. The Rogues gallery are great villains, but it’s good to see Barry encountering some less familiar foes too.
It’s also good to see that Barry using his scientific abilities to use. He mentions in his narration that he’s been teaching junior partners for so long, that he has to become a student again. We can see his scholarly prowess in action while he fights Gemini, quickly analyzing them and deducing how their powers work.
There is also a sad, but insightful moment when Barry surveys the destruction that their fight has had on the old church building. Unlike his fights in Central City, where Barry can use his speed powers to help repair any collateral damage, he realizes that the historic landmark is irreplaceable and lost forever.
Although Barry is putting his scientific knowledge to good use, he also realizes that he has to emulate Wally West’s spiritual connection to the Speed Force if he wants to once again become the fastest man alive. So, he decides to “just run and see where the Speed Force takes me.”
And where it takes him is Gorilla City, which appears to have just suffered a horrific attack. Somehow, I suspect that an encounter with Grodd might be in Barry’s immediate future.
While letting the Speed Force pick his next destination is an intriguing idea, and Gorilla City is an exciting location for a story, I can’t help but feel that there still was a lot of untapped story potential in the setting of Badhnisia. On the other hand, Williamson probably has a lot of stops planned for Barry’s quest, and has to move the story forward quickly. And a fast-paced story is quite fitting for a speedster character.
The Force Quest is off to a brilliant start. Taking the Flash out of Central City and on a tour of the wider DCU is a refreshing change of pace for the title. And it’s great to see Barry once again moving towards a goal rather than just reacting to the crises around him. Barry’s quest looks to be a great new direction for the title.