[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Joshua WIlliamson
Artists: Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona
Colours: Tomeu Morey, Hi-Fi
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Barry puts his fleet feet in his mouth against the next Force wielder he meets! Introducing the new Strength Force user, Powerhouse: she’s a young rebel using her powers to fight the corrupt police state in Corto Maltese. When Barry learns that she wants to use her super-strength to overthrow the government, he tries to intervene—and ends up tripping into a melee with the new hero instead.
In Corto Maltese, Barry finds that the Strength Force avatar, Fuerza, is in the midst of a fight with the police. He assumes that this makes her the villain, but he soon finds out that Corto Maltese isn’t like Central City. In a novel turn of events, we find Barry siding with the “bad guy” against the cops. It turns out that Fuerza is really a heroine, protecting innocents from the Cauldron and his corrupt police force.
Once Barry realizes how things really are, he has no problem siding against the police. Of course, Cauldron threatening to kill Iris is all Barry needs to see who the real villain is.
Meanwhile, Commander Cold and Detective Burns in Central City are closing in on the Tricksters. It’s great to see the original Trickster return to the DCU, but I’m curious about the woman with him wearing a similar outfit. Is she just a henchwoman? Or someone more important?
Interestingly, Barry feels a Force connection to Fuerza that leads him to intuitively trust her – so much that he reveals his secret identity to her. Acting intuitively is something new for Barry, who tends to analyze and overthink things before acting. Even Iris is taken aback by this. This could be an indication that Barry is actually progressing on his quest to become more in tune with the Speed Force on an intuitive level.
Though, true to his usual analytical self, Barry does push Fuerza for any information that might help him figure out the Speed Powers. Barry is clearly trying to figure the Forces out on a scientific level as well as intuitively.
Fuerza does make an interesting new addition to DC”s roster of heroes. For one thing, she’s not American, like the majority of DC’s superhuman population. Also, she does have what appears to be an interesting mix of ethnicities. She’s a native of Corto Maltese, which is a Latin American country, but her name Alexa Antigone implies Greek ancestry.
I’m guessing that Williamson decided to change her heroic identity after the solicitation text was written, because there appears to be no one named Powerhouse in this issue. Fuerza is Spanish for “force”, so it’s unlikely that it’s the English version of her name. Fuerza seems an appropriate name, implying both strength and a connection to the new Forces.
Also, I have to wonder if there will be any repercussions of Barry siding against Corto Maltese’s legal authorities. Often we have seen entire stories devoted to the fallout of Justice Leaguers acting against the authorities of foreign countries. It would somewhat unrealistic if this were just glossed over. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to see this fast-paced storyline get bogged down by Barry getting trapped in the middle of a political conflict.
The Force Quest storyline is adding an interesting dimension to mythos of the Flash. The idea of Barry as one of a international team of Force avatars that protect the entire Earth opens a new world of possible stories for the Flash, bringing him out of Central City into the wider DCU more often. It will be fascinating to see where this all leads.