Review: THE FLASH #79
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Colours: Arif Prianto
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Flash #79: “The Death of the Speed Force” claims its first victim, forcing the Flash to reconsider whether the Speed Force is worth saving! But the Flash is unaware of Captain Cold’s mission to power up his fellow Rogues, and Snart’s next stop is right in the middle of a broken home. When Mirror Master and Golden Glider are at each other’s throats, there aren’t enough Lex Luthor power-ups in the world to bring them back together”… or are there?
The previous issue of The Flash and the first issue of Flash Forward left me with a number of questions, but I didn’t have to wait long to have them answered, as Williamson clears these matters up in The Flash #79.
Commander Cold has told Barry that the New Forces’ connection to the Speed Force is killing the Speed Force. When the Black Flash killed Psych, that caused me to wonder if that connection was severed, and what that would mean for the Sage Force. And what would that mean for the Sage Force, would it now be destroyed, dormant, or would it seek out a new avatar?
Commander Cold tells us that the Sage Force was not destroyed, but uncoupled from the Speed Force. This seems to leave open the possibility that the Sage Force will seek out a different avatar.
Also, I wondered if this would mean that the damage to the Speed Force would be somewhat reversed. But as Barry tells us, the Speed Force is, “Stronger. When Psych died, I could feel the Speed Force power up, which means the Speed Force got healthier… because Someone died.”
Does this mean that Fuerza and Steadfast need to die for the Speed Force to be fixed? It seems Barry needs to find a way to sever the Still and Strength Forces from the Speed Force without killing them. If he can do that, then that should also remove the drive for the Black Flash to kill those Forces’ avatars.
I also had questions about when and how the fallout of Heroes In Crisis would be reflected in this title. The last we knew, Iris thought Wally West was dead. Does she know he actually survived? And does she know what happened to Wally after Heroes In Crisis?
Well Iris comes to see Barry, wanting to talk about Wally. She fills us in that she is aware of Wally being in prison and that she is deeply worried about him. Although this is a sad conversation, it makes me happy for a number of reasons.
First, I am glad to see that Joshua Williamson and Scott Lobdell are working to keep both Flash titles connected on some level. This gives me some hope that a there is a concrete plan for Wally’s redemption. Lobdell is unlikely to portray Wally inconsistently if he is conferring with Williamson, who has defined the Rebirth era Flash mythos.
Plus I am overjoyed to see Iris return. She and Barry only have time for a brief conversation, but her reappearance gives me hope for the future of their relationship.
Also, we learn that Iris still has some gaps in what she remembers of her pre-Flashpoint life. Steadfast states that he can help her unlock her memories, like he did for Barry in the “Year One” storyline. Hopefully, Steadfast will survive the current threat so that he can do this for her.
We also see a continuation of the Rogues Gallery subplot. Captain Cold completes reassembling his team by recruiting his sister, Golden Glider. Each is now sporting a new look, and each has a case containing an unspecified gift from Lex Luthor. It’s evident that they are about to embark on some new scheme.
Meanwhile, feeling emboldened from the recovery of the Speed Force, Kid Flash and the Flash of China decide they are ready to tackle the major Rogues. But are they ready for the new and improved versions? Or will they find themselves over their heads?
And if that wasn’t enough for Barry and company to contend with, Hunter Zolomon returns and abducts Steadfast. What could he want with Steadfast? It’s unlikely that he wants Steadfast dead. If that was so, he could have just let the Black Flash do the job for him. It’s not clear what Zolomon’s up to, but it presents an intriguing conundrum for the readers.
Once again, another flawless issue that leaves me with no complaints.
Since taking over The Flash at the dawn of the Rebirth era, Williamson has made this one of my favourite titles of all time, but in the last few months, he has somehow managed to make it even better. Add to this the superlative art from Rafa Sandoval and Jordi Tarragona, this makes The Flash #79 a great read.