Review: THE FLASH #80
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Scott Kolins
Colours: Luis Guerrero
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Flash #80: “The Hunter and the Hunted” part one! Barry Allen is hurt, and his connection to the Speed Force is fading fast. With the Speed Force dying, the only person who can save it is…Hunter Zolomon? Hunter has returned to prove he’s the one, true Flash, and he doesn’t care who gets in his way. But who is left to deal with the Rogues? Captain Cold has assembled the newly amped-up Rogues to tell them about Lex Luthor’s offer…but are they all willing to take it?
Hunter Zolomon, a.k.a. Zoom, has stolen the Strong Force and the Sage Force to add to his Speed Force powers. This issue, he takes the Still Force from Steadfast to complete the set. At this point, he reveals to Barry that wielding all the Forces unlocks the final and most powerful Force: the Forever Force.
The Forever Force gives Zoom the power to control time. At first, Barry believes that Zolomon wants to undo the tragedies of his own past, but it turns out that Zolomon is content to let the past lie. He wants to prove himself as the ultimate hero by putting an end to pain and suffering by putting an end to the death itself.
Zoom uses the Forces to attract the Black Flash, and the Forever Force makes him powerful enough to do so. But Barry upsets his plan by getting in between Zoom and the Black Flash, and receiving a fatal blow. Things look pretty bleak as that blow looks pretty final and the next issue blurb tells us, “Next: The Flash dies!”
However, Zoom does have control over time now so I suspect that he will rewind time to save Barry. Zolomon isn’t seeking Barry’s destruction. Zooms wants the best for everyone, but the problem is that he’s utterly ruthless in how he brings that about. His actions are the ultimate case of the ends justifying the means.
I liked seeing Barry’s heartfelt attempt to change Zoom’s mind about altering the past. It’s good to see that he’s learned from the Flashpoint to not mess around with changing the timeline.
It’s nice to see that Iris and Barry working together after Iris’ absence for the last few months. She also states that she and Barry need to have a good long talk after the current crisis has been sorted out. I hope that we actually get to see this conversation rather than it happening off-panel. But from what we see, it looks like they are starting to mend their relationship.
Also, we see Kid Flash and the Flash of China as they locate Captain Cold and the Rogues Gallery. I’m happy to see that they recognize that it might not be wise to confront them on their own, given that their speed powers are diminished as well as the fact that the Rogues appear more powerful. It appears that we won’t see the confrontation with the Rogues just yet, but it’s clear that Williamson is setting it up to be a major battle – perhaps one that Barry might need to call in other members of the Flash family to pitch in.
I was a bit relieved to see that the Forever Force starts with the letter ‘F’. It strained belief a bit that all the Forces had names starting with ‘S’, when they presumably all would have originated long before the English language existed. Yet another ‘S’ Force would have been more unbelievable, so it was probably a wiser decision to go with another name. Although I do wonder how long Williamson spent trying to think of a good name starting with ‘S’ before giving up.
The only nitpick I have concerns Hunter Zolomon’s plan to end death. As I understand it, the Black Flash only represents death for Speed Force users (and possibly the other Forces). But there are several other aspects of death in the DCU. How is killing the Black Flash supposed to affect Death of the Endless or Nekron? Is this a hole in the plot or just a flaw in Zoom’s plan?
Williamson and Kolins have given us another stellar issue of one of DC’s foremost series. Williamson has been on a roll since Year One with no sign of letting up. Whenever there’s a new issue of The Flash out, it goes at the very top of my reading pile.