Review: THE FLASH #87
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Christian Duce
Colours: Luis Guerrero
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Flash #87: “Rogue’s Reign” aftermath! Central City is in ruins! The Rogues are on the run! The Speed Force is in chaos-and the Flash’s powers make him too dangerous to remain free! But who can bring him in? Plus, a surprise character returns from Barry’s past with a grave warning about his future!
The Flash #87 begins with the Flash and Captain Cold being transported as prisoners to Arkham Asylum. After losing control last issue, Barry has come to see himself as a threat to the public, and surrendered himself to the police.
But why Arkham? With Iron Heights prison destroyed, apparently Arkham is the only facility equipped to handle extremely powerful prisoners like Barry or the enhanced Captain Cold. Kid Flash and the Flash of China, however, go to S.T.A.R. Labs for help in controlling their connection to the Speed Force, which makes me wonder why Barry would voluntarily have himself taken to Arkham instead of S.T.A.R. Labs.
I was also pleased to see a couple old friends return. Meena Dhawan, the Negative Flash, has returned to S.T.A.R. Labs, determining the root of their Speed Force problems. She explains, “You’re in a constant state of vibrational frequency disonance. That’s what’s making it so hard for you to control the speed. You’re literally moving so fast you exist on multiple planes of reality at once”. Meena’s mention of vibrational frequency reminds Iris that they have an ally whose expertise might help.
Thus, when the Flash and Cold arrive at Arkham, they are met by Hartley Rathaway, a.k.a. the Pied Piper. It’s good seeing Hartley show up again, and hearkens back to when he regularly appeared in The Flash as a friend of Wally West.
Piper is able to determine a temporary solution to their Speed Force issues, but warns Barry that it’s a temporary fix. He cautions the Flash, “You can live an ordinary life, but only if you don’t overuse the Speed Force”.
This puts an interesting limitation on Barry and the others’ powers. What exactly constitutes overuse of the Speed Force? Does that limit how fast they can run? Or is it a matter of for how long they can use it? And how will this affect Barry’s ability to fight crime?
The Flash also has to make a fateful decision when Captain Cold is freed by his sister Golden Glider. Barry is forced to choose between helping Hartley apply his cure to the younger speedsters or foil Cold’s escape from Arkham. Ultimately, he chooses to put the youngsters first, even at the cost of letting the Snart siblings get away.
And if Barry didn’t have enough to worry about, The Flash #87 concludes with a troubling visit from his future self. The older Barry tells his younger self that by beating the Turtle in the Year One storyline, that they had caused a paradox, which seems to be the name of a villain Barry is about to meet. The older Barry warns him, “We… made… him… and now… Paradox is coming for us and our legacy. There is only one thing left to do… run”. The next issue blurb states: “Next: Introducing the Flash’s Newest Foe!”, so it seems that we won’t have long to wait to meet Paradox.
Christian Duce’s artwork is gorgeous and he has quickly established himself as one of the great Flash artists. The Flash is a title that relies on having a capable artist, and Duce has proven himself to be more than able to capture the kinetic energy of DC’s speedsters.
The only complaint I have is that we didn’t see any sort of exchange between Captain Cold and the Pied Piper when they met at Arkham. I would think that Cold might have some uncivil words for the former Rogue who went straight. Considering that Piper is a Flash villain who reformed, while Cold doubled down on his villainy, it would have been interesting to see how they would now react to each other.
With Joshua Williamson at the helm, The Flash has been one of my favourite titles of the Rebirth era. I look forward to meeting this Paradox and learning how he is connected to the superb Year One story. I look forward to seeing how the story develops as it leads toward the big 80th Anniversary issue coming next month.