Review: THE FLASH #754
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Colours: Arif Prianto
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Flash #754: The Flash is on the run as “The Flash Age” continues! Paradox accomplished his mission to make everyone see the Flash as a monster-and now Flash and the Reverse-Flash are trapped in a 25th century Central City that hates the Flash family and legacy. Now a wanted man, Flash must turn to an unexpected place to get help to return to his own time!
Barry had misgivings about teaming up with the Reverse-Flash. But Eobard Thawne is the only person who had ever beaten Paradox before. Now in The Flash #754, we learn that Barry should have trusted his gut.
Thawne’s plan to deal with the threat of Paradox is to travel to the past and kill the man Paradox was before he gained his power. This is hardly surprising considering that Thawne altered history by killing Barry’s mother just to make Barry suffer.
This reminds me of the classic theoretical dilemma: if you had a time machine, would it be morally acceptable to kill Hitler as a baby? Williamson’s iteration of the dilemma clearly demonstrates how Barry and Thawne are polar opposites. While Thawne would kill anyone with no compunctions, Barry cannot bring himself to kill an innocent, even with the entire timeline at stake.
Also, it seems that enlisting the Reverse-Flash isn’t an effective plan anyway. Thawne faces Paradox, confident that he can easily beat him again. However, Paradox reveals that his earlier defeat was a lucky break due to his unfamiliarity with his powers. But Paradox has learned and is more powerful than ever. He easily repels Thawne’s attack, chiding him, “Please, Eobard. Don’t embarrass yourself”.
I was pleased to see some nods to the past in the story. Williamson once again demonstrates his knowledge of Flash lore. One notable instance is Thawne reclaiming his Lightning Rod, as weapon that he used in early Silver Age appearances. Thawne reveals that this was more than a decorative accessory, but a weapon that “harnesses the Speed Force and focuses it into a destructive force”. I love that Williamson not only revisits this bit of Flash history and gives an explanation for it that makes sense to modern readers.
We also see Paradox moving backwards through the timeline, killing Barry over and over. Not only does this clearly show Paradox’s utter hatred of Barry. Just killing him once isn’t enough. He does so repeatedly. Some of these were actually significant events in Flash history, such as Barry’s first adventure with Jay Garrick.
Also, it was quite interesting and a bit revealing that Paradox even interrupted Barry’s death during the Crisis On Infinite Earths. Clearly, for Paradox, it is unacceptable that Barry die by anyone else’s hand. I do sort of wonder, however, what the Anti-Monitor thought, seeing Paradox suddenly appear, kill the Flash, and disappear again.
The issue leaves us with about the biggest cliffhanger possible. Paradox has gained control over the entire timeline. As Thawne tells Barry, “We’ve literally run out of time. If we don’t kill Paradox right now… this will be the end of everything”. Also, The Flash #754 ends with the caption, “Next: The Flash Age ENDS…”. This refers to the next issue being the final chapter of “The Flash Age” storyline, but it ominously warns of that next issue could spell the end of Barry’s story.
And Sandoval and Tarragona’s art is fantastic. They beautifully capture the kinetic energy of the Flash and Reverse-Flash, as well as the pure cosmic power of Paradox. And their violent reinterpretation of The Flash #123’s classic cover is worthy of a poster. And I quite like that they snuck a copy of the original issue into the picture.
Oh, hell no! This issue is fantastic and I loved every panel of it. I have nothing negative to say about The Flash #754. However, I have to admit I was disappointed by the recent announcement that Williamson will be moving on from the Flash in a few months. However, I am happy that he got the chance to tell the complete story he wanted to. And I am sure that his last few issues will be an amazing blowout finale.
The Flash #754 is yet another great issue from Joshua Williamson. His run on The Flash has been fantastic since the beginning. But he’s been especially on point since Year One. I will miss his interpretation of the Flash, but look forward to his future projects.