Review: THE FLASH #765
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Kevin Shinick
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Flash #765: Dr. Alchemy takes another step closer to unstoppable power and immortality as he devises a way to combine himself with the power of the Philosopher’s Stone. The Flash will have to discover that being faster than his foe may not be enough!
Kevin Shinick’s first story, “With This Ring”, continues in The Flash #754. Shinick was Shinick chose to demonstrate his his knowledge and respect for Flash history by pitting Barry against a classic foe. But he didn’t want to retread old ground by choosing one used during Joshua Williamson’s preceding run.
So, he brought back Dr. Alchemy, a villain that hasn’t had a major appearance since Wally West was the titular hero in The Flash. And Shinick is familiar with the villain’s history or has at least done his research. Shinick doesn’t just take the name and powers and create his own version, but builds on the character as he was presented back then.
When Wally faced Dr. Alchemy, he was plagued by a dual personality. Shinick adds to this by establishing a cause for Alchemy’s multiple personality disorder. The personalities of the alchemists who have used the Philosophers’ Stone over the centuries have been imprinted on it. These personalities have possessed Albert Desmond, adding more personas to his already split psyche.
I find it intriguing that his main persona, Albert, is an unwilling participant in Dr. Alchemy’s crimes. This makes Alchemy a strange mix of malevolent villain and innocent bystander.
I also like that Alchemy is shown in his original Silver Age costume, and not some updated modern version. I don’t know whether Shinick or the artistic team made this decision, but I feel that it was the right call. It shows a healthy respect for the mythos of the Flash.
I also quite like that Barry’s fight with Alchemy is a battle of scientist vs. scientist as much as it is a fight of superhero vs. supervillain. Barry’s use of his scientific knowledge has always been an important facet of the character. And his encounters with Alchemy puts a special focus on that.
I had noticed in the earlier chapters of this story, that there seems to be a recurring matrimonial theme. First, there’s Barry’s ring, which is made from his parents’ wedding rings. Also, the story’s title is “With this Ring”, which refers to the phrase “With this ring, I thee wed”.
Also, some of the things Iris has been saying sound suggestive. This issue, while flirting with Barry. “But if you still want to talk chemistry, let’s just say I feel a lot of it between us right now. And while I’m no scientist, I’m pretty sure I know what process comes next”. She might just be hinting at an intimate encounter between them, but it could also be construed as a hint that she wants to take their relationship to the next level, i.e. marriage.
I would really love to see Barry and Iris’ marriage be brought back into DCU continuity. Hopefully, I’m not reading too much into the story and Shinick really is hinting at wedding bells in their future.
I have no complaints with Shinick’s story so far. I had a little trepidation when he was announced as writer, due to having no familiarity with his writing, but he seems to be settling into the job and doing well so far.
With The Flash #765, Shinick continues to show that he’s fit to serve as caretaker of the Flash mythos. If he and the artistic team maintain the level of quality evident in this first story, then we’re in for another classic run.