The Flash #50 // Review
The Flash #50, written by Joshua Williamson, with art by Howard Porter, and colors by Hi-Fi, concludes the Flash War, and boy, are Flash fans going to be happy...or, maybe not. Previously, Zoom tricked Wally into breaking the Force barrier in pursuit of bringing his lost children back. Instead, Zoom used the broken barrier to access the previously undiscovered Strength and Sage Forces, and crowned himself the one, true Flash. Now, Barry and Wally must put aside their differences, and stop him at all costs.
This entire arc has been great, because it is exactly the kind of story Flash fans have been begging for. There’s a race between the fastest men alive, there’s exploration and revelations about the Speed Force, and there is a definite shift in the dynamics of the Flash Family. So rarely does a comic company deliver on “this will change everything,” but DC and Williamson gave the readers everything they promised and more.
The most important aspect of this arc that Williamson swore he would answer from the get-go is “which of the Flashes is faster”. This is, perhaps, a more difficult question than it should be, because Barry is the elder of the two, and he is technically the originator of the Speed Force, but 90’s Flash fans know that Wally took the exploration of his powers to new heights after taking on the mantle of his mentor. He accomplished things that Barry still hasn’t done after years of being re-established as the main Flash of the DC universe. To top it off, when Wally finally returned from the Speed Force in the Rebirth Special, it was unclear if he was back at his top speeds. Well, Williamson didn’t pull any punches, and now the audience has its answer. It won’t be spoiled in this article, but the answer alone could fuel more stories to come for years. Whatever Williamson’s plan is, it’s plain to see he has plenty more story to tell.
Readers are also treated to a deeper explanation of what the Strength and Sage Forces are this issue, but there is still much to be explored here. Williamson does give the simplest of answers when Zoom states that he is stronger and smarter now, but he also gives demonstrations, forming rocks over his fists, and messing with Wally’s mind, indicating some sort of telepathy. Then, there is the Still Force. This was recently mentioned in an issue of the Justice League, so it’s nice to see all of the creative teams playing well together. Zoom pursues this, the last of the Forces, in this issue, but he comes up short, thanks to the Flashes. Stated to be the antithesis of the Speed Force, though, it could be the most powerful of all of the new Forces. Some fans might scoff at the introduction of these new Forces, but, honestly, the Speed Force and its purpose has never been fully fleshed out, so this shedding of light on the inner workings and its connections to the larger universe should be welcomed, much in the same way as when Geoff Johns introduced the full emotional spectrum in Green Lantern.
The art by Porter in this issue is amazing, as usual. He is really back at the top of his game, and he excels at drawing the Flash. His art doesn’t always lend itself well to every book, but he is at home on this title, so hopefully he’ll be sticking around. Hi-Fi also does fantastic work, really making the different Forces come alive, glowing with energy in every panel. If there is a must in a Flash book, it’s having a great colorist for all of the lightning and energy being constantly thrown around.
Overall, if you’re a Flash fan, you’re going to love this book. It’s an extra-sized anniversary issue, and it’s packed with a great story, lightning-fast action, and major developments for the Flash characters and lore. It may not end on a happy note for everybody--which is fine, because the story is far from over--but there is a page near the end of the book that will make old school, Wally-era fans squeal with joy. That’s a guarantee. Buy this book for that one page alone, and you will be grinning from ear to ear.