The Flash #65 // Review
Barry Allen has been having a hard time lately, but he has yet to hit rock bottom until now. Check out just how far down rock bottom is in The Flash #65, written by Joshua Williamson, with pencils by Rafa Sandoval, inks by Jordi Tarragona, and colors by Tomeu Morey, which concludes “The Price” story arc. Previously, while on a quest to discover more about the new Forces (Strength, Sage, and Still), Barry learns that his former sidekick was murdered while seeking help for his post-traumatic stress. Flash becomes personally involved in the investigation of Wally West’s murder, along with Batman, while long-time love interest (and Wally’s aunt), Iris West, grew angry. Unfortunately, Flash and Batman get drawn into another investigation involving an attack on the Flash Museum. Gotham Girl is revealed to be the attacker, a recent, and very powerful, ex-ally of Batman’s. She is, however, being manipulated by an unknown figure promising her the return of her similarly-powered brother, who died after his super abilities destroyed him. Facing the same fate as her brother, and becoming increasingly mentally unstable, Gotham Girl took an extra dose of the serum that gave her and her sibling their powers, becoming more potent than ever.
While Gotham Girl has seemed to be just a convenient reason for Batman and Flash to get together and hash out their problems, so far in this arc, Williamson finally manages to make her more central to the theme of the story with this issue. Being brought under the wing of Batman, and subsequently having her life endangered, sparks Barry’s guilt over losing Wally, which makes for high tension between the two. It also sheds light on the odd practice superheroes have of taking on young proteges, and putting them in highly dangerous situations. She’s still a paper thin Supergirl knockoff, but at least she ended up serving a purpose in the end.
While the character of Barry Allen suffers this issue, the role of Iris West continues to grow exponentially more complicated under Williamson’s pen. She hasn’t been “just” the love interest of the Flash for some time, but Williamson has decided to run with the idea of Iris being the best thing about Barry Allen, and he’s getting much mileage out of it. Allen has made a mistake after mistake lately, and Iris has tried her hardest to put him back on the right track, reminding him of the hero he could and should be. Unfortunately, Flash has been off his game, and their relationship has suffered dramatically. Now, with Wally dead, they’re both devastated, and it’s going to be interesting to see what this couple looks like when they come out the other side of their grieving process.
Sandoval continues to polish up his Flash style, and he’s getting better with each issue. In this chapter of The Price, he even got to stretch his acting muscles a good bit on scenes with Barry and Bruce having some pretty intense arguments, proving that he’s not just good with the rapid action beats. Given time, his talent could leave a memorable mark on this series. Luckily, he’s in good company, with a solid team behind him. Tarragona’s inks and Morey’s colors never fail to elevate Sandoval’s pencils to astronomical heights, proving their worthiness on a book that is very dependent on having the right people in its art department.
In the end, this issue was mostly able to make up for the first three issues of the story having severe pacing issues, if only because Williamson was able to stick his landing and tie everything together nicely. Yes, the arc as a whole does come off as just a tie-in to the Heroes In Crisis event, but its conclusion manages to majorly affect the status quo of Flash’s life for the foreseeable future, and it hints at some exciting things to come in the “near future” for the DC universe.