The Flash #68 // Review
The original Trickster reveals his master plan in The Flash #68, written by Joshua Williamson, with art by Scott Kolins, and colors by Luis Guerrero, and then...things take a turn for the disturbing. Previously, Trickster was tortured by warden Wolfe while imprisoned at the Iron Heights Penitentiary, but he managed to break out and disappear. Biding his time behind the scenes of Central City’s criminal underworld, he recruited the new Trickster as his protege and began constructing a plan to exact revenge on his enemies. Later, the Flash returned to his home town after being away on a mission, and discovered that everyone was unnaturally, and disturbingly, happy. Being the only “normal” person left in the city, he was soon ferreted out by the cheery citizens and brought back to the Trickster. Now, on the inside of James Jesse’s operation, Flash must figure out a way to stop him before it’s too late.
Much like the past few issues, James Jesse, the original Trickster, is front and center of the story. Even with the Flash being present in most of the book, it’s still Trickster’s arc, and that’s not a bad thing. Williamson treats us to the inner workings of Jesse’s plan, even if it is a little convoluted (what do you expect from the Trickster?), and also manages to tie everything back to his overarching New Forces story with surprising ease. Jesse’s status as a villain being unknown for years, it’s nice to see him back, and more dangerous than ever. With this fresh reinvention of the character, hopefully, Williamson has long term plans for him to stick around and really wreak havoc on the Scarlet Speedster’s life.
The only real negative of the chapter is the massive info dump coming from the Trickster. Not only does he fully explain his wants, and how he’s doing it, but as stated above, he also connects his plan back to the new Forces and the last few arcs from recent months. All of that would be fine, if the readers weren’t getting the information all in one issue, with the Trickster spoon feeding them heavy exposition. Williamson could have easily doled out parcels of Trickster’s plan and Force connections throughout this arc is much more organic ways, but instead, he decided to drop it all at once like a ton of bricks.
Kolins is a legendary Flash artist who has revisited the character many times, so he is on point, as always. Similarly, Luis Guerrero is no stranger to coloring Kolins’ work, making this art team is a well-oiled machine. Kolins is arguably the best Trickster artist of all time, even having co-created the Axel Walker iteration of the character, so he’s the ideal person to draw this story, and is hopefully sticking around to complete it.
Even though a lot is happening in this issue to push the story forward, and the Trickster comes off looking pretty cool, some of the execution is a little clunky and forced. Williamson has suffered from pacing issues before, but more often than not, he ends up sticking the landing in the finale. Cross your fingers that this is one of those times. Either way, James Jesse is getting the polishing up that he was in desperate need of. And, if that’s not enough for you, the horrific cliffhanger of this issue is worth the price of the book alone...