Flash into the Speedforce
Following on immediately from The Captain Cold Storyline is Part 2: (full in). If you’ve been keeping up with my Flash Graphic Novel Read Through then you know that I regard the series very highly.
Last issue the tension ranked up to a fever pitch with Barry heading into the Speedforce in order to save Iris. Can this arc score another high mark or will this be the first Flash that feels like a dud?
Let’s run in to find out?
(Let’s run in to find out? That’s not a saying, these reviews are getting worse and worse).
The Speed Force
Upon entering the Speed Force Barry is accosted by Turbine. A World War Two pilot who has been trapped in the dimension for over 70 years. He explains to Barry that he is not his enemy and acts as exposition to describe exactly how the Speed Force works.
Instantly I was hit by Manapul’s art. Once again it stands head and shoulders above most comics in it’s layout. Instead of straightforward panels, Manapul is able to take the reader on a dynamic journey that adds subtext to what is going on around the characters. If we are in the topsy turvy world of the Speedforce then we are shown this in the panels. Juxtaposing this, reality is straightforward and more of an orthodox design.
It all seems extremely well thought out and adds a high standard to the books that seldom comics share.
In the real world we are shown glimpses of Barry’s funeral and once again get a closer look at policemen’s perspectives on the vigilante. It remains a fascinating aspect that I’ve never really seen in the Flash till this arc.
Humans have always feared what they don’t understand and I get the feeling that this is the main motive behind the Police Force’s dislike for the scarlet speedster.
They believe that The Flash acts without responsibility. In contrast, in the Speed Force we learn that if The Flash does not run then there is nowhere for the Speed energy to vent. This causes anomalies that allows objects to disappear, explaining Turbines pulling from time.
It adds a weight and drive to Barry’s powers that were never really there before this arc. If he does not run, if he is not The Flash, then the world is in peril. He has been a hero all along, completely unbeknownst to his true purpose.
I’m spinning around, move out of my way
We learn Turbine’s true motives when he explains that he has tried to get home several times but failed. Every time there has been an anomaly thus far it has been due to him.
Barry is of course angry at this fact but it’s hard not to sympathise with the ex-world war two pilot. He has been trapped in the Speed Force for so long, everyone he has ever know is dead and he just wants to get home.
This has always been the beauty of Flash’s villains. They are all human and have reason behind their motives.
Well…I say all human…
In anger Barry drags Turbine into the Speed Force and lands directly in the middle of a battle to the death between Gorilla Grodd and his Father. Gorilla City is now under his command and with Barry being struck with amnesia the tension could not be higher.
The civilisation’s introduction to the New 52 could not be better crafted. We see both the wisdom and cruelty here that really adds depth to the species. Whilst it has glimmers of Planet Of The Apes I have always viewed Gorilla City as a shade of our own culture. There is brutality juxtaposed with kindness here and the city show a balance that reflects our own humanity.
Whilst the elders view Flash as the chosen one, foretold in prophecy, Grodd believes it to be a lie. He takes his rage out on Barry, causing the speedster to remember who he once was. Their battle is epic, if a little short. It does sew the seeds for further conflicts but I wish that it had’ve felt more developed here as it was Gorilla Grodd’s introduction.
Flash frees the city, as we get a hint towards The Weather Wizard in what has been a great continuation of the run.
Rogue’s Revolution has once again continued upon it’s path of delivering a great story for The Flash. Whilst I wish that elements of the issues were slightly more developed there is still a lot to love and take from in this run.
If like me, you thought that The Flash comics wouldn’t be interesting, then you are mistaken and missing out. These are some of the best stories that the New 52 has to offer and shouldn’t be overlooked.