The Flash: Savage World Review (Volume 7) By Deffinition
The Flash: Savage World is a book that I have been eagerly anticipating. After seeing The Future Flash travel back in time to destroy our hero in ‘Out Of Time‘, I wondered how the story could get any better. Ending with a crazy cliffhanger that saw present Barry dumped into the Savage World of the Speedforce, without his powers, I’m desperate to see how the story turns out. Building different scenarios in my mind I’ve had a brilliant time concocting all of the ways Barry could escape, return to the present and save the day.
But can the book live up to my imagination?
After hearing mixed reviews on this Volume I am slightly anxious to see how it will pay off. Especially after the stellar predecessor. Will this book deliver on the hype or, like most New 52 stories, is it doomed to disappoint?
Let’s find out!
A day in the life…
After sending present Barry Allen (who I will now call Red Flash) into the past, Future Barry (who I will now call Blue Flash) is now free to take his life. Made young by the Speedforce he seamlessly fits into his Red Flash’s Life and the first chapter is a refreshing look at how appreciative a villain can be when they win. Now living the life that he never had with Patty Spivot, everything seems to be going his way.
Juxtaposing this, Red Flash is at ‘The Nexus‘, a point in the Speedforce where all time exists at once. In a brilliant call back to Crisis On Infinite Earths, Red Flash must deal with dinosaurs, killer robots and futuristic cave people all whilst trying to get back to the present. It’s all out War there and it nicely balances out the more sentimental aspects of Blue Flash’s new life.
Conceptually brilliant, it’s a refreshing take on a time travel tale and it pits both versions of The Flash into interesting plot threads.
Whilst eventually everything must go back to the status quo, the introduction should be applauded for its creativity and I believe fans of the Scarlett Speedster will love this intro.
Black and Blue
We follow Blue Flash as a new villain emerges in Central City. His name is Overlord. With a distaste for all things electrical, he supercharges phones, tablets and anything with a charge, causing them to explode. One dimensional in almost every aspect he is a distraction to the plot rather than an improvement and I wish that his inclusion had been omitted.
Providing no depth it’s hard to become invested in the villain and it stands out as the book’s biggest flaw.
Mirroring This Red Flash is taken to a Speedforce temple in the hopes of getting his powers back. Betrayed by his guide upon arrival the book becomes very cliched and the nefarious plot by his enemy of course backfires, hurtling Red Flash back to the present. It’s nothing that you haven’t seen before and the wealth of creativity that was within the initial chapters is zapped away completely from this by the book set up to the climax.
I really took a dislike towards the book during this section and it was baffling as to why Robert Venditti, the writer, took such creative leaps in the beginning only to funnel us towards a sub standard ending.
The book ends with Red Flash returning to the present, his guide following him and Blue Flash sacrificing himself to take down the new threat. Jarring to read, the art and pacing make it hard to savour many of the moments and due to this, they lose impact. I found it difficult to tell exactly what was going on and before I knew it the plot was back at Barry’s apartment faster than the Flash himself.
Unable to look at Barry anymore due to his murderous future self, Patty leaves the speedster. This should have had weight to it but it is completely void of emotion. Hurried through the story seems to want to get rid of it’s an emotional high point in favour of teasing the next storyline. A full splash page of the Reverse Flash as the stories finale sum up how shallow this story is as a whole. It’s baffling that Venditti decided to skip the actual character development in order to show off would come down the line. I hate when writers do this. A creator should focus on the story they are telling and not the next one and it is a huge misstep for the creative team.
Purely style over substance this finale is a mess and massively lets the book down. It destroys Barry and Patty’s relationship in a reconcilable way and doesn’t even give the narrative the breathing room that it needs to execute this idea properly. Dismally ending the story I felt sorely disappointed.
After having such an amazing setup I had high hopes for this graphic novel. Failing to capitalise on any of the goodwill from the prior entry, Savage World is a massive anti-climax. Introducing poor villains and losing focus on what made the book so interesting in its introduction, this is a massive step down in terms of quality.
I wanted to see the inner turmoil that Blue Flash was facing and the fear that Red Flash would be haunted by upon seeing what he could become should his morality fail him. These elements are missing from the run, replaced with a by the numbers finale that doesn’t capitalise on any of the prior motifs.
I wanted this to be the best Flash story ever but looking back at it, it’s one of the worst. That’s why it gets a…