FLASH WAR BEGINS RIGHT HERE, AND WHEN IT IS OVER, ONLY ONE WILL BEAR THE MANTLE!
THE FLASH (2016) #47 “Flash War Part 1”
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Howard Porter
Letters: Steve Wands
Cover Artist: Howard Porter & HI-FI; variant by Francesco Mattina
Publisher: DC COMICS
What You Need to Know:
Following the events of “Perfect Storm,” in which Barry placed his own desire to regain his powers above the mission to defeat Grodd, the tension between Wally and Barry is at an all-time high. Wally continues to deal with his fractured memory, a side-effect of his having been erased and hidden from the timeline. And as if all that wasn’t enough, a pre-Flashpoint Hunter Zolomon has declared war on the Flash Family, abandoning his previous mission of making Wally the best Flash that he can be by any means necessary.
What You’ll Find Out:
“Flash War,” an event in five parts, begins with this issue and promises to leave the DCU with only one hero wearing the mantle of the Flash. The opening page seems to be a preview of the end—a final confrontation between Barry and Wally over the morality of using the Speed Force to alter the timeline. As delve into the events that lead to this moment, we see the tension mounting between Barry and Wally in the form a lack of teamwork between the two. Wally, still grappling to gain control over his recovered by fractured memories, lashes out at Barry in a variety of subtle ways, but is interrupted by a Temporal Seizure (as it is diagnosed later) in which Wally is once again assaulted by memories of the post-Crisis/pre-Flashpoint timeline. Following his seizure, The Renegades, a Reverse-Flash task force from the 25th century that is a modeled after The Rogues, arrives to arrest Iris for her murder of Eobard Thawne (Reverse-Flash) way back in The Flash #27.
Wally, only recently reunited with Irish, naturally resists, while Barry, ever the calmer head, tries to talk the problem over. Wally runs off with Iris while the rest pursue in a largely beautifully rendered but unremarkable sequence. Unremarkable, that is, until Golden Guardian (the Golden Glider analog) reveals that she is a Yellow Lantern and uses her ring to bring forth an army of Reverse-Flashes modeled after the particular versions that have haunted each of the three Flashes present (Wallace’s father, Thawne, and Zolomon).
As Wally succumbs to yet another Temporal Seizure, which Commander Cold diagnoses and explains as damage to the nervous system caused by splintered memories resulting from time travel or changes in time, the Renegade attack is called off long enough for the entire team to agree to go with The Renegades and sort everything out, including treatment for Wally, in the 25th century. Unfortunately, Wally is intercepted by Zolomon and taken to what appears to be a decrepit Flash Museum, where Zolomon, another post-Crisis/pre-Flashpoint refugee, begins to assemble the pieces of fractured memories for Wally, including the loss of several other speedsters from time, including Max Mercury and Bart Allen (Impulse, Kid Flash, and one-time Flash), but most notably, Wally and Linda Park’s two children, Jai and Iris. Zolomon approaches as a long-time friend wishing to restore Wally’s family, but his end game will clearly be more nuanced.
What Just Happened?
This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for, and it did not disappoint. While this issue was by and large set-up and recap for what is to come, the pacing and action delivered by Williamson and Porter were perfectly on point, fluidly moving from each moment to the next, relentlessly assaulting readers with stunning visuals and emotional/nostalgic appeals. By the resolution of this arc, readers should have a better understanding of the relationship between the pre- and post-Flashpoint universes and the bearing that the Rebirth banner has on uniting or separating the two.
Final Thought: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times—everybody should be reading The Flash. Doomsday Clock may be getting all of the hype, but the role of this series and the outstanding work being done by Williamson and the gang cannot be overstated.
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