The Flash #58
After several consecutive arcs of Barry not quite seeming like the Barry Allen we know and love, The Flash is back with the "Force Quest" arc! Barry and Iris are off globetrotting in search of traces of the new Forces in order to understand how and what they are. The journey leads them to Badhnisia to start (FLASH FACT: Badhnisia, a fictional nation located in the South China Sea, is where Johnny Thunder was first introduced to his genie-like Thunderbolt) exploring a seemingly secret history of powered individuals linked potentially to the new Forces.
Things take a turn for Barry and Iris, as they explore a several hundred year old church and encounter a pair of thieves going by the name Gemini who also seem somehow connected to the new Forces (although Barry seems to have mostly missed that fact). After Gemini escape, Barry decides to take the Wally approach to the Speed Force and run until he feels something, which leads our duo to Gorilla City, only to find they weren't the first ones there.
I’m happy to announce that the Flash Funk is over! While the majority of this issue was exposition and set-up, there is an energy about this issue that I cannot deny. The notion of Barry and Iris outside of Central City, just going on an adventure, is incredibly appealing. That sense of predictability is gone. I don’t have a clue where they’re going after Gorilla City– I just know that I’m ready to follow. Where the book has been cold and stale lately, that tone is replaced here with a distinctly National Treasure sort of vibe, with history and secret histories taking center stage.
There are frequent call-outs to DC history, starting on the first page with Barry referencing “Infantino High School” and “the corner of Waid and Johns” that gives this arc a sense of a connective tissue looping all of the Flash lore into a whirlwind adventure. As an added note, Letterer Supreme Steve Wands actually nailed the PINYIN (a system of romanization of the Chinese language), getting the tone markers for XIE XIE correct, a detail that most will not notice, but shows the care Steve puts into his craft.
Barry Allen may be "out of step" but The Flash is back on its feet after a rough couple of months. "Force Quest" has all the potential to put this series right back among the elite DC books.
The Flash #58: All Around the World
Writing - 8.5/10
Storyline - 9/10
Art - 8.5/10
Color - 9/10
Cover Art - 9.5/10
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