The Flash has no legs! Or so it appears.
Surprise! The Flash still has legs. The illusion is being created by Trickster, who is utilizing the Sage Force to a) make the Flash think he has no legs and b) cause Central City's populace to run wild with an anger stemming from their manic desire to retain their happiness. But the truth is, that anger-induced riot is just a distraction, so that the Rogues - newly freed from prison - can rob the city blind for Trickster!
Trickster, however, has other motives - namely, impressing his parents. Or possibly murdering them.
Flash #69 brings writer Josh Williamson’s Trickster opus to a close, and all in all, it’s a fairly predictable affair. Starting with: no, the Flash didn’t lose his legs. As I stated in my review of the last issue, if you thought Flash had lost his legs, you need to read more comics! Other pedestrian affairs include Trickster having mean parents who drove him to a life of crime and the Flash having to choose between the greater good and stopping a single villain. It’s not a terrible issue by any means, but it certainly falls into the “been there, done that” category.
There’s also a narrative thread about how happiness needs to be real and can’t be faked – pretty boilerplate after-school special sentimental goop. It’s one thing for Barry Allen to need a kick in the pants after all his recent moping (since issue 50 to be precise), but it’s another to resort to such saccharine, predictable tripe. As for the Sage Force? I’m over it. I’m over all the new forces, which are essentially MacGuffins wrapped in a Geoff Johns-inspired foil that aren’t particularly intriguing or interesting in and of themselves. It’s one thing to want to add to the Flash’s world but it’s quite another to force new aspects in but to so poorly define them. Right now, the new forces amount to little more than vaguely-defined Things wedging themselves into Flash stories as a means of moving the greater narrative forward – but at this point, I’m not really sure Williamson knows what that greater narrative even is.
I wanted to like this story. I really did. Throughout Williamson’s run, he’s been at his strongest when playing with the already-established players in Barry Allen’s world – so a Trickster story should have been a home run. But by shoving the Sage Force into the mix in such a ham-fisted way (not to mention giving Trickster such a groan-worthy by-the-numbers origin vis-a-vis his parents), the opportunity was completely missed.
The story, though, has been buoyed by Scott Kolins’ strong, Eurocentric art. To a certain generation of Flash fans (ahem, yours truly), he is THE artistic standard to beat for portraying the Fastest Man Alive.
Too by-the-numbers to be impressive, yet too tame to really run with what it's got working for it, writer Josh Williamson's latest Flash issue strives for greatness but winds up tripping at the finish line.
The Flash #69 – Going Out With a Bang (in Theory)
Writing - 5.5/105.5/10
Storyline - 5/105/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 6/106/10
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