In order to defeat the maniacal Paradox and keep him from permanently destroying the time stream, the Flash must find the one man known to have ever defeated him...
...THE REVERSE FLASH!
Barry must travel forward to the 25th century to find the villain and learn the secret of defeating his foe.
But thanks to Paradox's machinations, the future ain't what it's cracked up to be. With that option lost to him, Flash must travel back in time to the one place he KNOWS his greatest foe will be... the night Reverse Flash murdered his mother!
As far as upping the stakes goes, Flash #753 is a humdinger coupled with every time Keanu Reeves has ever uttered, “Whoa!” As if it weren’t bad enough that Paradox is seemingly unstoppable and wreaking havoc on the timestream, now Flash has to locate his greatest foe for tactical support. Of course, bitter enemies having to team up for the greater good is nothing new for comics (or any genre fare, for that matter), but the conviction with which writer Josh Williamson pulls it off is impressive. Add two master artists – Howard Porter and Brandon Peterson – to Williamson’s tightly-plotted script, and you have the recipe for one hell of a thrilling comic.
The real emotional weight of the issue, though, lies in the past rather than the future, where Barry initially travels to find the evil Eobard Thawne. But when he arrives, Paradox has already wreaked havoc to that timeline (creating, wait for it – another paradox, because that’s his schtick), so Barry must then travel back to the only other time he knows Thawne will be – his mother’s murder. It’s genuinely heartbreaking to watch Barry Allen stand silently outside his childhood home, listening to the scene play itself out. Porter paces the scene perfectly, using a nine-panel grid screaming with silence to capture the moment. Barry dares not interfere (notably, Williamson specifically references his past interference that created the Flashpoint timeline, leaving the door cracked for the metaverse concept from Doomsday Clock to continue to proliferate), for fear of making things worse.
The issue could have done without the pit stop during the recent “Rogues’ Reign” storyarc, though, as it just served to muddy the narrative flow for a few pages. Nothing was particularly gained from the sidebar; when I was reading it, I assumed Williamson was going to finagle a means to resurrecting Commander Cold (unceremoniously beheaded by his 21st century counterpart). But no avail. It was a diversion seemingly for the sake of it, a mild blemish on an otherwise stellar issue.
Porter and Peterson knock it out of the park artistically, of course. Both of these gentlemen are at the top of their game; the Flash brings out the best in Porter in particular. Peterson’s style, though, has a strong aesthetic to that inherently suggests motion, making him a vital Flash artist as well. He doesn’t contribute a vast number of pages to this issue, but what’s there sings. I’d love to see more of him on this book in the future.
Flash #753 ups the stakes considerably, and doesn't let off the throttle as it speeds toward "Flash Age's" conclusion. Been let down by the current lackluster season of the CW's Flash? The real deal in comics form is the antidote!
The Flash #753: The Man Who Would Outrun Death
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 7/107/10
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