The Flash has done the unthinkable: teamed up with his mortal nemesis Eobard Thawne - THE REVERSE-FLASH - to stop the power-mad PARADOX!
But when the Reverse-Flash's plan is revealed, it's too much for the Flash to bear! Can anything stop Paradox, or will the timestream become his forever?!
Here we are at the penultimate chapter of “The Flash Age,” and writer Josh Williamson has not only done a great job of ratcheting up the stakes with each new installment, he keeps the momentum up for the end too. It definitely feels a bit gimmicky for Flash to be forced into teaming up with Reverse-Flash – especially when their partnership ends in a spectacularly obvious way once Thawne’s plan is revealed (and why didn’t Barry ask him about it before they started playing Pinochle with the timestream again…?) – but in terms of basic execution, it can’t be denied that the over-the-top superheroics are just plain fun. Who cares if the Reverse-Flash’s plan was thunderingly obvious and dumb in its simplicity? (On the other hand, for such a supposedly smart guy, Thawne really should have known Barry wasn’t going to let him go through with it. But I digress.)
The Flash has long been the standard-bearer for what the DCU can be, and the limits of reality being stretched to the breaking point in “The Flash Age” are a testament to that. This story is fundamentally a comic book story, and I mean that as the highest compliment. These shenanigans just don’t work in other media. There’s something so purely, joyously absurd about the whole proceedings, readers can’t help but get sucked into it with a big ol’ sloppy grin on their face.
At the end of the day, main villain Paradox is more gimmick than character, but a great gimmick. He has a legitimate beef with the Flash, and a ludicrous amount of power (gained through not-quite-clearly explained means) with which to make his vengeance come to pass. With Williamson’s recently-announced upcoming departure from the book after four years (he’s the only original Rebirth writer still on the book he started with waaaaay back in 2016, and that commitment counts for something), he’s clearly pulling out all the stops for his grand finale, logic or subtlety be damned. Like I said: the keyword here is “FUN.”
The art team of Rafa Sandoval, Arif Prianto, and Jordi Terragona fit the bill well. While not quite as polished as recent series artists Christian Duce or Howard Porter (and to be even-handed, he draws the Flash a bit bulky for my liking), he still lays out a mean page, chock full of energy and wild abandon. He also knows how to utilize page layout to maximum effect, as with this one where Reverse-Flash goes on the attack:
The curved frame at the top and bottom of the page suggests speed, as though readers are facing down a bullet headed straight for them. That’s not a trick I’ve seen a lot, and it works wonderfully. Sandoval may not be considered an A-list artist (through no fault of his own, the vagaries of industry popularity are fickle things indeed), but he definitely deserves this shot he’s been given on an A-list character like the Flash. As for the Scarlet Speedster himself…? This is the most fun this book has been in quite awhile. Readers would do well to enjoy it while it lasts.
Flash #754 may have a couple of blindingly obvious plot holes that exist due to an overuse of gimmickry, but that doesn't stop it from being a flat-out FUN comic. Sometimes, pure escapism is all you need.
The Flash #754: Reverse-Flash Facts
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
Art - 7.5/107.5/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 7.5/107.5/10
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