Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Justice League: Darkseid War: The Flash #1 Review and *SPOILERS*

Run, Rabbit Run

Written By: Rob Williams
Art By: Jesús Merino, Guy Major, Saida Temofonte
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 4, 2015

*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

As the English poet John Donne wrote: “Death be not proud, for Jack Kirby hath rendered you as a cross-country skier.” While I think the New Gods are cool, I’ve long felt the Black Racer was one of the silliest of Jack’s creations, a sort of analogue to Silver Surfer but less cool and interesting in nearly every way. Perhaps a little of that Central City magic will help the Racer get hep, as the kids say. We’re going to find out, because Barry Allen has fused with the Black Racer to become the harbinger of Death in this issue of Justice League: The Darkseid War – The Flash! Read on to prolong your life!

Explain It!

As I explained in the review for Justice League: The Darkseid War – Batman #1, I haven’t been reading Justice League: The Darkseid War. You can go back to that review to see my reasons why, but it does put me in the unique position of being able to discern whether these one-shots are comprehensible to first-time or near first-time readers. I mean, I know who Darkseid and the Flash are, and I have a rudimentary understanding of the New Gods’ universe, but story-wise I’m going in relatively blind. And, for what it’s worth, this comic was reasonably accessible. There were some allusions I caught and others I did not, but I had no real trouble following along and all of the pertinent information revealed itself in the narrative. This must be owed, at least in part, to the skilled draftsmanship of Jesús Merino. He does a great job of creating still moments as well as motion, which works well because the Flash gets pretty contemplative in this comic book.

So Barry “the Flash” Allen has killed Darkseid, or the Black Racer killed Darkseid using the Flash’s body, or something. Point is, they are inhabiting the same form and look like an amalgam of the two characters. This allows Barry to see a ghostly vision of his mom, which is enough impetus to get him to split apart from the Black Racer and start running away, but it’s to no avail because the Racer shows Barry his ghost-mom again and it’s enough distraction for the Flash to be overtaken.

While buddied up with the Black Racer, I guess we see a sort of internal dialogue between the two. The Racer is doing his best to convince the Flash that he needs to commit to their partnership despite the visibility of a ring on either of their fingers. He does this by showing Barry a vision of a crowded city street and then kills everyone on it. I’m thinking the Black Racer probably comes across better in writing than in person. He tells Barry Allen that in order to become the god of death, he needs to take one life, which for some reason makes Barry immediately think of Iris West. I mean, I know she can be a nag but that’s no reason to use her to lose your murdering virginity.

Of course the Flash fights against this prodding by the Racer, who then points out that if Flash will not acquiesce to being the god of death, perhaps his enemies Zoom and Gorilla Grodd would appreciate the gift. Flash finally realizes that he can’t escape his fate and agrees to make that one necessary kill—by murdering the Black Racer himself! The tables have turned and Barry chases down the Racer and caves in his stupid face. In doing so, he frees Death from his physical tether and entire planets are reduced to rubble. Luckily, all of that was happening inside the shared headspace of Barry and the Black Racer, because Barry finally knows who he must kill in order to accept his destiny: he must kill his own humanity, and in doing so, probably becomes a major asshole like all of these other pompous New God jerks.

This is a fairly solid story that lacks the same punch as the Batman one, but provides a satisfying read and an interesting enough conclusion. The artwork and storytelling is great (and how about that Francis Manapul cover, huh?) but the fact that the whole issue is a dream is sort of a letdown. This is one I’d say should be pursued by those reading the regular Justice League series, and maybe even fans of The Flash comic book because it does deal with his character and composition. But if you’re looking for some kind of ski instruction, then you’ve come to the wrong book.

Bits and Pieces:

Turns out that becoming the god of death isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, you get a scythe made of lightning and a cool goth-style costume, but you have to work pretty much twenty-four/seven with no vacation or sick days. This comic details a very personal struggle of Barry Allen’s, and if that seems like something interesting then you should give it a look. But if you’d rather the Flash interact with things outside of his grey matter, then you can probably just wait until the next issue of Justice League.

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1 comment:

  1. Found myself holding breath while reading this for some reason. Busting out that scythe, I knew shit was getting real (all in his head yes, but still).


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