Written by: Robert Venditti and Van Jensen
Art by: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, Andrew Dalhouse and Pat Brosseau
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 25, 2015
This week is the penultimate issue of both the Zoom Crew story and Brett Booth's time on The Flash. Yep, you read that right, Brett Booth will be leaving this book after finishing up this arc next month and I am one upset man. Since starting this site, Booth has been one of my favorite artists and I have really enjoyed his run on The Flash. I'm sure that opinion isn't making me a hit on Reddit, but I have a few words for the haters that inhabit that dark pit of the internet. However, before I tell them to fuck off, I should probably remind everyone else about what happened last issue in this book. Well, Professor Zoom got his hands on his Freddy Kruger/Speed Force sucking glove and made quick work of Magali's powers all while the Flash got everyone out of the power dome that had trapped him and the Central City PD. It may have been obvious that Flash was a hero, but it didn't seem to matter to Captain Frye, who blamed the Flash for just about everything bad that happened. It's all part of Zoom's plan to destroy the Flash...the person and the myth. Zoom's plan already feels like it's coming apart at the seams a bit, but the excitement is ramping up. Does this issue set up the book for a great finale? Let's find out...Wait, I forgot what I was going to say to those guys on Reddit. Oh well, on with the review.
The issue begins with Frye once again blaming the Flash for destroying his Precinct and "nearly" killing half of the CCPD. Listen, I know that Frye has some issues with the Flash, but him demanding to arrest him is a little forced and over-the-top. He did just save all those people that Frye claims he nearly killed and has been a pretty good hero to Central City over the years. Barry even begs Frye to work with him like they always have, but by disarming the SWAT team there to take him in, Barry has just given him another reason to do what he's doing...The Flash is too powerful to be allowed to run around free.
This is actually the only real issue I have of this whole arc. We've seen this cliched story of governments not trusting the overpowered supers a hundred (thousand?) times, but here it doesn't ring true to me. This distrust and downright hate just hasn't been setup enough for it to be believable. Then you throw in some baddies that obviously hate the Flash and don't care about destroying the city and it seems ridiculous that Frye doesn't agree and join the fight with the Scarlet Speedster. Maybe if Zoom's plan involved more muckraking of the Flash's good name in the present it would have made more sense.
Speaking of Zoom, he shows up right on cue with Folding Man, Block and Roscoe. The fight is on, but before all hell breaks loose, we check in with Magali. She is worse for wear, but manages to use the last of her powers to break Henry Allen and herself out of Zoom's HQ. Again, giving Magali enough juice to break out was forced and we get a bit of foreshadowing when Selkirk (remember him?!?) begs them not to let Zoom get back to him. If you have to say it Selkirk, you know it's going to happen!
The rest of the issue mainly deals with Flash versus Zoom and his Crew. Actually, after taking Block out of the fight, Flash goes one-on-one with Zoom, himself. This is where Zoom pretty much scraps all his planning and just shouts out his evil endgame to everyone...including his Crew. If that doesn't prove that Thawne played them all, Magali shows up to continue the Zoom is an ass party. Don't worry, after this issue, we all are invited.
This is where the story takes the turn I was waiting for, but with surprising results. Flash kind of teams up with the Crew versus Zoom, but before that can really pan out, Thawne scoops up Flash and Henry and...well, zooms off with them. Sorry about that. They end up at a very familiar house with Thawne trying to tell Henry who the Flash really is. I don't know which was funnier, Zoom trying to get Henry to catch on or Henry seeming oblivious to it all. It looks like he finally figures it out as the issue ends, but after watching Zoom spell out his centuries old plan to anyone who would listen, I don't know why he just didn't announce, "Hey everyone, Flash is Barry Allen". The lesson of the issue...don't ever tell Professor Zoom a secret.
This issue is setup for the arc finale next month, but I give kudos to Robert Venditti and Van Jensen for changing things up a bit. I figured this issue would get us close to the point of Zoom's betrayal and the finale would just be one big fight. Instead, the betrayal and the big battle seem to be behind us and the finale looks like it will be a more personal affair between Thawne, Flash and Henry Allen. Sure, I expect the Crew to get involved and I'm guessing that Zoom escapes with Selkirk in the end, but the ramifications of Henry finding out Barry's secret is what I want most of all.
I talked above about Brett Booth being one of my favorite artists and this issue didn't change that. Booth, Andrew Dalhouse and Norm Rapmund are such a great team and wherever Brett is headed, I can only hope they go with him.
Bits and Pieces:
This issue sets up next month's conclusion in a way that I didn't see coming. Instead of lining everything up for a bully beatdown, Venditti and Jensen set up a very personal story between Barry and his father. Of course, Zoom and his very upset Crew are still involved so I still expect some fists to be flying and I can't wait to see it all. Brett Booth and the art team do a really good job of giving this issue a chaotically fast and out of control feeling and I am going to miss them. At least we get one more issue and I can't wait to read it.