Written by: Robert Venditti and Van Jensen
Art by: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, Andrew Dalhouse, Jeromy Cox and Pat Brosseau
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 30, 2015
This is an issue of endings. One, the finish of the Professor Zoom storyline, is something I've been eager to read since putting down the last issue, but the other is a thing I've been dreading. I am talking about Brett Booth leaving this book and I don't care what Reddit says, I love his art. Maybe it's an acquired taste, but I've got the fever and the only cure is... You get the idea. The Flash is one of my favorite books and while I usually sound like a crotchety old man on our podcast, things are always a little brighter when I get to talk about it. That should be proof enough of my fandom and while I'm sure that will continue on, I will certainly miss the sense of speed and crazy panel layouts that Booth brought to this book. So, it's with an odd combination of excitement and sadness that I dive into this issue. Was it a great ending and sendoff? Let's find out...
The issue starts where we left off last month...The Flash, Professor Zoom and Henry Allen outside of Barry's childhood home. Last issue ended with Henry learning that his son is the Flash, but the reader get's a lesson this month...a history lesson. You see, this issue jumps between the current fight between Zoom and Flash and a couple key moments in history...past and future. Future History? Are you insane or just a dummy? Yes. Yes I am.
Robert Venditti and Van Jensen have been doing a good job of making Professor Zoom a really good villain, but while we have seen the bad things he's done, we haven't really been shown the whole reason why. Sure, he's told everyone that will listen that he's trying to stop the Flash from destroying the future, but we finally see what he means. It's very personal and...actually it's just personal.
Through flash forwards, we learn that Eobard Thawne is from the future and that he had it pretty rough. His father was convicted for murdering his mother when he was a kid and when the Speed Force selected him, all he ever heard was how great the Flash was. So, he did what any potential superhero would do, he became obsessed with destroying the Flash and everything about him. I guess that's really not what a hero would do, but you have to give Thawne points for creativity.
After name dropping Rip Hunter and the Cosmic Treadmill (so awesome!), we know how he traveled back in time and through his monologuing and flash backs we see what he did in the past. Yes, Zoom killed Nora Allen and forced Henry to take the fall. It was all part of his plan to put Barry on "even ground" and prove he was the better man and Speedster. The thing is, Zoom kind of made Flash into what he is and how people will look at him in the future. Epic Fail!
Of course, this issue drops the mind bending time travel stuff for bits to show Zoom and Flash involved in some good old fashioned pugilism. That's where Flash gets his ass handed to him over and over...until he figures just what makes Zoom so powerful. After a quick Hafele-Keating lesson, Barry lets loose and puts Zoom down.
The issue ends with Thawne being arrested for kidnapping and murder, but he doesn't let that get him down. His plan of ruining the legacy of the Flash still seems to have worked...or did it?!? I guess we'll have to see how that plays out in the coming issues.
I really liked this issue and arc, but it wasn't for the "shocking" reveal of Nora's true murderer. I liked it because it showed that Thawne is, was and will be an egotistical lunatic who only became a villain because he is a cry baby. That may not sound like a super villain to you, but you are wrong. I am sorry about that. He is the worst kind of villain, one who never will be satisfied. We see the future disaster he raved about was all his doing, but he still blamed the Flash. In fact, every time he failed, he blamed the Flash. His only reason for living is to erase the Flash from existence and he traveled through time to do it. Of course he failed and that one he can truly blame on the Flash. I do want to know if Henry just walked free after this, because there is still a couple things he is guilty of, one of which was the murder of that guard at the beginning of the arc. I know that Thawne kind of did it, but I can't see how Barry could ever get evidence to prove it. Back to jail, Henry!
Now I get to tell you about how great Brett Booth's art is in his final issue of The Flash. If you are a hater, just leave now because I loved the way this issue looked. Booth didn't jump through hoops to prove he's worthy, he just kicked ass like he has from the beginning. The issue has a great sense of speed and some really cool full page spreads. I am really going to miss him and can't wait to see what he brings to Aquaman in a couple of months. I admit that I'm a Brett Booth fanboy and I wear my fandom on my sleeve for everyone to see. Maybe I'm biased, but I don't care. That's one of the only benefits of running your own site! Really, it's one of the ONLY benefits.
Bits and Pieces:
Robert Venditti and Van Jensen wrap up the Zoom arc in a satisfying and kind of open-ended way. While Thawne didn't win the battle, he may still have won the war, but only time will tell. Brett Booth didn't "save his best for last" because he gave his best on every issue and this one is equally awesome. I will miss him, but I'll continue being a big Flash fan and am sure Jesus Merino will do a good job.