Written by: Van Jensen
Art by: Jesus Merino, Paul Pelletier, Scott Hanna, Tony Kordos, Wayne Faucher, Guy Major, Pete Pantazis and Pat Brosseau
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: April 20, 2016
I don't know the behind the scenes machinations over at DC, so I don't know why this big #50 issue was delayed, but I do know that I've been looking forward to it. Well, it's finally here and that means we get to see what the heck happens with Flash now that he's been arrested...by the Rogues! Just that sentence sounds so cool that I'm just going to skip my usual long winded intro where I kiss ass and forget names to get right into my review. Was this issue good? Let's find out...
Van Jensen does not waste anytime at all, opening with Flash being taken in by Captain Cold and the Rogues. Well, that's not entirely true...they may have done the capturing, but it looks like Captain Frye will get the credit, unless Iris, Wally, Henry Allen or plain sanity stop him before all this gets out of hand.
While all this has been going on, the true villain has yet to be revealed. We do see him (in the shadows) as he discusses a bit of his plan with Trickster. Remember, it was this shadowy figure who set Trickster up with the way to catch and hold Flash and now he shows he has a couple more tricks up his sleeve. We already knew he had Heatwave, but he also has set up his own Amanda Waller-esque way to keep Trickster from getting any (non?) crazy ideas.
I have to admit that up until now, I really have felt like the villain behind this whole arc has been a bit too inconsequential. I think it's because Jensen (and Venditti) haven't given us enough information so everything that has happened to the Flash just doesn't seem connected fully to him. This little scene does start to remedy that.
The story continues at Iron Heights where we get to see a couple of old friends who may not have any love for Flash, but owe some favors to someone who does. Actually, one of them owes a favor, the other just wants to clear his head. However, both of them are cool shout outs to Jensen's time on The Flash and even if you haven't been reading, they still look cool and kick ass. Maybe too much ass!
This all leads to a very cliched, generic and telegraphed moment...that I loved. While all hell breaks loose in Iron Heights, Barry saves Frye and the guards around him and when Frye asks him why, he shrugs and tells him, "It's what I do". Like I said, cliched...but perfect for the character. The issue continues with what you'd expect...Flash trying to save the day, but Van Jensen shows that the mystery villain isn't the only one with a few tricks left.
While I wish that we would have seen more of the Iron Heights prison break, we stay with Flash as he runs into the Rogues. While they have their code and all, they still hate the Flash and love money so it's no surprise that they try to recapture him. It's also a bit of a surprise with how easily they succeed, but that's when the plan I wanted to see more of is finally revealed. It was a long con and while the end game seems a bit underwhelming after all the setup, Jensen shows us the evil doer's identity and it is a character I love and a pretty shocking reveal. I won't say who it was, but from his dialogue, he may be a James Ingram fan. I hope Rebirth doesn't change that.
The oversized issue continues with a backup story that seemed to me like Van Jensen making sure he finished what he started. It shows Wally West understanding the Speed Force and where he stands in all of this craziness. It involves time travel, another speedster (kind of) and even what seems to be a hint at the first storyline in Flash's Rebirth and more. It's more lighthearted than the main story (including Joe Eisma's cartoony art) and sets up Wally going forward and I really liked it. I wish we would have seen more of his time at school because it really looked like a cool setup for a Teen Wolf (the movie, not the TV Show) type story...just with "Chunk", not "Chubs".
Overall, I really enjoyed this issue even if I wished we got to see more. I understand that Van Jensen is leaving stuff on the table for the series to end before Rebirth, but that doesn't make waiting any easier. This entire issue, including the backup, boils down to heroes being heroes and the bad guys being bad and if that's not enough for you, I actually feel a little bad for you. Flash is a guy who runs real fast, but in the end, I just like seeing him as a good guy and we get that here.
I am a huge Brett Booth fan and at first, I had an issue transferring over to Jesus Merino's art on this book. I guess it's happened because I really liked the art in this issue. I mentioned that I missed Booth's Girder, but that's about it. Everything else looked great and really kept the intense action flowing nicely.
Bits and Pieces:
The Flash #50 was delayed and while that sucked, it gave me a little more perspective into these "big" issues. This is one of my favorites even if it doesn't tie things up completely. Van Jensen uses it to show why fans love the Flash and why I have really enjoyed his time on the book. While I wanted to see more, Jensen gives readers a huge reveal and sets up the book for before and even after Rebirth. Well done and recommended.