Ride the LightningWritten by: Joshua Williamson
Art by: Neil Googe, Ivan Plascenscia and Steve Wands
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: August 10, 2016
With every issue of Joshua Williamson's Flash that I read, I become more and more a fan. It doesn't hurt that I am both a big fan of the Flash as a character and Joshua Williamson as a writer and also that Williamson is lifting the veil a bit about what he is doing with Barry and his world. While I complained that the earlier Rebirth issues were full of recap and catchup, I realize now that they were also filled with some pretty kick ass setup that is already paying off in spades. Now that we have the Speed Force storm and it's new Speedsters in full effect, the future looks even brighter and yes, I will be wearing shades. So, does that promising future start now and will I continue wearing my 90's wrap around shades like a cool ass Jose Canseco? Let's find out...
The issue starts off with Barry telling the reader how much he loves being a teacher to the new Speedsters and I have to say, I may like the idea of it even more than him! Barry is one of those characters that is just so damn nice, but since the New 52, pretty damn lonely. It's so nice to see him amongst his new peeps, smiling from ear to ear.
Williamson gives us a little Godspeed catch up while Barry explains that he's not just training these Speedsters, but investigating them as well. So, who is Godspeed? I have my theories, but I ain't telling...just yet. Actually, I won't tell because I hate looking like a dummy when I am wrong.
Meena shows up then and has some interesting Speed Force news. The Speed Force isn't bonding completely with the new Speedsters and while she doesn't fully know what that will mean down the line, it does explain what happened with Godspeed and the three guys he killed. It also explains the connection that Barry and Meena are feeling...kind of.
August shows up next and it's good to see he is on the mend. Him and Barry go through some double talk whispering about work, healing and especially Godspeed. I didn't think August was Godspeed from the get go and since I'm now fully convinced it isn't him, it will probably turn out to be him in the end. Kudos to Williamson for making this a fun mystery to keep the reading guessing at.
Continuing with everyone in Flash's life showing up to talk to him, Iris arrives with information about Black Hole and Dr. Carver using the Speed Force as a weapon. The key thing is that Dr. Carver and his men have a "sample of the Speed Force" and I'll admit, I have no clue what that really means. I am sitting here trying to wrap my head around it and really can't. Oh well, it does push the story forward as Meena's power is to detect the Speed Force and her and Flash are off to find the bad guys.
The Flash and Meena find Black Hole's HQ...really, really fast. I'm talking one panel fast! Speaking of fast, we quickly get Dr. Carver's back story before his life's work backfires and turns him into...I really don't know what the hell it turns him into! Some sort of energy infused, Speed Force Hulk tornado?!?
After Barry tries and fails with the Luke Skywalker approach to turning bad guys good, August shows up in costume with two very interesting Speed Force students and it's game on. That's appropriate because it really is less of a fight than a game of Speed Force tag and really, as it goes on, it seems like Barry, August and Meena are having the time of their lives. They do end up defeating Carver, but it looks like any evidence that would prove if he is Godspeed or not was probably destroyed in the fight. Oh rats!
After a really quick peek at what Wally is up to, it's back to Speed Force High and Barry is loving life being a teacher. He's also a bit smitten with a certain faculty member and does a few things that made me cringe...because when these sort of things happen in comics, nothing good ever comes from them. Oh Barry, why'd you go and mess a good thing up?!?
I liked what this issue gave us, but I was a little down with how Williamson did the giving. The whole Black Hole bit felt super rushed and after building Dr. Carver up to be the possible big bad, he was defeated in a rather silly way. In fact, silly is the word that I would use to describe him at this point. A silly, little man with a silly, little plan. That being said, I think that Williamson obviously was only using Carver as a red herring, but also as a way to poke fun at the string of Flash villains who all lined up to steal his Speed Force powers in ridiculous ways. If I had to guess, this issue was Williamson using some slight of hand to distract us while the real magic trick is going on where we least expect it.
Neil Googe provides the art this issue and it's a big departure from usual artist, Carmine Di Giandomenico. I was not a fan of his Flash (especially his face), but everything else looked good and by the time the big fight was happening, I was enjoying it. All in all, though, it was a drop down from what we've been getting and I hope that Carmine is back next issue.
Bits and Pieces:
This was a fun issue and that turned out to be both good and bad. I love seeing Barry in a happy place and could read a whole arc with him training these new Speedsters. However, Black Hole and it's leader turned out to be less of a threat than I ever imagined and in the end, we are back at square one on the Goodspeed front. The art was hit and miss this issue, but the story was good enough to keep me fully on board and excited for next issue.