Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Flash #51 Review

Like the Movie "Speed"...Just Slower...and with Less KeanuAlso...Meet Me in St. Louis

Written by: Van Jensen
Art by: Gus Vasquez, Joe Eisma, Guy Major and Pat Brosseau
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 4, 2016

The end of the Flash is coming quick and yes, that is a bit of a pun (I'm a punnist and I didn't even nunnist), but it's also kind of sad.  I have enjoyed Van Jensen and Robert Venditti's time with Barry Allen and while things have been thrown out of whack in almost every book heading into Rebirth, I enjoyed the big #50 we got weeks ago.  That isn't to say that things aren't being rushed, just that Van Jensen is doing a good job of dealing with it.  Seeing Flash deal with something that running faster can't solve is a nice twist and now that we know that the Riddler is behind it all, it makes it even more intriguing.  So, does this issue continue the fun and we get one step closer to Rebirth?  Let's find out...

The issue opens where we left off...the Riddler has revealed his plan to The Flash and the Rogues and even recaps a bit in case you are as dense as Captain Cold!  The Riddler is a man with a brain, a propensity for riddles and apparently a whole lot of free time on his hands.  His long con has put him in control of the flying deathbots flying all over Central City and when he dismisses the Rogues, it's just him and the Flash, mano y mano.  Well, technically the Trickster is there as well so it's man y mano y Trickster.

That's when the Riddler gives us more of his "Thought Experiment" and I have to say, it was a bit of a let down coming from a villain known for his brain power.  If the Flash runs fast, a whole lot of people will get shot.  Yep, it's a reverse Speed situation here and unless Barry can find some video to loop, there isn't a whole lot he can do.  Come to think of it, maybe the Riddler HAS used his big brain on this one.  He takes advantage of the situation by beating the crap out of the Flash in front of everyone.

I said earlier that I have enjoyed this story, but the one thing that keeps bothering me is what is the riddler's end game.  At points it feels like he just wants to best the Flash while he keeps telling Trickster that they'll be rich which will come from them running Central City.  No matter which of those it is (or any other idea), it all seems like it would be accomplished by the Flash's death.  So, why doesn't the riddler just kill him?  He has the opportunity to do it and just punches him a bit.

He misses his chance anyway when the Pied Piper shows up on a kick ass motorcycle and zips off with the Flash.  Time to start shooting those people, Riddler.  Riddler?  Why isn't he shooting the people?!?  Okay, I'm stopping this review and heading to Central City to start running shit the right way!

I'm back.  It seems that Central City isn't actually a real place.  St. Lois was pretty close, but they didn't have flying drones so I just gave up and came back.  By the way, were you aware that St. Louis is known for it's excellent Italian food and actually was the place where the toasted ravioli was invented?  If you ever get the chance, try out the toasted ravioli at Charlie Gitto's, but the one downtown.  It's more laid back there and a little easier on the wallet.  Where was I?  Oh yea...why the hell didn't the Riddler start shooting people?!?

He does tell his favorite story to the CCPD when they arrive on the scene.  You may have heard it...He controls the drones, if they try to stop him they will shoot people. yadda, yadda, yadda.  I'm not buying it one bit.

The issue moves along by showing that the Rogues aren't really a cohesive unit, Henry Allen was "broken out of Iron Heights against his will" *wink* *wink* and the Riddler has Heatwave in a tube in case he has to blow the city to kingdom come.  It all ends with a cliffhanger that seemed like it jumped a few spaces on the game board, but really puts the Flash in a very vulnerable position heading into the finale next issue.  My guess...the Riddler doesn't accept the truth.

This issue sets things up for an interesting finale and I did have a bit of fun here.  However, the whole Riddler thing just doesn't ring true.  He's certainly lost a bit of his game since battling Batman in Zero Year and kind of comes of as a joke.  Not a joker...a joke.  His plan is paper thin and even if he defeated the Flash, doesn't he think Batman and the rest of the Justice League would be on his ass like stink on shit?  I am here to tell him, they would be, big time.  I will still be back next issue to see how it ends and hope things are explained to the point that I'm happy with it.

Gus Vasquez and  Joe Eisma share art duties and if you like a comic that looks like an animated television show, you will like the way this issue looks.  I'll admit it, I was thrown off a bit at first, but once I settled in, I actually started to enjoy it.  For some reason, it really fit the scenes with the Flash and the Pied Piper.

Bits and Pieces:

I am still enjoying this final arc of the Flash, even if this issue was a little off and mainly setup for the finale.  The cliffhanger does make things interesting and while I find the Riddler's plan to be a bit lackluster and far from epic, he does have the Flash in the palm of his hand.  The art is more cartoony than fans are used to, but by the end, I was actually enjoying it.  I will be back next issue with the hope that everything is tied up in a nice, neat ball.



  1. That's usually the problem with people writing Eddie: Each step has to meticulously thought through or he doesn't come off nearly as smart as he thinks (or should be). Unless you're -trying- to play him up as a joke (small scale is where this works) it's an absolute necessity to have some cohesion, to have some endgame with the early steps being a preamble. Often a red herring, preferably. Nigma's a slow burn sort of character at his best, where motivation should be evident but clouded simultaneously to give a sense of mystery and dread.

    Unfortunately while Zero Year raised his cred as a villain astronomically, it also made folks clamor to use him as a flavor of the New 52 nemesis. Which means we fall into the same old pitfalls between this and Secret Six: he's a man-child deserving of our ridicule rather than a calculating individual whose downfall is the parameters of his plan, the rules and the inflexibility that comes when they're broken down as his tricks are discovered.

    I was really looking forward to The Riddler taking on The Flash, too.

    1. yea, I wish it came a bit more intelligently set up and epic.

  2. Yuck ... this was an awful issue. I'm literally speechless about the end reveal and how lazy it was and art in the second half is so childish it felt like DC Superohero Girls. Rebirth can't get here soon enough. Riddler deserves better.

  3. The car that Piper blew up was illegally parked, so no worries there. Sucks to be that guy.