Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Flash #4 Review

Ride the Lightning

Written 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.



  1. I'm pretty much on the same path in terms of how to feel on this issue, a few things though: If Godspeed does turn out to be August I'll be mightily annoyed as I've come to enjoy the friendship between him and Barry, secondly a little nit pick I had was that at the start of the issue (and I might have taken it wrong) didn't Meena say that if two of this group of speedsters ran side by side that one would absorb the others speed? Yet there are several times where speedsters in the issue run side by side, can you clear this up for me Jim?

    1. I also really like Barry and August's friendship...and yes, two (or more?) Speedsters using powers near each other causes issues

  2. This seems like a different reasoning applied to the plot of the tv show. I'm not complaining though, this was fun and light hearted.

    1. it was okay...I do like that Joshua Williamson seemed to poke fun at the usual villains that Flash gets by having Dr. Carver taken out easily.

  3. This was a down issue for me ... just when I was used to and loving the stylized art it changes back to pre rebirth plain and I had horrible flashbacks of those Riddler issues. My guess for Godspeed at this point are August and Mena both which are unappealing as villians to me but after Barry's ending bones I'm leaning toward the later of the two.

    1. down for me as well and the art was a big part of that.

  4. At least we are not getting mopey Barry anymore. Also, the training panels had me very intrigued. A police force of Speedsters would be awesome.

  5. Feels like Godspeed is the new alias of Kanye West's jailed father because having two reverse Flashes is too much plus the look of monorailed Kruegerish Danny was too feh. If the writer has enough chutzpah he will go with that plot but I doubt it. Before you shot me down for behaving KKK or Hitlerlike there is one Wally for me and that is the real one the new black kiddo should get his own name. There is a conspiracy DC wants to replace the original Wally with Kanye in the long run bit by bit.

  6. I don’t think that Meena is Godspeed, I think she is a red herring. She’s the obvious choice since she can track the speed force. It has to be August, and with the power of time travel, I checked.
    It just seems odd how they still don’t have a “code name,” he showed up where Godspeed first attacked, and if you go back through the issues, there are subtle hints where August mentions how being in 2 places at once would really help. In this issue, Barry says “I thought...Having help would allow me to be in more places at once. But instead nothing has changed. I’m still missing things right in front of me.” I think right there was another hint that August is Godspeed. He even brought two of the speedsters with him to fight Dr. Carver. I think his actual intention was to take their speed.
    I thought it was funny that Barry said “Because of our connection with the speed force, I can tell Meena is angry.” Really Barry? You couldn’t tell by her facial expression that or tone that she was angry?
    I’d be curious to know what type of technology the Black Hole is using. Meena mentions that it isn’t S.T.A.R. Labs equipment. I’m also curious about what Dr. Carver means by him stealing the speed force sample from the Gods. I am glad that afte Dr. Carver returned to normal, it looks like the Speed Force healed some of his forehead.

    1. Jim from the Future: Williamson never ends up explaining a lot of his speed force nonsense