Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Flash #81 Review and *SPOILERS*

Eobard Strikes Again

Written By: Joshua Williamson
Art By: Scott Kolins, Luis Guerrero
Letters By: Steve Wands
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 23, 2019

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Last time I reviewed this book I stated that I felt like things happened but they felt empty and I’m standing by that. As I open this new issue and flip through the first pages, I remember all the things that are happening at the moment in this book. Honestly, it’s a bit disheartening. In reality, there is a ton of things happening in this book at the moment and none of them really feel like a big deal. Maybe the part with the Rogues feels big but that is because it has the benefit of the yearly event behind it and all that build up makes them feel like a bigger deal. The rest of the book, all the stuff with Hunter Zoloman seems very lackluster. This is especially disappointing because Williamson has shown himself to be a very high quality writer in the past with this title. I just wish that this most recent issue felt that way. However, perhaps this issue will bring that gravitas that I’m looking for. Let’s jump into this issue and see where it takes us.

We begin where we left off with Hunter Zoloman in combat with the Black Flash inside of the Forever Force. Barry feels his injury but he isn’t as injured as he should be due to being in the Forever Force. As Zoloman and Black Flash fight, scenes from their pasts show up and Hunter reveals that he has been doing everything in order to fight the Black Flash and defeat the embodiment of death that has haunted him his entire life. Despite having an initial advantage, Hunter eventually gets overpowered and Barry has to come to his aid. Hunter begins to turn his anger on Barry but Barry shows him something in the Forever Force that changes Hunter’s mind. It is revealed that Eobard Thawne had meddled in Hunter’s life and caused the very events that destoyed his future. Barry and Hunter race off and Barry comes up with a plan to fix the force barrier and asks Hunter to help him just as Black Flash reappears hot on their tails.

We catch back up with Wally West and Avery as they are spying on the Rogue’s hideout in the former Iron Heights Penitentiary. They brainstorm plans about how to proceed in this situation but Wally notices that Golden Glider has disappeared. Just at that moment, she reappears and confronts the two of them. The two start to race around but are soon met with the full force of the Rogues. Back in the Forever Force, Barry and Hunter are still running from Black Flash when Hunter finally realizes what he has to do. He is going to sacrifice himself to the Force Barrier in order to repair it. Since he’s the only one who has begun to collect all four of the forces, he’s the only one that can do it. Barry tries to stop him and find another way but Hunter tells him that this is what Flash’s do. They sacrifice themselves in order to save the day. The Force Barrier is repaired as Hunter does just that.

With the Force Barrier repaired, the Black Flash turns it’s anger upon Barry and Barry races to flee the Forever Force and hopefully trap the Black Flash inside of it. We see scenes of Barry fleeing the Black Flash interchanged with scenes of Kid Flash and Avery dealing with the rogues. Our speedsters then begin to feels something strange happening with the Speed Force and then all three are suddenly struck by lightning. Back at the Flash Museum, Iris talks with Steadfast who has returned to her from his captivity in order to give a report on what’s going on. However, he looks to the sky to see the black clouds forming. He immediately realizes that something is very wrong. They flee back into the Museum when there is a sudden explosion. After the dust settles, Iris finds Avery and Kid Flash in the wreckage. The sky turns green and we see the symbol for the Legion of Doom appear in the sky as the Rogues make their move. This is where the issue leaves us.

With so much happening in this book, you would think that the stakes would feel really important. However, this issue continues with more of the same. A lot of is happening but it all just feels very rushed and unimportant. The cliffhanger from the previous issue is shown to not even matter as Flash heals from seemingly nowhere and is basically explained by the phrase “you know… comics!”. Even though a MAJOR thing happened in Hunter sacrificing himself in order to fix the Force Barrier, this issue feels kind of slow and more like an issue getting us to where we need to be for the Rogues storyline instead of giving the time needed for the storyline we are currently in. In addition, I said last issue that while I am a fan of Scott Kolins, I didn’t feel as though his art style really fit this book very well. Unfortunately, I have to double-down on that statement. Scott Kolins is a great artist but I don’t know if it was just the past few issues but I do not think that his art fits this book at all.

Bits and Pieces

Flash manages to have so much going on and yet also makes the reader feel as though none of it matters. This issue feels like it has been more preoccupied with setting up the Rogue storyline that is yet to come rather than finish the storyline we have been dealing with for the past few months. It is a huge disservice to this book and this is a lazy issue. Perhaps inner workings of the universe is to blame for the sorry state of this issue but regardless of the reason, this issue is bad.


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