Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Flash #88 Review and *SPOILERS*


Written By: Joshua Williamson
Art By: Howard Porter, Hi-Fi
Letters By: Steve Wands
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 12, 2020

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

To say that I was disappointed with the previous issue is an understatement. As with all of our comics in recent years, The Flash dragged it audience back to the status quo, kicking and screaming. It’s so frustrating to get invested in a storyline just for the writer to say, “just forget that happened because we have to have things back to normal”. As far as I’m concerned the stakes in Williamson’s run has been completely removed, which is actually quite a feat. Williamson’s run has actually had a lot of longstanding effects. The New Forces, the breaking of the Force Wall, etc. There have been a lot of things in this book that would normally have effect upon the rest of the DC Universe. However, with this last issue taking away those stakes, I can’t help but think that Williamson’s run with this character will end in the exact same way. I hope I’m wrong but until then, let’s jump into this new issue and see where it takes us.

We begin our issue with The Flash running through Central City. This time though the inner monologue does not belong to Barry Allen but rather the new villain of this arc, Paradox. He immediately tells us that Flash isn’t a hero to him and then we get a flashback. We see a father playing in the street with his family and Barry accidentally bumps into him as it begins to rain. The family returns to their home and the man begins to head up to his lab as his wife stops him. She shows him a picture that his son drew at school of a monster and some parents have raised concerns after he told their children told them that time travel would create a paradox that would kill them all. The man agrees to talk to his son in the morning and head up to his lab. He has been studying the time stream for most of his life and he finds that reality is changing around them but they can’t even tell. That night is the night that Barry Allen is struck by lightning. At the same time, the man’s machines begin picking up the readings and he finally sees the multiverse.

The man begins working day and night to follow his research, even ignoring his family for most of it when The Flash fights King Turtle in the events of Year One. When he and his family go to watch the battle, they get a little close and he suddenly starts to disappear. It isn’t painful but it fills him with fear. His family don’t notice him disappear and when opens his eyes again, he finds himself inside some kind of time wasteland along with a few others. He and his fellow survivors begin walking toward a mountain on the horizon as the time stream begins to change them all. They come across some ships that had been caught in the stream and the man begins to dismantle them in order to create his lab in this new place. Being in the storm allowed him to become closer to the multiverse but the others weren’t so lucky. They began to change but the man had built a tower to free them. The tower works but it is revealed that it has sucked the life from the fellow survivors and the man knew it would.

Now connected to the time stream, he was able to see the entirety of The Flash’s life but he knew he really wanted to return to his family. However, when he gets the chance, he has become so changed by the time stream that his family don’t recognize him. In fact, they fear him as his visage now seems to be that of a monster. The man flees to the future where he hopes to start a new life but is quickly met with conflict. He fights back but is eventually confronted by Eobard Thawne and arrested. It is revealed that Paradox is not talking to himself but rather to Godspeed. He tells him about how he was imprisoned in Iron Heights but once the Force Barrier was destroyed, his cell was damaged just enough for him to escape and now he has his eyes set on The Flash. He then vows to take the Flash down and expose him as the monster that he is. This is where the issue leaves us.

I don’t want to call this issue basic but it certainly isn’t anything special. We’ve seen this issue many times before. It’s a basic origin story about a man who becomes obsessed with one aspect of research and eventually finds himself turned into a monster because of that obsession. Of course, he also blames the Flash for his misfortune. It’s not exactly untrue but that remains to be seen. Honestly though, this issue has almost no impact at all. Normally issues like this come after we’ve already seen the villain and gotten to know him a little bit. Once we have a handle on his character, we usually go back to see how he came to be this way. But Paradox hasn’t done anything yet. Future Flash seems to blame things on him but overall, he’s just a name to the reader and now we know what he looks like. The issue falls flat and I have no desire to see more of him. That’s a bad thing considering this is the first issue of this new storyline. Let’s hope that I’m wrong and Williamson provides us with some great storytelling that makes us want to read more but until then…

Bits and Pieces

This issue gives us the origin story of our new villain Paradox. However, since we know basically nothing about him, it is incredibly dull and feels very basic. As readers, we’ve seen this type of story hundreds of times. Unfortunately there is nothing unique enough about it to drag us in and we have no context for this character so it doesn’t even give us more information about a character that entertains us. Instead it just a bunch of information thrown at the reader without really meaning anything to us.



  1. Thanks for the review, saves me some money. One cool thing; I saw a pic of the "monster" his son drew and, to me, it looks like a monstrous version of the Anti-Monitor. Is it possible that it's foreshadowing some kind of appearance from him? Maybe, maybe not.