Sunday, May 24, 2020

Flash: Fastest Man Alive #5 Review

Air Guitar (Almost) Included

Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Clayton Henry
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: May 20, 2020

Gail Simone has been giving Flash fans the most serialized story of these Digital First books, and I have been enjoying it.  It has been fun, exciting, and feels both classic and fresh at the same time.   I can see why DC Comics had this one in the Walmart 100-page Giant since it's a cool way to get new readers into the Flash.  While some of the other stories have had a rough transition from Walmart to Digital-First, Gail Simone's story keeps racing along, standing tall against the "real" books as they hit the shelves.  Does this finale keep pace?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with Barry Allen filling the reader in on the sitch, as he falls out of the Speed Force into a stampeding herd of buffalo.  We know that Reverse-Flash is the big bad, but chronal vertigo is the obstacle of the moment, making these buffalo something he can't just run away from.

It's easy to deduce that all of this is taking place in the Old West and that usually means a visit from Jonah Hex.  I am a Jonah fan, and Gail Simone knows what's what.  The Flash barely gets through introductions, however, before Eobard shows up and spoils the party.  I hope Jonah wasn't planning on competing in any sack races shortly because he is now officially on the disabled list.

We continue with the standard Reverse-Flash mustache-twirling, "I hate that you're so popular," "I'm going to kill your loved ones," "You look crappy in red."  While you could say it borders on the cliche, it is classic stuff, and Simone shows that she is not just going through the motions by adding a bit to avoid a paradox with Eobard. It is all mute, though, since Barry can stop whatever (and whenever) Reverse-Flash is up to, thanks to Shift's hero turn last issue.  So, what is there left to do?  Race, of course!  

Barry and Eobard fight as they both are flung back and forth through time.  Gail Simone uses it to show she knows a little about DC Comics history, and really, I never expected to see Anthro in a book this week!  Then for icing on the cake, we get a little Bill and Ted-like time travel fun, and really, that is a must in my book.

The issue ends with Barry using his head, and his fists, to save everything and everyone he loves from Eobard.  That's not all, however, because Simone finishes things up by giving Flash fans something they don't get much nowadays... The Flash smiling.

I liked this entire story and am sad to see it end.  Gail Simone did such a great job juggling the big moments and action, with the fun and jokes I also love from Flash.  The Flash seems stuck in a split personality deal in the regular monthly books.  Brooding Barry in his solo book and jokey Barry in the Justice League.  Gail Simone rightly combines both, and this story is all the better for that. 

Of course, a lot of what Simone is doing wouldn't hit as hard if not for Clayton Henry's art.  It is excellent, and I hope he had as much fun drawing the classic characters in the issue as I enjoyed looking at them!

Bits and Pieces:

Gail Simone and Clayton Henry wrap up their Reverse-Flash story this week, and I was impressed.  I know some readers looked at these repurposed Digital-First books as a stop-gap during this shutdown, but this Flash book deserves more props than that.  This book can stand with Flash's current run, and when Joshua Williamson leaves after his 100th issue, I wouldn't mind seeing Gail Simone take over.  


1 comment:

  1. Couldn't agree with you more,Jim. This series a pleasant surprise. It's the most fun I had with the Flash in a while. I do wish Gail Simone had more time to develop the ideas in these issues. That being said I had the fun and they remind me how much I miss her writing DC Comics. Maybe she might show up to to write Flash proper ,who knows who crazier things have happened