Tuesday, December 26, 2023

The Flash #4 Review


Written by: Si Spurrier     
Art by: Mike Deodato Jr.
Colors by: Trish Mulvihill
Letters by: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover art by: Mike Deodato Jr., Trish Mulvihill
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: December 26, 2023

The Flash #4 takes Wally on an introspective tour of a plane based on pure concept while Irey and Liberty Belle chase down the source of Chad's Speed Force power.

Is The Flash #4 Good?

The Flash #4 is better. Not great, but Si Spurrier turns down the faux intellectualism a few notches to focus on a clear story with direction and purpose. The high-concept artifacts are still present, and clarity comes at the expense of most of the weirder plot threads, but this issue is an improvement over the previous three.

When last we left Wally West, aka The Flash, Wally and Max Mercury warped through planes of existence, courtesy of Wally's unexplained untethering from reality. Bart stayed behind in Central City Park to watch the mysterious anomaly hanging over the park's statue. During Wally and Max's unexpected trip, the two separated, leaving Max lost in some unfindable plane of existence.

Now, Wally disappears to a plane he could find that represents thought beyond the Speed Force... or something like that. While Wally considers the nature of who he's becoming, (slightly older) Irey decides to play investigator to find out how Chad got speed powers. Her research results in a team-up with Liberty Belle, who briefly battles Chad's girlfriend and learns that the Speed Force has been distilled into a drug. The trail leads to a souped-up Rogue.

Do you see that? Do you see what happened there? Si Spurrier delivers an issue with two distinct plot threads that eventually weave together into a somewhat coherent plot, which is how it always should be. Unfortunately, so many of the bizarre questions brought up in the first three issues get ignored, which hurts the mystery(s) established.

What's great about The Flash #4? Spurrier delivers a clear, (mostly) coherent story that pushes the boundaries of the Speed Force and Wally's understanding of it. It's unclear where Spurrier is going with this story, but an exploration of the Speed Force is long overdue, so I'm interested to see where this goes.

What's not so great about The Flash #4? The trouble with trying to make a story too high concept and too (faux) intelligent too fast is that you lose focus. All the questions set up in the previous issue, barring one (Chad), get put on the back burner while a few new ones are introduced. For example...

Why is Irey suddenly two to three years older?

How did Bart know about Chad, and why did he tip off Liberty Belle instead of The Flash?

What is the strange anomaly over Central City Park? Grodd put in a lot of effort to bring it into existence, so now what?

Why did Spurrier tease that Linda was either unhappy about her marriage, suffering from postpartum depression, or both? Why did Grodd think the Flash's marriage had failed?

Why is nobody putting any effort into rescuing the people captured in stasis-not-stasis bubbles?

What's going on with Mr. Terrific, and why is he grudgingly agreeing to kill all speedsters at the behest of a shadowy figure wearing a Bamboo Sun Hat?

Who or what is the Stillness, and what do they have to do with any of this?

Why is Jai going shirtless in the boiler room of his school and getting very upset with a voice from the shadows?



The list goes on and on. The point here is that Spurrier dropped a ton of confusing, unexplained developments in a very short period with no context or hint that it all ties together. The net result is a run that's more confounding and frustrating than entertaining, which should be a writer's #1 goal.

How's the art? Wonky. It's as if Deodato Jr. got together with Spurrier and said, "If the story's going to get weird, let's make the art weird, too." Well, mission accomplished. The character anatomies and poses are awkward, the backgrounds frequently change their aesthetic style, and the overall visual presentation feels disjointed. You could argue that "disjointed" is intentional to match the story, but it's still unpleasant.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Disclaimer:  Weird Science DID NOT receive this comic for review purposes.  We are not trying to become besties with the creators of this comic.  We try our best to write honest reviews so if our scores don't match up with the rest of the "comic book press", it's might be because we are not shills looking for handouts and/or retweets. 
Bits and Pieces:

The Flash #4 is the most coherent issue in a largely muddled and incoherent run by Spurrier. Unfortunately, Spurrier introduced too many underdeveloped ideas at the beginning of this run, so nearly all of it has to be ignored just to find a plot buried under the chaos. Issue #4 is better but not great.



  1. I like the site redesign. Easy on the eyes.

  2. Did Beast World take place in between issues 3 and 4? Supposedly issue 1 took place after the first storyline in Titans (there was an editor note that said so) but this seems to take place after Beast World.