Spoiler Warning: The following review contains Flash spoilers.
Spoiler Free Summary: A great story on the dilemma of what would happen when there’s a disturbance in the (speed) force, what one would do with these powers based upon predisposed traits, personalities and values. Not too heavy (sticks well within the Teen rating) Highly recommended for those who are fans of The Flash.
My name is your faithful DC Rebirth: Flash reviewer. To understand what I’m about to tell you, you need to do something first. You need to read this summary of DC Rebirth: Flash #1 and #2. There’s a man named is Barry Allen. He is (or was) the fastest man alive. You see, lightening struck twice- first hitting Barry Allen and later on, his friend and co-worker, Detective August Heart. Weird things are happening in Central City (it’s been awhile since Central City’s had a normal day): the Flash, with the help of Kid Flash Wally West and the Teen Titans, are trying to find out why 10 years of lives are gone. Adding onto that, S.T.A.R. Labs was looted, but it wasn’t a typical smash and grab- whoever they were (reveled in #2 as a group called Black Hole) very carefully chose key items. (Ponder a moment why a group who has access to ingredients relevant to speed force calls themselves Black Hole. Because I am.) Both Iris West and Detective Heart encounter Black Hole: Iris escapes from a kidnapping attempt and Detective Heart escapes by getting hit with the speed force. Now Barry and August (who has a cool new look, but hasn’t come up with his cool new name yet) have partnered up to fight against Black Hole and now, to help all those affected in the latest speed-force storm.
Flash and yet-to-have-a-speedster-name August are rounding up those who are using their new speedster abilities for criminal activities. Right now, it’s robbery, but August predicts, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” (Doesn’t it always?) Flash tells August he has to have faith in people. Oh dear, idealistic Barry.
And what does one do with robbers who have powers? Put them in Iron Heights, prison, or otherwise known to Barry as the only museum he will allow Central City to build for him, which is a museum for his losses and failures. Or so he thinks, until one of the guards tells him S.T.A.R. Labs also has him covered in the “where to put criminal speedster” department: an unknown to Barry until now newly formed Speed Force Training Center, run by Director Dr. Meena Dhawan, part of Newton’s Practical Application Department (more on that later in this review). Flash is suspicious of the newly formed department’s intentions- are they training and helping those with these new abilities get used to them, or are they experimenting on them? I think it’s good reasoning, since Flash is just finding out about this now after S.T.A.R. Labs put out basically a Facebook event invite (ok, participants said they found it “on the web”, but think about it!)
The Doctor and Flash hit it off (they’re just talking. ((writer/inker)) puts an emphasis on the work KIDS when he refers to them talking about the center, what maybe caused the storm, and Meena showing off her speedster powers. Barry learns not all of the speed force recipients experience the speed force in the same way. The Doctor can sense speed force around and can track it, which is something Barry can’t do. This brings them to a more personal encounter with a young speedster who is very frightened of her newly given abilities, especially because she can’t control them on her own.
An emotional answer to a science problem? Barry’s good at that. It’s necessary if one doesn’t want a detachment to such an essence.
Which is where Black Hole comes in.
Iris West is clever. Quite clever. She uses the journalist’s “say a fact you think is true and have someone ask how they knew that to confirm it” trick to confirm that Black Hole comprises of ex S.T.A.R. Labs employees and that they were conducting experiments on Speed Force (thanks to Wally West’s quick abilities to steal case files from police stations.)
Flash wants to train those who are using their power for criminalizing so that another Rogues gangs don’t form (which they show in a bar very, very briefly wanting to make a quick exit of Central City with TV news reports of all the new speedsters running around). The Doc says it’s very kind of him, most people would have just written them off.
The three robbers, though, are found dead (and burnt crispy) i their cell in Iron Heights. August, also in the cell and barely alive, struggles out that it was someone who could vibrate through the walls-
and we get our first glimpse of..
..I’m not going to spoil it ALL for you. I have a heart.
I enjoy how writer Joshua Williamson went back to Flash’s concern that he “can’t be two places at once” (in #1) to commenting that with a partner, he now has the ability to be in two places at once. Also, the doctor he meets directing S.T.A.R. lab’s newest Speed Force Testing Center to “help” those affected in the latest storm says she was originally a part of Newton’s Practical Application Department (Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion being every object in motion tends to stay in motion unless another force is acting upon it, the amount of force something has is equal to its mass and acceleration, and for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction–Flashpoint fans)
I’m glad to see good story weaving and clever drops going on here, which is what keeps me reading, along with the fact that I really enjoy the character of the Flash.
A lot of story detail is drawn into the panels and Karl Kerschl’s cover. With the Flash in usual ink and the background characters in blue lightening, it encapsulates the confusion and terror of the speed force storm with the Flash as the eye to that storm.
Carmine Di Giandomenico continues to place the iconic emphasis of colors that makes Flash comics Flash comics- and I notice the Doctor and other speedsters don’t have lightening around them. For a reason?
Pick up your copy of The Flash #3 on sale July 27, 2016 and find out the ending/beginning of #4 I didn’t tell you.
Written by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON
Art by CARMINE Di GIANDOMENICO
Cover by KARL KERSCHL
Variant cover by DAVE JOHNSON
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T