Flash (vol.5) #49 (2018)

Flash (vol.5) #49 (August, 2018)
“Flash War, Part 3”
Writer – Joshua Williamson
Artist – Howard Porter
Colorist – Hi-Fi
Letterer – Steve Wands
Assistant Editor – Andrew Marino
Editor – Rebecca Taylor
Group Editor – Marie Javins
Cover Price: $2.99

Heyyy… my DCBS order (finally) arrived, so we can finally rejoin the Flash War.  I feel like I’m almost definitely going to have to “double dip” on issue #50… I’m sure Comics-Twitter is already chomping at the bit to spoil that… that is of course, if DC Comics themselves doesn’t spoil it in some newspaper over the weekend!

We open with Steve Trevor and Amanda Waller trying to track the racing Flashes across the globe… ya see, at the speed at which they’re running, they’re putting the Earth in one heckuva predicament.  We pop in on those Flashes, who give us a bit of a quick and dirty recap… so, I will too.  Hunter Zolomon promised Wally West that he could save his pre-Flashpoint children is he… get this, breaks the Speed Force.

Barry, being a dude who has messed with the timestream cautions Wally about his pending actions… and so, they continue to run.  This activity does not go unnoticed throughout Earth… and we get cameos from several members of the Heroing Community.

Speaking of the Heroing Community… Steve Trevor has called in the services of both the Justice League and the Titans!  Hey, I guess here’s one way we get to see Cyborg work alongside his pre-Flashpoint pals!  The Flashes continue to run, and Barry finally spills the beans about he and Batman investigating Wally’s return… and the potential “others” he’d learned about during The Button.

As they pass by the heroes, Superman enters into the race… however, finds that he’s not fast enough to keep up!

Elsewhere, Hal Jordan erects a construct wall to stop the Speedsters… this doesn’t go according to his plans.  Wally plows right through the wall, without any concern for Hal’s safety… though, he does know that Barry would save Hal regardless.

Wally appeals to Barry to enter the Speed Force with him.  He knows that between the two of them, they have enough power to smash through without getting “stuck” there.  Also, he knows that they are each other’s “lightning rods”, and only together, they can be sure to remain “grounded” the entire time.

And so… they give it a shot!  Coming out the other end, however… they find something completely unexpected.  They didn’t break through the Speed Force… they broke the “Force Barrier”!

After several KRAKings are heard, the Justice League and Titans collapse.  It’s revealed that Hunter Zolomon wasn’t exactly forthcoming with what the result of this endeavor might be.  Ya see, well… he lied.  He still claims to know where Irey and Jai are, however.  Anyhoo, he needed the Flashes to break the Force Barrier so he could “gain access to what lay beyond”.  He then, using Barry’s original Flash Ring that Eobard Thawne’s had stolen, becomes… the Flash?!

He then demonstrates his mastery of both the Sage and Strength Forces… and promises to kill Barry and Wally to save them from their own terrible futures!

Pretty good… maybe a slight step back from the previous two issues (not as much fan-service, I suppose), but I’m still really enjoying this story.

I gotta say, I’m really digging just how much they’re letting happen here.  This actually feels like “an event”, and we’re not having to pay “event-level” prices… nor have there been skatey-eight hundred prelude/tie-in/frontline issues and series running alongside it!  I feel like the modern fan has been sorta beaten into submission… where we expect every “event-level” story to be some overblown, overpriced mess… which may or may not even come with a conclusion!  Flash War‘s conclusion still remains to be seen at the moment, but I gotta hand it to ’em for keeping the entire event quarantined to this series.

So… about this issue.  Let’s talk about Barry letting Wally risk it all, just to prove that he trusts him.  That seems a bit weird, though Barry seems to be in this odd kinda penance when it comes to Wally.  He was, after all, responsible for the Flashpoint… and forgotting his old sidekick, so his decision-making here is kinda wonky.

I suppose we’ve all been there… going along with a pal’s cockamamie plan just so you don’t hurt their feelings… or because you feel as though you “owe them” your loyalty… but, I mean… I don’t think any of our situations had the potential to split the skies, right?

We get another mention of the “others”, which really scratches me where I itch.  The last “other” was Jay Garrick… so, oooh boy… there might be something really fun on the horizon!

Wally’s still in the “tunnel vision” state he’s been in since learning of Irey and Jai… and I suppose it’s hard to blame him.  I appreciate him mentioning that the children isn’t something he wants to burden Linda with just yet… as he fears/knows that it would only bring her pain.

Zoom is still kinda playing at being something of an altruist here… which is a welcome sight.  Rather than his just being revealed as “horribly evil”, he still feels as though he’s doing something “for the good”.  I’m not totally sure what to expect from this, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if he somehow sacrifices himself… dying heroically to send things “back to normal”.

When I saw the cover, I did kinda groan.  I was afraid the League was going to be the focus here.  I’m glad that they were more background noise for the race… interesting the reveal that Superman couldn’t keep up with either Barry nor Wally.  Wonder if that’s a one-and-done revelation, or the hierarchy of speed going forward?

Overall… can’t call it a “letdown”, but definitely, at least to me… a step back from the previous two chapters.  That might just be due to the lack of fan-service… it might be due to having the League involved.  Either way, this is still (to me) the best DC book going, and I still highly recommend checking it out. 

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