As you probably guessed from our quarantine binge reading guides, I’ve spent my social distancing digging through some utterly fantastic older books. It’s made evident the stark differences in tone between eras of comics. One thing I’ve noticed is the really good creators knew what the dominant tone of the era was, and knew how to use that to the story’s advantage – there was certainly complexity in the characters in those books, but the tone was more straightforward. There was a lot less gray in the character motivations; good guys were good, bad guys were mostly bad, and when one of them switched sides, it was a big deal. I’ve been getting that same vibe off of Joshua Williamson and Rafa Sandoval’s latest arc in The Flash.
Paradox is a good addition to Flash’s rogues. The best bad guys reflect something about the hero back to themselves, and Paradox is all about Barry’s place in the DC metaverse. He was created by energies unleashed in Flash: Year One, lost his family because his powers turned him into a monster, and was eventually jailed in the future, where he brooded and blamed Barry for his fate. When he was released, he went back in time to start turning the world on Flash, and it’s so effective that Barry needs to team up with his greatest villain to win.
Williamson’s monster run on The Flash feels like it was building towards this, and the payoff so far has been worthwhile. Sandoval’s pencils on this issue are great. The layouts and figures all make the story move – Barry and Thawne don’t really slow down at all during the issue, and you don’t feel like you get a break because of how they move through the panels. Jordi Tarragona’s colors make the pages pop and crackle on every page. This is just a solid top to bottom Flash book.
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Here’s what DC has to say about the issue:
“The Flash is on the run as “The Flash Age” continues! Paradox accomplished his mission to make everyone see the Flash as a monster—and now Flash and the Reverse-Flash are trapped in a 25th century Central City that hates the Flash family and legacy. Now a wanted man, Flash must turn to an unexpected place to get help to return to his own time!”
By the way, we don’t usually talk about variants here, but that Rafael Grampa cover is ridiculous. It’s beautiful.
You should get that one if you can.
For more on “Flash Age” or who else Barry should team up with next (Golden Glider again!), stick with Den of Geek!