The Flash #6
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico and Ivan Plascencia
Lettering by Steve Wands
Published by DC Comics
'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
There’s something incredibly familiar about the current storyline of The Flash. The notion of a powerful speedster attacking other people with access to the Speed Force is a narrative that found its way not just into the "New 52," but into the CW series of the same name. It would be a problem if Joshua Williamson wasn’t taking to the Flash corner of the DCU with such joyous abandon, ripping through the arc at a rate of knots.
On one level, this issue is a straightforward piece about Barry racing against time to find out the identity of Godspeed and stop the newly-created speedsters from meeting the same fate as his new love. Yet major revelations come to light regarding Wally West’s burgeoning powers, the relationship between Barry and Iris, as well as the trainee speedster August Heart. It’s all a double-bluff, of course, as this seemingly simple storyline comes with the big reveal about the nature of the villain. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about life alongside Barry Allen, when everything seems to be going too well in his life, it’s time for script to be well and truly flipped.
Hints are dropped throughout this issue that connect Meena’s disappearance at the end of the last issue to Barry’s own demise during Crisis on Infinite Earths, one that he admits is an impossibility. The perpetual sense that we are learning little hints that form part of a bigger story are what keeps us coming back to The Flash month after month, and while we haven’t quite returned to the points dropped in the Rebirth one-shots, we can totally see how Joshua Williamson could get us there.
Carmine Di Giandomenico and Ivan Plascencia’s highly stylized artwork may not be for all tastes, but it contains an inherent fluidity that’s essential to any series about the fastest man alive. Every panel actively crackles with a brightness, and even when Barry is still in contemplation of evidence, floating HUD elements populate the page to maintain an energy. The artists even get to give their own take on on George Pérez’s classic death scene from the aforementioned Crisis in a single panel, and it’s a testament to the art team that there are even more electrifying (quite literally) pages that follow. Wally’s red lightening fills half a page, and the final page smack-down is a blaze of yellow and red.
That final cliffhanger is potentially something that avid readers will have seen coming a mile of, but the beauty of Williamson’s world-building is that it still feels kind of exciting to get to this point anyway. Even if the story pieces seem somewhat familiar, they are being put together with panache, and after three-quarters of a century that’s an impressive enough feat for a character.