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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
When we last saw The Flash, he became trapped in the very “other realm” that gives him his powers: the Speed Force. Since its introduction, the Speed Force has been displayed differently and inconsistently. Though all interpretations have had consistent traits (such as the concept of time having no meaning), Manapul and Buccellato really bring a new mythology to this mystical barrier. I like it, and it is clear they have a plan on what to do with this.
Helping explain things to Flash (and the readers) is the introduction of the new villain Turbine, a Tuskegee Airman who was sucked into the Speed Force in 1944. Since being in Speed Force for several decades, Turbine has developed the ability to spin really fast. Given his real name being Rosco and his ability to spin, it is pretty obvious that this is a significant update to the classic Flash rogue the Top, which I am sure has met some ire from long-time fans.
I really like this new character, and even though I knew it was going to end with him being a villain, I secretly hoped it wouldn’t. His story is so tragic, and it isn’t as if Turbine is out to do evil deeds. He just wants to go home, which happens to cause huge temporal incursions (such as the EMP blast from the Mob Rule arc that the Flash thought he was responsible for).
Speaking of Flash’s sudden innocence, the discovery that Flash did nothing wrong happened, I felt, a bit too quick for its own good. I feel we just learned that Flash’s speed might cause problems (such as sucking things into and out of the Speed Force at different points in time). Now, we get a “Nope! Just kidding!” revelation. I feel there could have been more story to mine from that. Perhaps it’ll come back in a different way.
We also get our first New 52 introduction of Hartley Rathaway (aka. the Pied Piper). Worth noting is that his, very brief, back story suggests he was a hero vigilante instead of a villain. While it is true that Piper eventually turned over a new leaf in the old continuity, here he never was bad. I’m curious to see where, if at all, this might go. This also explains the flutes in Signh’s apartment from last issue.
Overall, an interesting issue and clearly designed to world-build and expand upon the series’ mythology. I also somewhat liked how Flash didn’t actually succeed in rescuing Iris and the other doomed passengers sucked into the Speed Force. Basically, he failed in his mission. Eh, who cares? We get monkeys next time!
Next: “Trapped in Gorilla City!”