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This week, Nick and guest host Cousin Charles discuss the latest season of the fastest man alive, The Flash! What do they have to say about this Flashpoint-inspired season and about its big mystery villain, Savitar? Come check it out!
To listen to the episode, click here or on the image below!
Talk about a sophomore slump. The first season of The Flash was light, fun fluff. It wasn’t game changing, but it was enjoyable with enough character beats to keep me invested. The second season took a crap on all of it making it such a trying experience by the end.
Where to begin? The season starts out okay with an interesting premise introducing the concept parallel worlds (allowing for a creative way to keep Tom Cavanagh on the show), the classic comic book character Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears), a terrifying new villain known as Zoom, and a new love interest for Barry (Grant Gustin). All good stuff that made for a promising season of ideas.
But the show’s writing slowly began going downhill at a steady pace. First, they ditch Barry’s girlfriend in the most awkward and unconvincing way ever. Then the team of supposed scientists continue to make awful decision after awful decision. They are supposed to be smart, but they cannot concoct a scheme to take down this season’s villain when they have him directly at their mercy. These people are stupid. More on that later.
The biggest sin is in this season’s villain, Zoom. We are never given a clear idea what exactly he wants. Does he just want Barry’s speed because he wants to go faster? Or because he’s dying? Don’t know. It is later revealed that he wants to destroy the multiverse. Why? What does he gain from this? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He kidnaps Caitlin (Danielle Panbaker) for “reasons” and then later lets her go for “reasons”. His motivations and desires are all over the place.
Even more maddening is that the basic idea behind Zoom is exactly the same as the villain from last year. A mentor figure to the team is really the villain who is helping Barry to get faster in order for him to ultimately steal his speed. Did the writers and/or producers not see that they were already repeating themselves?
As mentioned above, these characters are stupid. And Barry is incredibly selfish. The season ended with Barry, feeling bad about himself because his father just died, goes back in time to save his mother from being killed. For starters, this plotline was resolved a year ago. Second, how dumb is Barry?! He knows that if he saves his mom, he is destroying the future. And, on top of that, he should know that changing the past like that has the potential to wipe out existence as it almost did at the end of last season (which subsequently set-up this season’s problems). And even further, it goes completely against the lesson he learned a few episodes prior that Barry needs to work through and accept the tragedies in his life. And finally, did he conveniently forget the time wraiths who go after speedsters for messing with time – the very thing that defeated Zoom?
And don’t get me started on the nonsense “time remnant” plot point or the over-the-top narrative gymnastics/fan service with the John Wesley Shipp reveal.
This show had turned into garbage. There are some bright spots still with some fun interaction between the characters and some good additions to the case. But, overall this show has fallen. People love to give the Batman prequel Gotham a lot of crap, but at least that show is consistent. The Flash’s producers really need to reconsider what they are wanting to do with this series. I’m not going to give up on it yet. I think it is recoverable. Hopefully the third season will give the writers to iron out whatever issues they are having.
In the latest edition of The Flash, the much-more intense, blue-costumed Future Flash catches up to the present day to fix the Speed Force. His plan? Kill his younger self, of course! The issue focuses on the battle between our hero and his corrupt future self with another speedster stepping in to help save the day. Or does he?
It is a fairly simple issue which sort of rehashes what has been going on with the Future Flash for the past few months. Normally, that could be an irritating thing to hear what is going on again and again, but in this case, it sort of works considering that what is happening with the Speed Force and the Future Flash’s motivations has been incredibly muddled. Maybe that was by design, but I know that I was growing frustrated with the lengthiness of it.
The Future Flash abducts his present-day version and takes him to where the Speed Force ruptured. Apparently, the death of the present-day Flash combined will release enough energy to fix tear. Or something. It is one of those things in comics that you just have to go with.
I have to give credit to writers Robert Venditti and Van Jensen in directly connecting this Speed Force tear to the events during Manapul and Buccellato’s run (specifically when Dr. Elias’s monorail crashed). It feels like a natural continuation instead of something that just happened. In the past, I have noticed when a new creative team comes on to a comic, they will junk everything the previous team did to establish their own stamp. Here, it feels like a continuing story, and I really like that they did that.
Before Future Flash can kill Barry (why he doesn’t sacrifice himself is never explained – arrogance on his part, perhaps?), Future Wally appears and battles Future Flash. They duke it out, but in an ironic move, Future Flash accidently kills Future Wally (who was shielding Barry). Wally takes Barry’s energy, dies, and heals the wound in a big explosion. This leaves Wally dead, Barry stuck in the past, and Future Flash still standing.
Sort of a rushed ending and, again, I wish Future Wally would be sticking around. Not only is he a lot of fun to read, but artist Brett Booth killed it with Wally’s costume. I really like that silver and red motif. Hopefully, that design will make some sort of return down the line.
Overall, not bad. It was the likely conclusion and it delivered on its promise of a showdown. I do wish there was a bit more substance to the issue. Again, it was another boss fight. There was more at play this time around than in issue 34, but I just feel like I want a bit more out of it. That said, I am looking forward to the Future Flash in the present day. Will he try to completely take over Barry’s life (even though he is 20 years older)? I guess we’ll find out next month.
Next: The Flash – – All-New, All-Murderous!
Every anniversary of DC Comics’s New 52 has their line of comics do some sort of special event. First it was Zero Issues. Then it was Villains’ Month. Now, DC is having its superhero comics jump five years into the future to tie into their weekly series Futures End. Fortunately, like Villains’ Month, The Flash doesn’t break from its ongoing storyline and actually utilizes the time jump for its own narrative purposes.
Five years down the road, the blue, Future Flash has made it to that fateful day where Wally and Iris get into the horrible car accident he wasn’t there for to prevent (as seen in issue 30). Turns out Reverse-Flash is involved and future Flash snaps his neck, Man of Steel-style. “Present” Flash (who from this point on, I’ll just refer to as Flash) shows up and the two begin to duke it out.
Here is where some of the issue fell apart for me. Future Flash tries to explain to Flash that the Speed Force is broken (something we learn Flash knows about). Then, suddenly, Future Flash decides he needs to attack Flash so he won’t get in his way.
My questions: how? And why?
While there is certainly a lot of confusion going on for Flash, Wally, and Iris, they never gave any indication that they were going to stop Future Flash at all costs. If anything, it seemed as if Flash wanted some sort of explanation to know what was going on. And wouldn’t Flash want to help fix the Speed Force? The fight just strikes me as really forced.
By the end, Flash tinkers with one of Future Flash’s costume accessories which cause a huge Speed Force explosion. It hits Wally which gives him Speed Force powers. Future Flash is tossed back five years into the past (aka “today”) and Flash dies. Wally promises to learn how to use his powers and travel back to stop the Future Flash.
I really like Wally here. He’s older and, obviously, more mature than when we’ve seen him so far. I want to see more of this Wally, but I have a feeling that outside of one or two appearances in the coming issues, we won’t be seeing him again. I would be surprised if we see a young Wally with any powers anytime soon (and I honestly don’t want to see young Wally with powers).
Overall, this issue was more of a set-up for next month’s present-day battle between Flash and Future Flash. And, from what it sounds like, Future Wally will be making a trip too. I’m looking forward to that.
Cover Comments: Since DC did their 3D covers again for this event, I felt it necessary to comment on it. I really don’t think it works this time around as well as it did last year. I partly feel this way due to the cover being too busy with action. I’m not talking about the actual art – that’s fine. More in the fact that not only is it in the 3D format, but the image changes if you move it from side to side (see above picture). I feel you lose some of the effect with both working at once.
Continuity Comments: Okay…this is nitpicky – but keep in mind, I am having fun here. Since the Future Flash storyline has now very loosely tied in with the Futures End storyline, I noticed something that doesn’t line up at all. Future Flash comes from a future 20 years from now where, among other things, he has adopted a blue costume and Captain Cold has died from cancer. In Futures End #0 (from Free Comic Book Day), we see events from 35 years in the future where a very-much alive Captain Cold is working with a bearded Flash in his classic costume. Is this an editorial “oops” or just a case of the future is always changing? I’m not butthurt; I just find these things amusing. Then again, you can also ask why Future Flash is still alive when he killed his earlier self. It is best not to think about such things!
Tying into the current “Zero Year” storyline over in Batman, this month’s double-sized The Flash features a pre-superhero Barry Allen visiting Gotham City in order to help the local police deal with a city-wide power outage. Also in Gotham City is Iris West completing an internship at the Gotham Gazette. The Flash #25 is the story of how they met.
There has been some criticism online with a bunch of other DC titles tying into “Zero Year”. I cannot speak for the other tie-ins, but Manapul and Buccelleto’s combined swansong on The Flash make their tie in work. The connection to “Zero Year” is loose at best. Oh, sure, it takes place during the current Batman story arc, but the story actually told is so incredibly universal that M&B didn’t need “Zero Year” to do a flashback story. Instead, “Zero Year” provided the window dressing for it to happen (and possibly bump up readership while at it).
While the premise is sound and I was looking forward to the issue, I have to say that I was disappointed with the end result. “Starting Line” isn’t a bad story by any means; it was just underwhelming. I guess I had my sights set a bit too high. The story is a pure police procedural. I suppose I wasn’t fully expecting that given that this team has delivered high adventure after high adventure. The sudden switch is a bit jarring.
But even as a police procedural, this story isn’t all that original. I know, I know. There are not many original cop stories left, but everything here was incredibly clichéd. Corrupt cops trying to score some extra cash by dealing drugs with the young, naive cop versus the old, cynical partner. This story hit every trope and didn’t do anything interesting with it. The overall story did not work for me.
On the other hand, the character work here was perfect. Young Barry is exactly how I would imagine him. Overly optimistic, by the book, and trying to do the right thing above all else. This is Barry Allen. M&B get this character. Yes, they added a tragic element to his origin back in issue 0, but they kept him in the boy scout mentality that he’s pretty much had since the 1950s.
I digress. My point is that I like what they did with the character in this story. I also liked Iris and how we got to see the first meeting between Iris and Barry. If I were to criticize something, it is that I never quite understood what attracted Iris to Barry. It is implied through dialogue that there was an instant attraction between the two, but I never really got that. I think this might be somewhat of the art’s fault. Manapul did the back half of the issue, but the first was done by Chris Sprouse. I am not much of a fan of his work. Or at least of his work in this issue. His faces are a bit blank and unexpressive. Tough to get any emotional read off the characters in many panels.
So, this is the end of Manapul and Buccellato’s run on The Flash (happily, Buccellato will remain on the title for three more issues). I wish I took to the story much more than I did. Still, I appreciate what they were trying to do by switching up gears a bit (and to setting the stage for their upcoming run on Detective Comics), but the result was quite disappointing at the end of the day.