“Use the Force” The Flash #52
Fresh off of Flash War and red-haired Wally West being taken to “Sanctuary” by Superman and Wonder Woman, it is time for Barry Allen to get back to what he does best: running really fast and taking down criminals. If only things would be that easy in The Flash #52. Barry meets up with every Flash from the multiverse to try to figure out what is going on with these new Forces he discovered during Flash War.
It seems like the Speed Force is not the only game in town. The “Strength,” “Still,” and “Sage” Forces were revealed when Barry and Wally broke the Force Barrier. If these new Forces were not enough to deal with, the Trickster has a Get Out of Jail Free card up his sleeve, making Barry team up with a trapped “time-lost” version of Commander Cold! When you are the Flash, things never seem to slow down.
Joshua Williamson has been putting a lot of work into The Flash world here recently. Attempting to re-introduce the old Wally West into this world and now introducing these new Forces, Williamson is changing Barry Allen’s world rapidly. The Flash #52, from a story viewpoint, is a fun issue and actually a pretty good jumping-on point as it starts a new story arc. Barry continues to attempt to get his life back in order as all this craziness continues to follow him around.
I am not completely sold on these new Forces he introduced. They seem to be the main protagonist going forward from The Flash #52. It is starting to lean into that Green Lantern “every color has a ring” territory. Sure, if it is well-written just about anything can work, but giving everything a Force feels like it makes the Speed Force less special. I am still not 100% sold on the Speed Force either, and it has been around for over 20 years.
Williamson does do some fun things in The Flash #52. Having Trickster involved is always interesting and I also like the team-up with this time-displaced Commander Cold. Nothing really crazy or “epic” happens but it is an enjoyable issue.
Christian Duce returns as one of the many rotating artists on art duties in The Flash #52, and it is a definitive change from the previous issue. Duce has a very “superhero” type style, in that the characters are very bold and detailed and every character has that “super-human” aesthetic to them. Usually, I am not a fan of this overall eye-pleasing aesthetic style, but it kind of fits with The Flash #52. It is high-profile; the characters immediately pop off the page and the action is very well depicted and showcased. The colors by Luis Guerrero fit that aesthetic as well. Bright, eye-popping and joyful, they bring a sense of adventure to the pages of The Flash #52.
Everything is not perfect with the art though. There are a few pages with Barry and Iris that are off. The heads look big and/or the hands are too small. Other body proportions seem off as well. They are more emotional scenes and the art kind of throws off what is going on with the distraction of those odd proportions.
Overall The Flash #52 is a pretty solid issue. As noted, I am not the biggest fan of these new Forces. But then again, it does add something new to Barry Allen’s world. The art fits the story well, giving The Flash a good “superhero” feel and delivering some good action. The odd body proportions do drag it down, though. Barry Allen never gets to rest and it is back to the grind in The Flash #52 as new and old threats combine to take down the Scarlet Speedster!
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