Can The Flash learn to harness the Speed Force again before the Rogues get him… and their revenge? Your Major Spoilers review of The Flash #84 from DC Comics awaits!
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Christian Duce
Colorist: Luis Guererro
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Paul Kaminski
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 11, 2019
Previously in The Flash: The Speed Force is out of control, but the Flash must learn to harness it again if he’s to stand a chance against the powered-up Rogues! With the freshly crowned King Cold leading the charge to hunt the speedster down, all hope seems lost… or is it? An unexpected ally and the save of a lifetime comes to our hero in the form of one of Cold’s oldest and most trusted friends! Is this icy betrayal what the scarlet speedster needs to turn the tide?
THE STORM COULD KILL THEM…
As our story opens, Flash, Kid Flash and The Flash of China are painfully slogging through a Captain-Cold (sorry, KING Cold) created blizzard, each wearing a power-dampener to keep them from accidentally touching the out-of-control Speed Force. Thanks to the guidance of Golden Glider, they make it to the lair of Weather Wizard, who has likewise been empowered by Lex Luthor far beyond his usual capacity. The Wizard isn’t happy to see them, attacking and destroying their dampeners, only to reveal that The Flashes can’t actually control their speed powers any more. Glider manages to talk Weather Wizard into holding off on his attack, revealing that the strange ribbons she uses to hold her astral form in reality can also dampen both his weather powers and the Flash’s speed. After a little convincing, Weather Wizard is convinced to help, as he doesn’t want to see the world destroyed. But, in order to do anything, he’s gonna have to help The Flash to relearn how to ride the lightning, with a little help from Heat Wave!
…BUT SO COULD THE SPEED FORCE
I really enjoy Williamson’s character work in this issue, with moments like Weather Wizard ruminating that The Flash family isn’t so different from the bond that the Rogues have or Golden Glider realizing that her brother doesn’t care if the world ends, because he’s gotten what he always wanted. The overarching ‘Year Of The Villain’ plot drags Flash #84 down once again, though, with utter hopelessness in the seemingly never-ending machinations of Lex Luthor and the Legion of Doom. As we enter the eighth month of crossover madness, I just can’t bring myself to face another “Lex Luthor has won and everything is hopeless” issue, and this is no exception. The idea of The Flash having to turn to his oldest foes to re-learn his power is a good one, and I like the return of Avery Ho and Wallace West as junior Flashes, but it just feels like this story has dragged on for too long. Christian Duce’s art is quite good, though, especially the subtle emotions seen when King Cold is cowed by Lex Luthor and when Weather Wizard reveals his plan. The wild-and-crazy Speed Force effects are also nice and different enough from the usual Flash powers to make it clear visually that there’s something very wrong.
BOTTOM LINE: I’M NOT ENJOYING ‘YEAR OF THE VILLAIN’
In short, The Flash #84 is a talented creative team working hard to keep their book’s momentum going under the weight of an ongoing crossover that threatens to crush the life out of their story, and succeeding as best they can, with strong art and writing that could have been so much more interesting without ‘YotV’ branding, earning a better-than-average 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. Still, there’s a ray of hope for The Flash and the use of The Rogues as a makeshift family always makes for good drama, so I think this issue is worth the price of admission. Just imagine Cold with the voice of Wentworth Miller, like I do.
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THE FLASH #84
It's fun to see the hero without his Speed Force, but it's also about time that 'Year of the Villain' ended. There's some good art and story to be found here, though.