If you haven’t been reading Dark Nights: Metal, The Flash #33 is going to confuse the heck out of you. Barry Allen is working with Steel to use the Anti-Monitor’s cosmic tuning fork to send Superman into the Dark Multiverse to save Batman. That just might be the most comic book sentence I’ve ever written. The twisted versions of Batman from the Dark Multiverse known as the Dark Knights are working against the Justice League and they’re proving to be pretty formidable foes.
The Flash #33 kicks off the “Bats Out of Hell” crossover continuing in Justice League and Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. One quick note on this issue. The solicitation information says that The Flash battles The Red Death at the Fortress of Solitude. It’s actually The Murder Machine and The Devastator.
If you’re digging Metal, you’ll enjoy this issue. My only qualm with it is that it totally ignores most of what’s been going on in The Flash. Barry is running around seemingly without any adverse effects to the Negative Speed Force that is coursing through his veins. This definitely takes place after that happens, because Iris makes a reference to the fate of the Reverse-Flash. Crossovers happen and this is a major event in the DC Universe, it just feels like it was thrown in here to have a tie-in and doesn’t do anything to further the main story in The Flash at all. From the looks of things, the title will pick up right where issue #32 left off with the next one.
This issue features the Justice League ramping up their efforts against this insane evil that has come out of nowhere. They’re spread out around the world and even in space, but the Dark Knights are at least one step ahead of them which makes this a difficult task.
Artist Howard Porter gives this issue the scale of a massive, world-spanning tale. You get the immediate feeling that there are some major things in motion here and time is of the essence. Just seeing the cosmic tuning tower is enough to put this story in perspective. That is a device that commands respect and trepidation.
This is especially true of the opening pages featuring Superman and The Flash racing around the globe to build up enough speed to send the Man of Steel into the Dark Multiverse. When Superman breaks on through to the other side, his body breaks apart, like he’s unraveling due to the sheer force he’s exerting. Colorist Hi-Fi gives the character a yellow hue, as if he’s turning into pure energy.
The Flash #33 is worth the price of admission for an incredible full-page spread where Barry is pulling into darkness. Pieces of his life, past, present, and future are shown like pieces of a broken mirror falling around him as he’s plunged into the shadows. Porter did a tremendous job here and I wonder how many of these images are possible futures or hints at what might come.
If you’re reading Dark Nights: Metal, The Flash #33 is a must-read. I have a love/hate relationship with this because I prefer event comics to be more self-contained without relying on crossovers or tie-in issues to tell the full story, although this was a pretty cool way to kick of a side-story and I’m not sure where else it could have ran. It doesn’t gel with the current Flash continuity all that much, but we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming with the next issue.