Iris West has been taken to the 25th century to stand trial for the murder of Eobard Thawne. Barry, Wally, and Wally tag along. When they arrive, OG Wally finds himself in a different part of the Flash Museum, face-to-face with the costumes his two children wore. These are children that Wally has no memory of, but have been removed from the timestream due to Barry’s actions after Flashpoint.
I was wondering what would ultimately drive a wedge between Barry and Wally to lead to “Flash War” and The Flash #48 lays it out in no uncertain terms. It is absolutely heartbreaking to watch Wally try to piece this information together. He had a life and a family. All of that was ripped away and he doesn’t even remember them. As his memories start to rush back, reminding him of times that don’t entirely fit with this timeline, he turns on his mentor and he’s rather justified.
Barry has gone back in time a bunch over the years. In his attempt to save his mother, he went way back and stopped Reverse-Flash from murdering her, only to severely alter the timeline. Why can’t Wally do the same thing to save his kids? We know why this isn’t the right thing to do, especially since it’s Zoom that’s whispering in Wally’s ear to give him this idea, but it doesn’t make it any less gut-wrenching.
This was Zoom’s plan all along. It strikes to the heart of the Flash Family and could potentially split them all up in a huge time storm. That’s some next level super villain planning right there. We get an understanding of how he manipulated the time cops to put everyone right where – and when – he wanted them.
Speaking of “family,” Barry throws that word around a lot in The Flash #48. It doesn’t carry as much weight as it should given his actions over the past few arcs. He’s been selfish and has pushed away those closest to him, trying to carry an ever-increasing burden on his shoulder. Barry has gotten a little better as of late, but he still has a lot of work to do if he intends to keep this family.
Artist Howard Porter kills it on this book. The opening page is flashback to Wally training with his kids that is filled with hope and love. It helps that this issue dropped right before Father’s Day. You flip the page only to see Wally in shock, holding his hand up to a glass display case showing his kids’ costumes hanging their like empty husks. You just want to give the poor guy a hug.
We go from this somber moment to all-out speedster-on-speedster action, first with Wally fighting Zoom while the villain explains the situation, then with Wally encountering Barry. Porter intersperses some of these scenes with shots from the past, quickly giving you an idea of the shared history with these pairings. This gives some context even if you are a new reader.
Colorist Hi-Fi gives these smaller panels a light blue shade, like we’re getting glimpses of the past at super speed. Lightning crackles around them as the Flash whizzes by.
The confrontation between Barry and Wally is epic. The background basically fades away, both literally and figuratively, as these two speedsters go at it in a haze of red and multi-colored lightning. You get a real sense of just how fast and powerful the two of them are. Barry may be holding back a little as he’s still trying to reason with his protege, but Wally is going all out. His kids’ lives are on the line here and that’s worth the very large risk that comes with what he intends to do.
Flash War most definitely heats up in The Flash #48. Writer Joshua Williamson moves the plot forward with leaps and bounds, mixing powerful character-driven moments with all-out action. It’s a civil war in the Speed Force and we’re only just getting started.