Zoom has manipulated Wally into destroying the force barrier, something that was holding the Speed Force at bay, along with others like Strength and Sage. Now he’s transformed himself into an all-new Flash and he’s out to show the speedsters how to be a real hero. Barry and Wally will have to run faster than ever if they want to catch up to Hunter before he recreates the world in his own twisted vision.
The culmination of Flash War pulls out all the stops. There’s a race through Hypertime with glimpses at other timelines from the past and the future and the complete opposite as Kid Flash, Iris, and Commander Cold are adrift in time itself. In any case, this is an epic storyline that’s coming to a close with some big ideas that will shape future Flash stories for some time.
Zoom’s revelation that there are other forces out there falls a little flat. I had mentioned in my review for The Flash #49 that it feels like a weak rehash of the different colored Lantern Corps. In this case, Zoom pulls out the Strength Force and the Sage Force to fight the Flashes with his fists and his mind, respectively.
I do understand where it’s coming from though. Despite having it course through his veins for years, Barry has little to no idea what the Speed Force actually is, where it came from, or how it really works. Writer Joshua Williamson is attempting to provide it some much needed context, although it feels like it’s just putting it into a discarded mold in this case.
Fortunately, the aspects of the other forces aren’t harped on for too long. The main focus is on stopping Zoom before he can do any more damage to the timeline. This becomes exponentially more difficult as Wally has to not only race after him, but race past the idea of his children. He can see glimpses of them in Hypertime and he wants nothing more than to run to them. This is torturous to watch as his heart breaks at unfathomable speeds.
Although they’re all wearing similar costumes, there are some very fine points that distinguish Zoom, Barry, and Wally. Artist Howard Porter makes Zoom look like a mad man with a freakish grin and cold emotionless eyes. It makes him look inhuman which is the exact opposite of the other speedsters. He delights in hurting these two men and he has so much more in store for them.
The race reaches its apex with an incredible attack from Wally. He harnesses everything he’s learned and witnessed across two lifetimes, unleashing a wave of emotion that shows how he’s truly the fastest man alive. Where Barry tries to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, Wally never runs alone. He’s shared that burden with others by letting them into his life and that’s how he’s ultimately going to be successful.
Zoom represents absolute chaos and we see that in the panel layouts themselves. The Flash #50 opens in an amazing double-page spread with Zoom delighting in the havoc he’s caused while other smaller panels spread out around him like a fan. Each one shows how he effortlessly dispatches the speedsters.
The battlefield of Hypertime is as bombastic as it sounds. It’s like running through solid energy, pulsing in ever-changing colors and speeding past the Flashes as they push themselves to the limit. Colorist Hi-Fi delivers this amazing splash of color across the page with the speedsters flying through it and lightning trailing behind. This could have been a barren wasteland of nothingness, but instead it’s this burst of life and energy.
Flash War ends rather abruptly, but not without consequences. It’s impressive to see how Williamson has crafted over 50 issues of this (including the Rebirth one-shot and Annual) to get to this point. This very much feels like the beginning of something completely different and there are plenty of exciting new toys to play with. I’m personally very excited as this finale touched upon my absolute favorite speedster so I’m most definitely staying put for the next arc to see how that’s going to play out.
The one frustrating part of all this is that Barry is still having trouble trusting those closest two him while in the field. The two Wallys have proven themselves time and time again and Barry keeps treating them like they’re rookies. He’s seen some improvement in recent issues, including this one towards the climactic final battle. In the scheme of things, he still has a lot to learn about working together, which is a little surprising considering he’s on the Justice League and works fine there.