Central City Has A Rough Halloween In The Flash #55

by Tony Thornley

The Flash has been DC’s most consistent series since the DC Rebirth relaunch, easily. It’s easy to see why it’s the only series outside of Batman that hasn’t had a significant retooling in that time. This issue continues that trend, while exploring some of the mythological wrinkles we’ve been introduced to recently.

A huge part of that consistency has been the creative team. DC has smartly paired Joshua Williamson with a fabulous stable of rotating artistic newcomers and legends. In this issue, Flash legend Scott Kolins joins Williamson, with Luis Guerrero providing color art, and Steve Wands working on letters.

It’s Halloween in Central City. Naturally that means a visit from the Justice League Dark, as well as Solomon Grundy. After defeating the monster, Barry buzzes away to a small party with Iris and his work colleagues, which ends when the cops are called to action at Iron Heights. Apparently something has happened to Heat Wave that no one quite understands yet, something Barry supposes is tied to the newly revealed Sage Force…

Williamson’s brisk story hits all the right notes. I love the structure he plays with here – an opening action scene, a moment of character development, and the revelation of the arc’s major conflict. It’s a very welcoming structure, and creates a very accessible in for the issue.

The interplay between characters is another huge strength of this issue. Though Barry’s cop friends are unfamiliar to me, they’re written with a deep history amongst each other that gives the reader an immediate connection. Even better is the relationships between Barry and Iris, and Barry and Warden Wolfe. Both are instantly welcoming, even though one is romantic and the other antagonistic.

One thing the story is lacking is a bit of a recap. I actually was a bit behind since The Flash War, and the Strength and Sage Forces threw me a bit for a loop. I got it, but it was a bit confusing.

Kolins’ work is excellent here. He’s one of my best Flash artists, largely due to his ability to use static images to convey movement and speed. He also does some great creature studies, between Grundy in the opening and the evolved Heat Wave at the close. He also draws the effects of several infernos in a detailed and very creepy way.

Guerrero matches Kolins’ work wonderfully. He keeps the colors relatively bright, until the horrific final moments of the issue. Considering Heat Wave is a big part of the story, his ability to color flame is outstanding.

I’m definitely in to see where this is going. The Flash is one of my favorites, and DC continues to ensure the series is in the best hands.

The Flash #55 is available now from DC Comics.

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