The Flash has always been a speedster, but some of the best stories involve time. The thing is, with the New 52 came a Barry Allen that was a bit younger and unaware of the abilities his powers could bestow on time. This volume explores that and the trigger is a super team hellbent on killing him. Is it good?
The Flash Volume 8: Zoom (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The DC solicit reads:
Just when Barry Allen’s life was starting to return to normal, one of his most powerful and dangerous foes returns! Professor Zoom and his team of acolytes have broken Barry’s father out of prison, and now Barry must stop them before his life, reputation, and family are torn apart. Collects THE FLASH #41-47 and the Sneak Peek story from CONVERGENCE: DETECTIVE COMICS #2.
Why does this book matter?
You might know writer Robert Venditti from his work at Valiant Entertainment, but he’s being doing great things at DC for some time now. Sharing writing duties is Van Jensen, who has also had his name popping up across DC titles. Combined they are bringing a story that spans the 1520s to the future. And with artist Brett Booth drawing much of this series we’re in store for a detailed look indeed!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Flash doesn’t do well with water.
This is a very well self contained story from beginning to end, building up Professor Zoom’s entry in the New 52 DC universe. The threat of Zoom opens this book, but Flash also must deal with the fact that his father is in jail for killing his mother. This keeps him busy enough to not see the threat of Zoom and his team of speedforce users who he’s claimed over centuries. The story has a strong heroes journey within as we witness Flash discover his powers go beyond speed to time and space themselves. Weaving in Zoom’s psychotic vengeance, the true murderer of Barry’s mother, and a complex team to support Zoom, Venditti and Jensen have quite an epic tale on their hands.
The range of powers of Zoom’s team is quite something too. Magali can manipulate time, Block can create stop atoms making objects and herself impenetrable, Xolani collapses space-time, and Professor Zoom can control time. Combined you’d think Flash has no chance, but Venditti and Jensen focus on Flash’s goodness to win the day (I wrote a full review of the climactic issue here). I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers, but the writing team does well to showcase Zoom’s insanity driving everything, and a strong ability to manipulate these characters.
The art by Brett Booth brings all kind of detail and energy to Flash. The new costume Flash dons is quite fun as it is electric, infused with light, and runs across his whole body. Flash hasn’t had such a detailed costume in the main DCU before, and it looks great throughout the book. How Booth cuts up panels is exciting too–in one full page spread for instance, we see Flash running across the center of the page and around him are jagged panels cascading around him showcasing all the places around the world he’s running through. It enhances the kinetic energy of the scenes and he uses it to great effect throughout the book. It gives the pages a look as if Flash is actually moving so fast the panels are being vibrated off the page. It’s quite cool.
The art by Bong Dazo in the flashback issues works well too. It almost seems smart to switch artists for this section of the story, partly because Flash doesn’t appear and it suits the story to change the art to convey it’s a flashback. Dazo does a fantastic job with costumes and he nails the settings as the story time hops and shows different parts of the world.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Barry Allen makes a few appearances in this book and there are times that it feels forced in to help set him up for later stories. That goes the same for a detective that has a shoehorned romance with his boyfriend. It doesn’t quite fit into the rest of the story and again, just feels like the writers wanted to have some progressive characters in the book.
Is It Good?
This is about as epic as Flash can get due to the enemy he faces, but also the scope of the story. Most importantly, his journey ends with him learning and becoming better.