The Flash has quite a lot to work out after “The Button” sent he and Batman on a quest that rocked them to the core. Writer Joshua Williamson carries that story forward here with a cliffhanger that might surprise everyone. It certainly surprised me!
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Publisher: DC Comics
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“RUNNING SCARED” prelude! Barry Allen is at a crossroads. He’s lied to the woman he loves about his life as The Flash, and a rift is growing between him and his heroic young partner. Now, his greatest enemy has threatened to strike down everyone close to him! It’s time to make a tough choice that will launch The Flash into his most incredible mission yet: a siege on the 25th century stronghold of Eobard Thawne!
Why does this book matter?
This issue deals with the fallout from “The Button” and Joshua Williamson pulls on that thread well so if you dug that series check this out. It’s also the start of something that’s deeply personal for Flash as he spends some time reflecting on his friends and family here. Never a good thing to do if you’re a hero!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I suppose this is the Flash exhibit?
Williamson plots this issue very well, never slowing things down too much with exposition or sticking with a scene for too long. Opening in the 21st Century, Williamson reveals a museum that charts Flash’s history so as to remind us of Flash’s relationship with Reverse-Flash. This scene acts as a strong bookend with the ending that certainly raises the threat level, but also puts into question how Reverse-Flash is perceived in the 21st century.
The meat of this issue focuses on Flash’s desire to tell his girlfriend about his alter ego as a hero and also his deep fear of putting his friends in danger. It turns out it’s Flash’s birthday and a surprise party allows Williamson to physically put Flash in the same space as these people which helps visualize his concern. That’s only exasperated when a villain pops up, though Hal Jordan was attending his birthday so he’s got some backup. The team up is one of the more natural occurrences I’ve seen and Williamson makes it all flow together nicely. There’s also a good reoccurring theme of Flash slowing down and thinking about things that gets him into trouble. A nice element for a character who’s the fastest of them all.
Carmine Di Giandomenico draws a great issue that’s kinetic as all hell with a sketchy and chaotic style. The electric energy that flows throughout the panels as Flash is suited up looks great and Green Lantern has a cool energy thing going on. One of the best scenes involves Flash and Green Lantern putting on their costumes. Di Giandomenico draws close ups of their rings with a neat effect of the costumes coming together frozen in time and then next images of their masks floating in the air on their way to their faces. It’s a neat effect and a cool way to show how these characters are pretty much magic.
This would be great narrated by David Attenborough.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I can’t be the only person groaning to themselves at the big reveal on the last page, right? I’m all for villains dying, coming back, disappearing, coming back, whatever…but this villain was freshly dead, right? Maybe it ties into a bigger story–and it’s too early to truly judge their appearance–but it’s hard to shake how fluid death is in comics and that dumbs things down.
Is It Good?
Williamson explores how Flash’s mind could be one of his biggest weaknesses as he slows down to think about putting his friends and family in danger. A perfectly plotted issue, this is an action-packed character-driven story that’s worth a look.