With speedsters being all the rage in both The Flash TV show and comic books it has been interesting to see how Godspeed has been able to enter the fray. Thus far Joshua Williamson has done enough to make Godspeed a deadly threat to The Flash and those around him. But while Godspeed has given our hero a run for his money I am much more interested to see Wally West finally become Kid Flash. It has been a long build given all the speedsters we have seen already. Will Wally be the help The Flash needs to take on Godspeed? Let’s find out with The Flash #8.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Colorist: Ivan Plascencia
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: A few weeks after the Speed Force Storm struck Central City the Flash is having lunch with August Heart (in his pre-Godspeed identity). During their lunch together Augustus asks Flash why he never killed Zoom since he could’ve used his background in forensics to do it cleanly. Flash explains that even with all the horrible things Zoom did to him he could never kill Zoom. August compliments Flash for being such a good person.
In the present Flash is having a hard time keeping up with Godspeed after he absorbed the Speed Force of many speedsters. With such a lead on the Flash, Godspeed declares that he will kill everyone at Iron Heights.
Flash then decides to run right behind Godspeed so he can catch his draft to speed himself up. Flash is successful and when he touches Godspeed he uses his knowledge of the Speed Force to short circuit their connection to it and causes a small explosion.
Unable to believe what Flash just did, Godspeed uses the Speed Force to create a duplicate of himself so he can fight Flash and kill everyone at Iron Heights at the same time.
Before one of the Godspeeds can take off to Iron Heights Wally West arrives on the scene. Flash is surprised by Wally’s appearance. Wally tells Flash that he thought of what he said about Iris and believes she would also not stand by while others were in danger.
Though Godspeed thinks very little of Wally’s presence Flash reminds him that by creating a duplicate Godspeed also divided his connection to the Speed Force. Flash and Wally the run around the two Godspeeds and simultaneously attack them. All of these attacks force Godspeed to recombine with his duplicate.
With Godspeed knocked down Flash is surprised to see Wally in a Kid Flash costume. Before Flash can say anything Godspeed recovers and knocks Kid Flash into the Flash.
Seeing Flash and Kid Flash together further angers Godspeed and he yells at Flash that he should’ve killed him. Godspeed then races off and makes it to the island Iron Heights is on. Before he can make it inside the facility the Flash tackles Godspeed from behind.
Flash reminds Godspeed that heroes don’t kill. Kid Flash finally catches up and wonders if Godspeed is dead. Flash says that Godspeed is only knocked out. Flash explains that he cut off enough of Godspeed’s oxygen so he would pass out.
Before locking up Godspeed, Flash asks Wally how he made the Kid Flash costume. Wally explains that after he decided to stop running a wave of walk came over him and he was suddenly wearing the costume. Flash mentions that Wally got the costume because he deserved it which reminds him of someone else (the first Kid Flash Wally West).
A few days later Barry Allen visits August in Iron Heights. Augustus is surprised to see Barry visiting him alone. August assures Barry that he won’t reveal Barry’s secret as he only wanted to help. He goes on to say he can still sense the other speedsters even if they aren’t connected to the Speed Force, including what they are doing now and what they are thinking.
August then asks what makes Barry so special that he continues to have the Speed Force. Barry responds by saying he is only doing what he can to help people. August continues to ask why as he was also using the Speed Force for justice, such as killing Billy Parks after learning he killed his brother.
Barry reveals that Billy Parks did not kill August’s brother. Barry continues to say after investigating August’s brother’s case that Billy had an alibi and his blood did not match the blood found at the crime scene. August is in disbelief at what he just heard. Barry then promises he will find the person who killed August’s brother.
August doesn’t believe Barry will have the time to solve his brother’s case as he is still the Flash. He reminds Barry he still has to deal with Black Hole and who started the Speed Force Storm. Barry says that case is closed as they discovered it was Dr. Carver. August smiles and says that when Barry was healing he investigated the storm further and found out Dr. Carver is just a general in Black Hole who was hired for his connections to S.T.A.R Labs.
Barry asks August who is Black Hole’s leader. August says that it’s his secret to keep. He does reveal that when Black Hole attacks again Flash will come running to him for help.
As Barry becomes Flash and speeds off he wonders if August is telling the truth about Black Hole still operating in Central City and if speedsters are angry with him.
Over at Iris West’s place Wally is with Iris in his Kid Flash costume. As Iris talks about how she understands that Flash is his idol Wally cuts her off by saying that she is his idol. Wally talks about the reason that Flash and Iris work so well together is that he is justice while she is truth. He then talks about what happened to his Uncle Daniel after he got his speed but Iris tells Wally he is not Daniel. Iris does admit she is worried about Wally but he says he has a great mentor.
Sometime later Flash is training Kid Flash so he can understand the Speed Force better. As he trains Kid Flash on a treadmill Flash thinks about all the things he has done and still has to do with the Black Hole investigation. This leads him to realize that even if he doesn’t ask for help that it’s good to have someone like the two Wallys’ there to help him when needed.
As Flash stands smiling at these thoughts a ghost whispers “Thank You” in his ear. Flash turns around thinking that it was Meena but no one is behind him. End of issue.
The Good: “Lightning Strikes Twice” is a good example of both the strength and weakness of bi-monthly shipping for a series. With The Flash #8 we were able reach an end to the series’ first arc that in the process laid the strong foundation for the rest of the series. On the other hand, with this first arc taking 8 issues, 9 if you count Flash: Rebirth, there was so much crammed into one story that we didn’t get more of a resolution for all the build-up.
As The Flash #8 progressed one of the most interesting aspects of Flash’s fight with Godspeed was what the battle ended up representing. The relationship between Flash and Godspeed is reminiscent of a lot of the relationships Batman shares with Two-Face and others in his Rogues Gallery. Like Batman, both these characters went through what can be said as “one bad day.” But while their “one bad day” are very similar, Barry losing his mom and August losing his brother, they took it very differently when they received powers to change something.
Joshua Williamson nicely summed this aspect of the characters. With Barry, he is looking to help people and making the bad people answer for their crimes. Whereas August he is only looking for justice and will use the Speed Force in whatever he can do to achieve that. This difference in their characters made their one-on-one interaction in the second half of the issue that much more intriguing. Because even though Barry was able to win the physical and morale victory August was able to do enough to make Barry question what comes next.
This difference in each character also added to how fun the fight ended up being between the three speedsters. I particularly liked how having to fight from behind as the slower speedster made Barry have to think outside the box as Flash. Seeing Flash not only use the draft Godspeed was creating but also the Speed Force itself to short circuit and temporarily stop Godspeed. It is a different way to use the Speed Force that I have not seen Flash utilize before.
And after all the build-up it was great to see the new Wally West as Kid Flash in action. Even though the Wally’s first appearance as Kid Flash was spoiled in Teen Titans #1 it was nice to finally see the payoff in this series. Williamson did well in not giving it right away when Wally first appeared. Instead he gave us some good action between Flash, Wally and Godspeed before the big reveal. This made it so once Kid Flash was first show it was worth it and something this new Wally should have.
Now with the new Wally firmly established as the new Kid Flash it will be interesting to see how Williamson and DC Comics differentiate the two Wally’s. We already see one way in which Williamson is trying to make this Wally different from the classic in terms of who his idol is. Making Iris this Wally’s idol was a good character moment that paid off all the development between the two. That close relationship between the two could make some interesting dialogue given how closely Iris works with Flash even though she and Barry aren’t together yet.
I really enjoyed Carmine Di Giandomenico artwork throughout the fight between Flash, Kid Flash and Godspeed. Giandomenico did a good job making the three speeding through the water like a force of nature. The added lightning flying made the Speed Force seem as though it was alive.
The Bad: While I enjoyed Wally’s official debut as Kid Flash it was lacking in the special category. After having 8 issues of new speedsters being introduce seeing yet another speedster enter the mix was not new. At this point in the story Wally was just another character with speed instead of being this great addition. This is where it may have been good to have an arc in between when Godspeed took out all the other speedsters and this final confrontation. In that way we could’ve had more of a break between when we saw of an army of speedsters running around and when Wally finally became Kid Flash.
The other thing that takes away from Kid Flash’s thunder is the fact we have the original Wally West around in a similar costume and powers. Thus far in this new Wally West’s career there hasn’t been enough established to connect with him. So far the only distinct character trait that’s different from the original Wally is that his idol is Iris instead of Barry. Williamson needs to develop this Wally to be more than this. We need to see more of what this Wally does outside of being Kid Flash or being Iris’ nephew such as his educational aspirations, similar to the TV universe version that is interested in engineering.
Godspeed as a villain also left a lot to be desired, especially when compared with other villain speedsters. Though Barry and August’s dynamic was interesting I did not like that Godspeed was just using skills we’ve seen from Zoom and Reverse Flash. With how much of the Speed Force’s power Godspeed had access to I wish there was more creativity in how he used it. Instead we just got more of the same from when Flash fights other speedster villains.
The other thing that hurt The Flash #8’s overall impact was the length of “Lightning Strikes Twice.” With how long it took us to get to the end and how many speedsters we saw as a reader I am done with Flash fighting other Speed Force users. Williamson needs to find other ways to challenge Flash and Kid Flash moving forward. Because by the end of this issue I was slightly exhausted by Godspeed, which took away from the impact of his defeat and the final conversation between Barry and August.
Even hearing that Black Hole is still around did very little to get me excited for the group. It would’ve been better if we didn’t see or hear about Black Hole for several issues. That way they can come back fresh and be slowly built back up as sub-plots moving forward.
Overall: The Flash #8 provided a solid ending to “Lightning Strikes Twice” and the conflict with Godspeed. This issue provides some great looking Speed Force-related action, thanks to Carmine Di Giandomenico artwork, and Joshua Williamson further developed Barry and Wally West as characters. That said, this opening story arc could’ve benefitted from being tightened up as there was a sense of exhaustion once everything was resolved. Now that Godspeed is in the rearview window we can get away from speedsters and see Flash go up against different types of challenges.