Flash: Fastest Man Alive has been a solid series. It hasn’t blown me away like Superman: Man of Tomorrow but Gail Simone has built a solid foundation for the series. Simone has done that by going back to basics with Flash in a time period where he has been Flash for some time now but not enough to be the veteran hero. She has found good time period after the start of Flash’s career to examine the character and his cast of characters. Now Simone is going to take the next big step by having Flash meet his greatest nemesis: Reverse-Flash. How will this meeting in the future turn out? Let’s find out with Flash: Fastest Man Alive.
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Clayton Henry
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Flash travel’s through the Speed Force to reach the future and is surprised to find the suburbs area of Central City from his timeline is nothing more than desolate wasteland in the future. As he keeps running he sees what looks to be future Central City with a sign saying “No Access, Severe Penalty.”
Flash reaches the center of future Central City and is stunned that there are many people dressed in different versions of the Flash costume. Flash finds there is a gold statue of what looks to be him but quickly realizes it is actually of Reverse-Flash.
Eobard Thawne appears over the city and welcomes everyone to Zoom City as a hologram. He then announces that everyone in the red group time will soon start. Flash asks a woman in the red group what that means. She tells Flash that they are about to be blessed with speed by Thawne, who they call Zoom.
Suddenly a lightning storm hits the red group. Once it is done Flash is stunned by how everyone in the red group suddenly starts running around by using the Speed Force.
As Flash is left stunned Zoom City Speed Force approaches him and say that Flash is under arrest for unauthorized use of high velocity to enter the city. They then use their special stun batons to cause Flash to collapse to his knees. Flash is able to recover fast enough to turn thing around and quickly knocks out the cops before they attack him again.
Flash reflects on what Shift told him earlier and how Reverse-Flash is worshipped as the Emperor in this timeline. Flash takes one of the cops batons as he realizes that they actually provided a boost to his speed so he can use it later.
More Zoom City Speed Force cops show up to arrest Flash in the name of Professor Zoom. Flash does his best to evade the cops but they are able to keep. Suddenly someone from the shadows grabs Flash and he disappears.
Later, Reverse-Flash gets the report on how his Zoom City Speed Force lost track of the Flash. Reverse-Flash thanks one of the cops for his report by vibrating the guy fast enough he becomes nothing more than dust. Reverse-Flash orders the remaining Zoom City Speed Force cops to find the Flash or suffer the same fate.
Elsewhere Flash thanks Shift for saving him and questions why she did that. Shift says that being in his time period changed her as she was able to see what it was like to live in a world filled with hope and imagination. Flash sees one of the comics that Shift mentioned inspired Reverse-Flash.
Shift says that Eobard Thawne became so obsessed after reading Flash’s comics that he did everything to recreate the accident that gave Barry Allen his powers. She goes on toe reveal once he gained the power Eobard ended up being corrupted by his experience with the Speed Force.
Flash asks how Reverse-Flash got everyone to adore him. Shift reveals Reverse-Flash did that by getting everyone addicted to the use of Speed Force.
Before Flash can get more answers Reverse-Flash and his Zoom City Speed Force show up. Reverse-Flash sees that Shift, his former protégé, is with Flash. Reverse-Flash then goes on a rant on how it pisses him off that people looked at him they saw a dark reflection of Flash. He then says he may just make it so Bruce Wayne is killed alongside his parents or baby Kal-El dies before the Kents find him so Batman or Superman never exist.
Flash calls Reverse-Flash a sick man. This just gives Reverse-Flash the idea of “visiting” Iris West. As Flash is about to do something Shift tells him that he needs to get the Disruptor away from where they are. Flash is worried about Shift but she says that he just needs to get going.
Flash agrees and quickly takes out all the Zoom City Speed Force cops that Reverse-Flash brought with him. Flash and Reverse-Flash then get into a high speed chase. Reverse-Flash use one of his skills to cut Flash just to show his greater mastery of the Speed Force. Thinking quickly, Flash uses the stun baton he stole earlier to temporarily knocks down Reverse-Flash.
Reverse-Flash says that he will make Flash suffer like no man in history. Flash says that sounds like a plan and challenges Reverse-Flash to catch him in a race through history. End of issue.
The Good: Flash: Fastest Man Alive #4 keeps the Reverse-Flash introduction story going. In the process Gail Simone is adding her own twist to the Reverse-Flash character that we’ve seen many times in a good way. The changes helped give a different feel to this initial clash between Flash and Reverse-Flash from what we’ve seen before.
Simone showed a clear understanding of Eobard Thawne by giving him an origin that we all are familiar with. But it is what she does to twist the Eobard Thawne’s story from the point he gets his Speed Force powers that make this version as intriguing as past versions. In the process we see Simone play with the aspect of the Speed Force being something that could corrupt the user if they are not properly able to use it. You see that with his origin that Eobard let the power of the Speed Force consume him and let his obsession evolve to the point of wanting complete control.
Turning the Speed Force into a drug like thing to control the citizens of Zoom City completely fits Reverse-Flash’s character. This is exactly what you expect from him. In the process Simone builds sympathy for this future version of the DC Universe. The people do not have control of themselves as Reverse-Flash has made them addicted to the temporary Speed Force hits he gives them. That makes you hate the character even more as a villain.
Reverse-Flash’s speech about going back in time to make sure Bruce Wayne and Kal-El do not become Batman and Superman, respectively, was a nice way to add immediate fire in Flash’s eyes. This fully put over how Reverse-Flash has absolutely no remorse. He is happy to cause as much pain and misery to his enemies as possible. Playing mental games like this is just another part of his way to make sure Flash hurts as much as possible.
With this still being Flash in his younger years Simone used the way Reverse-Flash was implementing the Speed Force to continue the way he has to be creative as well. Barry Allen is someone that has always been quick to think of new ways to fight. He sees how he can even use his enemies weapons against them. We see that here with how Barry is able to use the stun batons the Zoom City Speed Force officers used on him to buy himself time to goad Reverse-Flash into a race through history. Before that happened Reverse-Flash felt like he was in complete control but Barry, with his quick thinking, turned it around.
Simone also did a good job in giving Shift more time on screen to develop. In her previous appearance, Flash: Fastest Man Alive #2, we were given the idea that the war with Reverse-Flash was personal to her. Now we learn that Shift was previously a member of Reverse Flash’s Speed Force police department and his protégé. Given that new aspect of Shift’s character history it’ll be interesting to see how else she will factor into this story. Because it does seem like there is more to tell with her involvement in this future timeline.
Clayton Henry’s artwork on Flash: Fastest Man Alive has been getting better with each issue. Henry has been able to maintain consistent level in his artwork. And with this being the start of the Flash vs Reverse-Flash battle he is able to create a good sense of motion throughout this issue. He gets over how incredibly fast both characters are. He also shows us how differently they use the same speed powers that speaks to their respective character.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Flash: Fastest Man Alive #4 was a solid continuation of the Reverse-Flash story Gail Simone is building. Seeing this Reverse-Flash story become a multi-part story is a nice change of pace compared to the other Digital-First comics that have been going with one-shot story structure. This gives the rivalry between Flash and Reverse-Flash greater importance as one issue isn’t able to contain how big this battle is.
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