“The Price” crossover event between Batman and The Flash got off to an interesting start. Working as a tie-in to Heroes In Crisis the initial chapter set up how much weight both Batman and Flash are currently carrying with all of the events going on in their lives. Due to everything these two, along with the rest of the Justice League are managing, we saw that it is the perfect opportunity for other characters to rise up to take advantage. One of those characters looks to be Gotham Girl, who in Batman #64 was shown to be using this opportunity to bring her brother, Gotham, back to life. Will she be successful in bring back her brother? Or will Batman and Flash put aside their differences to make Gotham Girl come to her senses? Let’s find out with The Flash #64.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Rafa Sandoval
Inker: Jordi Tarragona
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Gotham Girl tells her brother that she taught the Flash a lesson. Gotham begs Gotham Girl to help him and suddenly passes out. As a large person looms over them Gotham Girl states only “he” was there for her when her brother died and Batman left her. She goes on to talk about how her brother was her inspiration and that she would do anything to become the greatest hero of all time.
At the Flash Museum various cops and firefighters are helping injured people while also setting up a crime scene.
Inside the museum Flash finds a leaf that Gotham Girl accidently dropped. Batman finds its origins being from the Caribbean. Batman and Flash immediately take off to the point of origin for the leaf.
They arrive on an island where there is illegal drug activity going on. While searching the island Flash remembers their team-up to defeat Dr. Double X and wishes all criminals were that dumb.
While looking around Flash discovers the plant that the leaf Gotham Girl drop originates from. They eventually come across a castle.
While figuring out what to do Flash asks Batman how married life is with Selina. Batman is surprised Flash didn’t hear what happened.
Before Batman can reveal his failed wedding Iris calls Flash. Iris asks Barry were he is since he promised to talk about what happened to Wally to Wallace West (Kid Flash) with her. Barry says he is working the Flash Museum case. Iris wonders if Batman is with him. Barry confirms it. Iris gives Barry a not so nice message to pass along to Batman. Barry awkwardly promises to he will check in later.
Batman tells Flash he is lucky to have Iris. Flash doesn’t want to talk about Iris.
They then head inside the castle and enter a room filled with news articles, pictures and toys of the Justice League. Flash remembers Reverse-Flash having a room similar to this. Batman defends Gotham Girl by saying she is not crazy, just confused. He then admits that he lied to Gotham Girl that her powers were slowly killing her when in reality he didn’t want this life for her. Flash can’t believe Batman would lie to Gotham Girl as it has always worked out bad when he tries to stop someone from being a hero.
Flash sees a drawing of Gotham Girl on the wall. This reminds him of when Wally showed him a drawing of his original Kid Flash costume and the conversation they had about it back in the day.
Flash asks Batman who made Gotham Girl’s costume since when Wally designed his costume Barry helped make it. He asks who made Robin’s original costume. Batman responds by saying it was Alfred.
Flash says someone must of helped Gotham and Gotham Girl with their costumes. Batman mentions he didn’t investigate that since he was busy at the time. Flash calls Batman out for letting things slip in his cases even though he is supposed to be the World’s Greatest Detective.
Flash then tells Batman they owe Iris answers for what happened with Wally. Batman interrupts when he hears a buzzing noise.
They follow the noise and enter a laboratory filled with clones of Gotham and Gotham Girl, that are all dead. Batman recognizes the equipment coming from Wayne Tech, Mr. Freeze’s cryogenics and other tech he does not recognize.
While looking over the pods and equipment Flash finds a deadly supercharged steroid cocktail with a base around Venom. Batman realizes this is a trap and gets ready to fight.
Flash questions if Batman sent Gotham Girl to Sanctuary. When Batman says nothing Flash shows him a Sanctuary mask and demands answers. Batman says that someone planted that mask for Flash to find. Flash gets in Batman’s face and demands to know if Gotham Girl was sent to Sanctuary.
Gotham Girl suddenly breaks in and greets Batman and Flash as if they are going to team up. Flash spots that Gotham girl is holding a canister with Venom in it. Gotham Girl says the Venom keeps them going. Flash tries to stop her from using it but she knocks him back.
Gotham Girl places the Venom in the machine. It activates other pods in the room. Other versions of Gotham and Gotham Girl suddenly break out of the pods and attack Batman and Flash.
As they fight the Gotham and Gotham Girl clones Flash questions Claire on why she is doing this. Gotham Girl says it is because she is doing what heroes do, saving lives. She then says that Central City PD.
Batman tells Gotham Girl her brother wouldn’t want this for her. Gotham Girl tells Batman not to talk about her brother since he just left her. She goes on to say she is going to set an example of the hero they need.
Gotham Girl then flies away while Batman and Flash continue to fight the Gotham and Gotham Girl clones. End of issue.
The Good: The Flash #64 uses the momentum created by Batman #64 to push the “The Price” crossover forward. Joshua Williamson accomplishes this by using all the events that have happened, from Heroes In Crisis to The Wedding, to create a unique dynamic for this latest team-up between Batman and Flash. It is that dynamic that makes The Flash #64 such a compelling read, even as similar problems that popped up in Batman #64 still appear in this issue.
Through The Flash #64 Williamson presents us with an interesting balance of how Batman and Flash work together as professionals and personally. Throughout this pairing we see that all the events they’ve been through together that Batman and Flash’s relationship is at a breaking point. At any point either character can say something that could completely ruin the partnership they have developed over the years.It’s that careful balancing act that creates a greater dramatic tone to every word that comes out of Batman and Flash’s mouths.
What was particularly telling about the time Batman and Flash were spending together on this investigation was the former’s actions. Williamson was very careful to make Batman try to maintain a friendly demeanor with this team-up. At the same time, we could see through his dialogue and motion that Batman was being guarded. It was clear that he knew that there was a lot he has to answer to. Being who he is, Batman knew that he had to choose his words carefully with those answer or else things will only get worse.
Flash calling Batman out on his bullshit was particularly telling into the current state of their partnership. Flash using the Sanctuary mask and Batman’s lack of investigative work around Gotham Girl was spoke to where they are at with each other. Batman can no longer do his usual thing of keeping secrets like he normally does, especially around Flash who is on his level as a detective. This all makes good use of how many comic books Batman is involved in as we do know he has his hands in a lot of cases and adventures at one time.
For as much as Flash got on Batman’s case Williamson did a good job in explaining why throughout this issue. As we see with his conversation with Iris, Wally’s death continues to hang over Barry’s head. He still blames himself for not being there for Wally and involved in how Sanctuary worked. Being so hands off with all of this has given greater guilt to how Barry is feeling personally for what has happened in Heroes In Crisis.
The conversation with Iris also worked in on how much Barry has taken on in and out of his Flash life. It is becoming increasingly impossible to manage everything going on in his life, no matter how fast he is. This made Iris’ words hit harder as right now they both need each other but Barry can’t because of what he continues to take on. How this ends up further affecting Barry and Iris’ relationship will be interesting to see developed after “The Price” crossover.
All that gave greater weight to Barry thinking about his conversation with a younger Wally, who was coming up with ideas for his costume. Using that memory to spark Flash’s questioning Batman on what he actually knows about Gotham and Gotham Girl’s backstory an organic progression to the story. This gives more interest into seeing how Batman and Flash’s relationship will end up as being by the end of “The Price.”
Rafa Sandoval turns in fantastic artwork throughout The Flash #64. As he showed with his work on Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, Sandoval’s art style brings a big event feel to everything that is going on in “The Price.” Even as there isn’t action until the final few pages of The Flash #64, Sandoval makes everything that is said between Batman and Flash come across as a major deal. That tone helps keep the issue moving as we see Batman and Flash’s investigation progress. I would not be surprised if Sandoval is tapped to draw one of DC Comics big events in the future.
The Bad: The one thing that is keeping “The Price” story from being rated higher is how Gotham Girl’s development is being handled. There is something about this entire storyline that feels like there is a missing piece. From where we last saw Gotham Girl to where she is now just seems as though there was several jumps made with her character that don’t seem logical to where she was going. There is a missing story between where Gotham Girl was at the end of Batman #50 to “The Price” that is missing.
She has gone too far into the psychotic part of her character to seem like a natural progression to her character arc. This caused the general use of Venom into how she is reviving her brother as a clone not to have the same impact as if that missing piece to her story was there. Hopefully this is something that is explained in the next issue or else it will continue to drag down an otherwise strong story based around Batman and Flash.
Overall: The Flash #64 is another interesting next step into what the current standing is between Batman and Flash. Joshua Williamson continues to use everything that has gone on in Heroes In Crisis and other stories related to Batman and Flash to give depth to the character work in this story. As long as the problems around Gotham Girl’s character arc are fixed over these last two issues “The Price” can become one of the better crossovers DC Comics has had.