The 50th issues DC has been releasing lately feel a lot like annuals: they’re longer than normal and contain a story that should stand on its own, but also reveal new elements to keep us reading each month. This issue has that all of that in spades, but is it good?
The Flash #50 (DC Comics)
There are 48 pages in this book, but what’s it about? DC Comics says:
In our massive 50th issue, The Flash must win back the trust of Central City! But to do so, he needs to outrun the police force that’s been charged with bringing him down—with the awesome power of the Rogues behind it all!
Why does this book matter?
Flash captured! No way, and by the Rogues no less–some of his most famous villains. Van Jensen is writing an important issue, not only because Barry has the stakes raised against him, but because the new, younger, future Flash is given time on the page in this issue. Getting to know more about the Rebirth Flash; now that should get you turning the pages!
Sad flash is so sad.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Jensen has a fun, action-packed issue on his hands with Flash having to take on an assortment of villains, getting sent to prison, and even facing a new threat entirely. This is about as classic as comic books come, with Flash zipping around, saving lives and getting iced too. In one sequence, one of the best of the issue, we see just how formidable the Rogues are when they work together and it’s fun to see how, with a little teamwork, they can take Flash out. Girder also gets some great action scene moments. It all culminates in a surprising cliffhanger that will definitely get me coming back next month.
Anyone interested in Wally West should definitely check out the second story in this issue, which focuses on Wally at his middle school. He’s playing dodgeball in gym class as he and his classmates reflect on how the Rogues were recently there. Jensen writes easy to read dialogue and does a lot really well. The best part is seeing Wally use his powers for the first time and in one sequence we see the school bully contemplate what he’d do with Flash’s powers. Both scenes are fun and inventive. If you’re not on board for a middle school Wally West you will be after reading this issue. You’ll quickly see it has a similar vibe as Brian Michael Bendis’ fantastic Ultimate Spider-Man and if they can pull it off it might just be as groundbreaking as that title too!
Both the main story by Jesus Merino and Paul Pelletier, and the backup about Wally West by Joe Eisma are drawn very well. Eisma draws with a thinner, more modern looking line that’s a bit cartoony but serves the setting and lighter tone of the story admirably. Merino and Pelletier draw a darker toned book that’s very good at capturing the faces and many different characters who pop up in this issue.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The featured story does feel overly padded, going with a story that’s lacking in surprises and reads like something we’ve seen time and time again. Flash is captured and we know how this tale ends. In some sense this story reads as if Jensen is attempting to stick as many villains in as possibly as a way to placate the readers wanting it all. Meanwhile Flash is forlorn and kind of boring throughout. He’s apparently accepted his fate and sort of just stands around until people fall into danger. Aside from the final action sequence with the Rogues and a great cliffhanger, this story doesn’t do enough to keep your interest up.
Hey look it’s Wally!
Is It Good?
While the featured story with Barry Allen’s Flash is a by-the-numbers superhero comic, it does end in spectacular fashion, warranting a look. The backup with Wally West is fantastic and worth the price of admission alone. Without the backup this would easily be a 7 at best, but it brings it up a whole grade.