More often than not, longtime Flash writer Josh Williamson has sparked the imagination with wild ideas that work best in comic books. Case in point, “Finish Line” is the latest story arc in The Flash that utilizes the character’s greatest rogues, involves time travel, and now his worst enemy is in control of his body. There are a lot of ideas at work in this book, and yet due to the over-the-top nature of it all, it works because it’s in the comic book format. In the latest issue, Barry attempts to take his body back from Reverse-Flash as the villain hangs around his Flash-family.
This story arc — and really, many under Williamson’s belt — is in danger of overstuffing the comic. There is a lot in this single issue starting with Reverse-Flash trying to do more good than Barry ever could, integrating Impulse into the narrative, and somehow making sense of where Barry is while his body is being controlled by Reverse-Flash. There’s even a battle with Flash rogues and a cliffhanger you won’t see coming. It’s everything you want in a comic if you’re looking for entertainment value.
On the flip side, the scene with Barry adds little to the book, possibly because it doesn’t show us what he’s learning. Chalk it up to serial storytelling and how the episodic nature forces us to have to wait to find out what he learns. This is exacerbated by the fact that the book has so much going on it doesn’t slow down to check in with its characters enough.
Williamson is also good at writing Reverse-Flash, and you see it in the dialogue. There’s a snippy and evil nature to it that rings through and helps to show he’s no true Barry Allen when in his skin. The good dialogue goes for the other characters in the book as well, like Impulse and Max Mercury. It’s also enjoyable to see the voice of Reverse-Flash and be in on the secret that he’s not really Flash as he tromps around.
The art is shared between Scott Kolins and Rafa Sandoval, with Kolins focusing on the Barry mindscape scene and Sandoval taking over the rest of the book taking place in real-life. Kolins’ art adds a good juxtaposition to the cleaner style in the book, with a sketchy style that shows Barry’s current location is an off-putting and strange one. Sandoval is one of the best Flash artists in our lifetime and he shows it throughout this book, from fight scenes that are economical and exciting to reaction shots of characters who can’t believe Barry is his true self. He gets the point across and makes running fast look cool. This is aided by color artist Arif Prianto who gives the electric look of Flash a speed-blur that’s uncanny.
A standout from Sandoval and Prianto involves a Flash vs. Flash scene that opens with a splashy kick to the face, then utilizes five hits that lead to the bottom of the page uppercut that shows how well they work together.
In that fight scene, the fact that Barry flies into the sky like a cartoon character is proof enough this is excessive, over-the-top comic book action. If you’re in the right mood for it, would you want it any other way? The Flash #759 shows how the excesses of comics are entertaining as hell.