Review – The Flash #23 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico, Ivan Plascencia (Colours), Steve Wands (Letters)
Release Date: 31st May 2017

Boy, The Flash sure has a lot to deal with at the moment. Even taking the events of ‘The Button’ out of the equation, there’s still a laundry list of problems Barry is having to take care of whilst maintaining the unwavering optimism he’s increasingly shown over the course of Joshua Williamson’s ever-improving run.

‘The Colour of Fear’ is an entirely appropriate title for this new arc on multiple levels. Most importantly it speaks to the various shades of problem our hero currently faces, from more serviceable issues like whether to reveal his secret identity to Iris, and the subsequent problems with Wally, to the pervasive threat of Eobard Thawne; one that even death can’t seem to quell.

It’s also fitting that the Green Lantern makes an appearance, not only because he knows first-hand ‘the colour of fear’, but that he shares many similarities with The Flash, and might provide a reminder at this testing time that hope can indeed conquer fear. In fact, until Hal makes his appearance (neatly enveloped in a subtle green hue by Ivan Plascencia), there’s a real sense that our hero may collapse under the strain.

Joshua Williamson is certainly laying it on thick, and you can practically feel the weight of the world on Barry’s shoulders in those first few pages. His expressions and body language are acutely visualised by Carmine Di Giandomenico, who despite a few compositional niggles, continues to deliver a very high standard of work overall. There is also some clever use of text placement by letterer Steve Wands, which offers further insight into Barry’s troubled state of mind.

Most impressive, however, is the way in which Williamson has been able to bring each of Barry’s problems to bear whilst sustaining cohesive, complementary narratives. And given the mouth-watering opening hook, it’s clear the foundations have been laid for another hugely enjoyable romp with the ‘Scarlet Speedster’. The big question is whether or not he can emerge from this period of adversity with his optimism intact.

Rating: 4/5.

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MDAVThe Writer of this piece was: Martin Doyle
You can follow Martin on Twitter

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