The Flash #23 by Joshua Williamson, Carmine Di Giandomenico, and Ivan Plascencia
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
The Flash #23 gives us an exciting new arc and a great follow up to "The Button."
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The aftermath of DC’s “The Button” storyline begins here! THE FLASH #23 starts off with a new arc, great easter eggs, and a nice recap of “The Button.” To top it all off, the end of this issue leaves readers with more questions than answers. The powerhouse team of Joshua Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico are continuing to impress. They’ve dynamically created a voice of their own and are leaving a mark in FLASH history. We’ll see how the events from “The Button” begin to affect the DCU from here on out! This review does contain spoilers for the book and future issues.

READ: Need a recap of “The Button”? Here’s our review of where it all started: BATMAN #21!

Flash Forward in THE FLASH #23

THE FLASH #23 begins in the 25th century with a narration carrying us through hung costumes of the past. We see Godspeed’s suit right away, along with both  Wallys’, and Barry’s. Moving past the outfits and weapons of various villains, it closes in on the costume of Eobard Thawne, a.k.a. Professor Zoom. The flood of suits isn’t the only interesting thing here, as the narrator reveals that Zoom was many things to many people. To the Flash though, he was “a partner, an ally, his best friend.”

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THE FLASH #23 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

*Record scratch*… what? The Flash’s arch-nemesis Professor Zoom, the man who killed his mother, and throughout history has constantly tried to destroy the Flash no matter what the cost… his ally? The story then picks up in the present day. Picking up right after the events of “The Button,” Barry Allen is looking over the remains of Professor Zoom in the S.T.A.R. Labs Morgue. Barry talks to himself while looking over Thawne’s corpse, certain that Zoom will somehow return. Zoom was killed in BATMAN #21 after grabbing the famous smiley face button. Gone for only a second, he returned to the Batcave after encountering “God.” Then, Barry leaves the body right before we see a flicker of the Negative Speed Force light up his left eye.

Barry arrives, late as always, to his own birthday celebration but is overwhelmed and distraught over the recent events. Barry flashes back to the man in the tin helmet, Bruce being broken over his father’s last words, and the thought of Zoom coming back to kill everyone he loves. I’ll note that in the Pre-52 universe Thawne actually killed Iris West at a Halloween party by vibrating his hand and scrambling her brain. Barry’s imagination shows us exactly that, which is a nice little reference to the past. The rest of the issue is a little less grim once Hal Jordan comes into play just before Multiplex crashes the party. Flash and Green Lantern team up while Wally takes Iris to safety, only to encounter Reverse-Flash, alive and well, waiting for them.

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THE FLASH #23 page 7. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Creator Chat

There are plenty of things to rave about in this issue. As a long-time Flash fan, trust me when I say this team is doing a phenomenal job on this book. Making Zoom a key element is always an interesting way to go, and they’ve done a great job so far by bringing him back in such an intriguing way. Joshua Williamson did some really cool things with the dialogue here in THE FLASH #23. As Barry is lost in his own thoughts, we see Barry’s dialogue boxes cover up other characters’ speech bubbles. It helps the reader feel and understand that his own birthday party is the last thing on the Scarlet Speedster’s mind.

READ: Curious about the end of “The Button?” Take a look at our review of THE FLASH #22!

Also, hats off to Carmine Di Giandomenico’s pencils and Ivan Plascencia’s colors in the book. Together they bring out the brilliant green hue of Green Lantern’s constructs and bring the electric energy of the Speed Force to life. Di Giandomenico has more of a jagged feel to his drawings that give it a nice cartoonish look and digitally elaborates on key moments. Green Lantern’s constructs and the Speed Force make it all more visually interesting. There’s a certain glow to each panel that makes it feel more like a painting than anything else.

THE FLASH #23: The Bottom Line

In conclusion, THE FLASH #23 delivers an interesting and fresh arc for Barry. Following up on such an amazing storyline like “The Button” was going to be difficult to do. This new arc is already keeping up the high pace and will keep readers interested. With Williamson’s ideas and the wonderful artwork that Di Giandomenico and Plascencia produce, it’s a must read for Flash fans. Overall, Barry’s future may not seem too bright, but the excitement going on in the book is blinding. We’ll be holding our breath to see what Zoom has planned now, and just how he came back to life!

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