THE FLASH #46 BY JOSHUA WILLIAMSON, SCOTT KOLINS, AND LUIS GUERRERO
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
THE FLASH #46 tells a fascinating story about two refugees from a former timeline. It's a love letter to Geoff Johns' Hunter Zolomon issues. Fans of those books will be greatly pleased, but if you haven't read them, please do so before reading this issue. It'll make it less confusing and more enjoyable. Scott Kolins' art is the greatest part of this issue, since he's a pro at drawing The Flash.
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Compelling Prelude

THE FLASH #46 sets the stage for next issue’s first chapter of FLASH WAR. This issue tells the stories of two characters who came to this universe from before FLASHPOINT. The first, Wally West, is plagued with memories of how life looked back when he was the Flash in another universe. He’s not the only speedster who’s tormented by memories of the past, though.

It turns out Hunter Zolomon, AKA Zoom, one of Wally’s fiercest enemies, was saved from being wiped out to make way for the New 52 by Eobard Thawne. In THE FLASH #46, Joshua Williamson tells a seriously engaging story which got me incredibly excited for the FLASH WAR event. It’s a treat for longtime Flash fans, but I’d suggest newer readers beef up a bit on who Hunter Zolomon is before reading this issue.

Scott Kolins returns to THE FLASH to draw his co-creation, Zoom, and he is a welcome addition to this series. His ultra-detailed yet cartoony art fits the character very well, especially when he draws characters using their super speed.

A Change of Pace in THE FLASH #45

Zolomon and Wally in THE FLASH #46

In the last issue, Wally West finally met this universe’s Iris West again. In doing so, Iris instantly remembered him and Wally remembered every single adventure he’s been in before FLASHPOINT, all at once. In THE FLASH #46, this sudden remembrance proved to be too much for Wally’s brain to handle.

He sees flashes (no pun intended) of prior adventures and long-changed characters. For example, he sees Cyborg looking like his 1980s NEW TEEN TITANS version. No one can quite figure out why this is happening. It’s tormenting Wally, which makes him uncharacteristically angry and standoffish to even his best friend, Barry.

The cracks in their friendship are beginning to show before the FLASH WAR.

THE FLASH #46
THE FLASH #46 page 6. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

As this happens, we also see the whereabouts of Hunter Zolomon from the New 52 era to THE BUTTON crossover. As it turns out, sometime after Barry Allen’s return to the main DC Universe before FLASHPOINT, Eobard Thawne brought Zolomon to his home timeline in the 25th Century.

There, Zolomon planned how to make both Barry and Wally into his twisted version of a hero: a person who went through intense personal tragedy before becoming a heroic figure. Zolomon never explains exactly what type of trauma he’d inflict on the Flashes, but that quickly becomes a moot point.

Thawne grew bored of Zolomon’s plans and was subsequently killed by Dr. Manhattan during THE BUTTON crossover. Zolomon then becomes Zoom again and prays to start a war between the Flashes because he no longer sees them worthy of being heroes.

DC Comics’ THE FLASH: ComicsVerse Essential Reading List

Wally’s Tragic Story in THE FLASH #46

Williamson really brings the emotional impact in this issue. Seeing Wally in extreme agony and torment is depressing, especially for longtime fans of the character. The distinct change in his disposition from happy-go-lucky and a little goofy to depressed and brooding is a little jarring.

However, it also makes for a more engaging story. I want to know what happens next and how Wally will, inevitably, get back to his normal self. I do like how Williamson decided to make Wally’s reunion with Iris bittersweet. It subverted my expectations, but in a way that made me more intrigued by the result of their meeting than with the actual act. He’s been teasing it since the first issue of this series, so it’s both satisfying and surprising.

One thing I will note, though, is that the Zolomon story isn’t exactly new-reader-friendly. Without a basic knowledge of his character, his motivations, and his last whereabouts during THE FLASH: REBIRTH, his story feels sort of confusing. Williamson explains these things, but in a somewhat vague way, which would make it puzzling for people who don’t have some knowledge of who Zolomon is. If you haven’t read Geoff Johns’ run of THE FLASH, I suggest you either pick it up or, at least, read the Wikipedia synopsis of who Zolomon is before reading this issue.

Kolins Still Has It in THE FLASH #46

As great as Wally’s story was, the best part of THE FLASH #46 is Scott Kolins’ breathtaking artwork. He’s no stranger to drawing Flash and Zoom, and his experience with these characters shows in this issue. It gave me immense nostalgia to Geoff Johns’ run.

The energy which flows from Barry and Wally whenever they use the Speed Force looks so dynamic. The lightning which bursts from their bodies when they run makes the characters look like they’re practically crackling with energy. Kolins really is a perfect fit for THE FLASH.

I hope he stays on for more issues because it’s always a treat to see his art.

THE FLASH #46
THE FLASH #46 page 7. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Final Thoughts: THE FLASH #46

THE FLASH #46 is a great issue for longtime THE FLASH readers. Williamson does a great job telling Wally’s tragic tale and makes Zolomon’s mad return really intriguing. Plus, Kolins’ art is top-notch.

However, I’d recommend becoming familiar with Zoom and his relationship with Wally West before reading this issue. If you don’t have time to do this, you might be too confused to enjoy this issue, and possibly the FLASH WAR arc overall.

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