THE FLASH #48 shows us the inciting incident for the FLASH WAR. Both Barry's and Wally's ideological differences make sense for each character. This issue is a tragic one, but it makes me excited for what comes next. Howard Porter's superb art adds to my excitement.
95 %
Flash War Heats Up

The FLASH WAR has begun, and THE FLASH #48 shows us why Barry and Wally are on opposite sides. Joshua Williamson gives Wally a legitimate reason to defy Barry. It brings up a part of Wally’s life that has been missing and ignored since DC REBIRTH #1. I was worried that Wally’s heel turn would make him unquestionably wrong.

Luckily, Williamson makes both Wally and Barry sympathetic characters. My only issue stems from some questionable dialogue from Wally. Howard Porter’s art fits the issue amazingly, especially when he draws the Flash Museum’s depressing, dilapidated interior. Overall, THE FLASH #48 is worth picking up for Flash fans, especially diehard Wally West fanatics.

Zoom Returns in THE FLASH #46

Zoom Tempts Wally in THE FLASH #48

In the last issue, Barry, Wally, Iris and Kid Flash were taken to the 25th Century by temporal cops who dress as the Rogues. Wally’s time jump was corrupted by Zoom and he ended up face-to-face with his former mortal enemy. He also saw the costumes of his pre-FLASHPOINT children. In THE FLASH #48, Wally remembers his kids, Irey and Jai, and starts losing his temper.

The shock and pain of realizing that his children could be trapped in the Speed Force like he was, afraid and in agony, leads him to punch Zoom in the face. This brings back Wally’s memories of Zoom from his past life, but before Wally can apprehend him, Zoom makes him an offer.

He tells Wally that he knows how to free Irey and Jai: by breaking the Speed Force in the same way Wally did when he broke out. Barry and the gang find Wally. Barry tries to convince Wally to ignore Zoom since he doesn’t trust anyone in a Reverse Flash outfit. Wally rebukes Barry’s help and runs into the Speed Force. Barry follows, and thus starts the FLASH WAR.

THE FLASH #48 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Adding Irey and Jai to the mix makes Wally’s motivation to defy Barry believable. For a few issues, Wally has already been on edge from the temporal-caused headaches he’s been having since he met Iris again. He’s been plagued with memories of his prior life, a life he can’t get back from a world that doesn’t exist anymore. It was one thing to lose his wife, Linda Park. It was too much to learn that he also lost two children whom he loved unconditionally.

Wally’s Kids in THE FLASH #48

There were a lot of ways the inciting incident of the FLASH WAR could have gone down. I feared that Wally would just snap from all of the temporal headaches he had and just go insane and attack Barry. That would have been horrible character assassination. Instead, Williamson gave Wally one of the noblest reasons to turn on his best friend and former mentor: he wants to save his children.

It also makes Barry’s motivation for trying to get Wally to stop more believable. This issue even points out the similarity Wally’s mission has with FLASHPOINT. In that event series, Barry travels back in time to stop Reverse Flash from killing his mom. Now, Wally is trying to go into the Speed Force to save his children.

Barry knows that Wally could irreversibly mess up the time-stream since he did that during FLASHPOINT himself. It makes both sides sympathetic. Barry has a point that despite the love Wally feels for his children, going into the Speed Force to save them could have any number of tragic repercussions. It could break the time-stream; it could lead to Wally getting trapped in the Speed Force again.

However, Wally also has a very valid reason for recklessly attempting to break the Speed Force. You can’t deny that a father performing a Herculean task to save his children is incredibly noble. I really like how Williamson makes both sides equally agreeable. In this way, it makes me legitimately excited for what’s to come.

Some Dialogue Issues

My only complaint with this issue is about some of Wally’s dialogue. He’s a bit overly aggressive this issue, which doesn’t really gel with his character. For example, when Barry confronts him about his plan to go into the Speed Force, Wally says, “If you don’t run with me now, I’ll make sure you never run again.”

I know he’s already been on edge about his headaches and now he’s in shock after remembering his kids, but it just doesn’t feel like Wally West. It makes him sound downright evil. Wally’s a good-natured, goofy guy. Even under intense stress, I can’t see him making serious threats to his best friend, despite their ideological differences. Hopefully, future issues will address this.

Porter’s Flash Museum in THE FLASH #48

DC Comics’ THE FLASH: ComicsVerse Essential Reading List

Howard Porter’s art looks just stellar this issue. His style gels really well with the Flash, since he can draw fast-paced action scenes superbly. My favorite page in this issue, though, is a quiet, more subdued one. The page where Wally first remembers his children is haunting. There’s no dialogue on the page. Wally just looks at his children’s empty costumes with a look of stunned horror.

Their costumes lay limp in a display case, with the masks shaped in such a way that they look like they’re screaming in fear. I also like the added touch next to Barry of Impulse’s costume sadly lying limp and deflated in its own partly-destroyed display case. I don’t know if Porter intended this, but it works as a symbolic way of showing how writers forgot Bart completely after FLASHPOINT. Porter tells a story in just one dialogue-free page.

THE FLASH #48 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Final Thoughts: THE FLASH #48

Overall, THE FLASH #48 is a truly enjoyable issue. It brings back a forgotten part of Wally’s past, while also showing the inciting incident of the FLASH WAR. It lives up to my anticipation of the story arc, while also dashing away most of my fears. Despite some bumpy dialogue with Wally, this issue is a success.

It’s especially memorable for longtime Wally fans, but unlike some prior issues, you don’t need any prior knowledge of the character to enjoy this issue.

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