Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter, storytellers
Howard Port, artist
Steve Wands, letters
In the previous issue, Iris pursues a story the murder of John Banks, which leads her to a confrontation with members of The Rogues. One of the members, Clive Yorkin, fires a shot meant for Iris but hits The Flash. Later, Iris stands outside Barry’s apartment bearing her heart to him. He’s busy pulling the bullet out of his chest. This issue begins, The Turtle returns from the future with the future Flash in chains. Iris is concerned that The Turtle was previous behind bars. She leaves to find answers at Iron Heights. Meanwhile, The Flash squares off against his ageless foe, The Turtle, and we’re reminded of how many of The Flash’s key stories are time-travel-related.
When Iris leaves to visit Iron Heights it triggers an important exchange between Barry and Iris. Barry exclaims, “It’s too dangerous!” Iris retorts, “People deserve to know the truth.” The conversation informs the reader about what Iris stands for, her mantra, and why she is a reporter. When she leaves she states, “If you stand still..the crazy will come for you.” This statement serves to motivate The Flash to take initiative and also to recall the message he received from his mother as a child, “That’s my Barry, always hopeful.” Despite the failures from his past of his fears about the future, The Flash will move forward, with hope.
Transitioning, it’s important to note that The Turtle was one of the main enemies of Jay Garrick during the 1940’s. When King Turtle says “My eternal foe,” in this issue it makes sense if your know that history. The story would have benefitted from a brief call back reminding readers who The Turtle is and how he has been connected to The Flash universe for a long time. Furthermore, The Turtle exclaims, “You and I have done this battle over the eons.” As a stand-alone, the statement makes rationale sense given The Year One story but it feels unearned. New readers might wonder where has The Turtle been?
Howard Porter’s art is the strength of this issue, once again. For example, a full panel shows the initial confrontation between King Turtle and The Flash. The uniqueness of the panel has to due with perspective; Barry is pictured, upside down, and the viewer looks over him with The Turtle in the background. Another series of panels shows Barry standing before a square entrance with Central City in view. Barry gets smaller and smaller with each succeeding panel. The imagery tells a thousand words. Barry feels inadequate for the task, a tiny person facing a colossal foe.
Overall = 9/10
This issue is emotionally hard-hitting and satisfying because The Flash follows his mother’s words of encouragement. He is courageous and runs toward the battle but will he succeed? I can hardly wait to see how The Flash out-duels King Turtle and his minions in the next issue!