Issue: The Flash #11: “Case Two: The Road To Flashpoint, Part 3”
Release Date: April 27, 2011
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Scott Kolins
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Publisher: DC Comics
The first thing that struck me when I read The Flash #11, the third issue of “The Road to Flashpoint”, was how much I suddenly missed the art of Francis Manapul who has done the bulk of the art for this series of The Flash. The artist on this issue is frequent Johns collaborator Scott Kolins. I’ve always kind of liked Kolins’s art but in my opinion it’s not a patch on Manapul’s slightly simplistic, cartoony but beautifully rendered work. And bringing Kolins into the mix midway through this arc is a little bit jarring too.
This issue opens pretty much straight after issue #10 ends, with Barry and Patty back in the police lab working on solving the murders that have been happening in Central City recently. Barry wants to know how the witness from the last murder, a nameless young boy, is doing and suggests that if the kid isn’t willing to open up to the rest of the detectives, he might open up to Patty.
Meanwhile HP is at yet another aging-crime scene saying that he is running low on fuel even though he presumably leeched Speed Force Fuel from Flash during the last issue.
Back at the police lab, Barry gets an apparently urgent message from Iris and races home only to find himself in the middle of an intervention being held by Iris, Jay Garrick, Wally West, and Bart Allen. In succession, they tell Barry about how they feel about him until it comes to Bart’s turn, but Bart gets angry and runs away, only for Barry to run after him in an attempt to calm Bart down and maybe build some bridges between the two of them.
This intervention is the kind of scene that Johns does really well and it updates the motivations and history of certain characters without actually retconning anything. Everything is the same, but it just looks a bit different now.
Before Flash can catch up with Bart, who is now in full Kid Flash attire, HP does so and tells him that he doesn’t belong in this time. HP throws Bart into a wall before standing over him, saying that what he’s about to do to Bart will be quick. Whether he’s about to kill Bart or simply send Bart back to his own time is up for debate here, but my money would be on another dead body on the streets of Central City.
Flash arrives just in the nick of time and stops HP from doing whatever he was going to do. We then see two scenes happening simultaneously, and I suspect that it’s for more than the effect of cool storytelling. Flash and HP fight over Bart, HP telling Flash that Bart is dangerous and that he thinks that Bart is in fact the time anomaly. HP gets the advantage for just a moment and says that Bart has to go back to the future just as energy discharges from his Tron-looking police baton and Bart seemingly gets impaled by a huge bolt of lightning.
As this is all happening, we’re also back in the police lab with Patty who confesses to nobody in particular that she’s in love with Barry and that Barry is the reason that she left Central City so long ago. She’s interrupted by the kid-witness from the start of this issue who decides that this is the moment for a confession of his own. It was this kid who has been stealing years from the people who have been found dead in Central City, and evidently the reason that he was stealing these years was so that he could unlock powers in the Negative Speed Force that would age him and transform him into The Reverse Flash. As kid-witness disappears and Reverse Flash appears, the last thing we see is Reverse Flash saying that he has some history to unwind.
There are a lot of questions coming out of this issue, and for me a lot of it has to do with Reverse Flash and his own subjective timeline. A few issues ago, before the start of this story arc, we saw that Professor Zoom, the Reverse Flash has been travelling in time messing around with his own history, trying to make his life more like how he wanted it to be. It stands to reason that Zoom is the villain of Flashpoint. But then again, if something’s too obvious then it’s probably wrong.
What did hit me when reading the book though is that even though HP may be a jackass, he’s probably not an idiot. The reason that he went after Bart and accused Bart of being the source of the temporal problems is (again, in my opinion) due to his connection to Professor Zoom. Bart has Thawne blood running through his veins as well as Allen blood and he’s also from the future as Zoom himself is. I’m not saying that HP is right in accusing Bart, but he probably does have his reason.
So here we are, with just one issue of The Flash left and one issue of “Road To Flashpoint” left before Flashpoint begins in earnest. I’ll be here, on the edge of my seat, dying to see what happens. Will you join me? (If you do, please bring your own seat.)