Issue: The Flash #9: “Case Two: The Road To Flashpoint, Part 2”
Release Date: April 13, 2011
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Francis Manapul
Colors: Brian Buccellatto
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover A: Francis Manapul (Colors: Brian Buccellatto)
Cover B: Ed Benes and Rob Hunter w/ Buccaellato
Publisher: DC Comics
Considering the fact that The Flash is a comic book about a guy who can move really fast, it’s taken a hell of a long time for The Flash #10, the second part of “The Road to Flashpoint”, to hit the shelves. To be fair, it hasn’t been released late, the latest issue has just been scheduled to hit the shelves a long time after the preceding issue.
I don’t know if the delay was anything to do with the pacing of the story itself or if it was done to facilitate the marketing of the Flashpoint event that is imminently upon us. If in fact, the new issue was purposely delayed in order to advertise the Flashpoint event, then DC have certainly made good use of the time given to them. In the six weeks since the release of the last issue of The Flash, DC has released information about creative teams, they’ve released character sketches, they’ve told us what the tie-in series are going to be about, and they’ve even shown us the covers of the first issues of some of these series. In fact, the only thing that I can think of which they haven’t done is tell everyone that in my review of the last issue of The Flash my prediction about Hot Pursuit was, in fact, bang on the money.
Despite a slight delay between issues, issue #10 picks up right where issue #9 left off, with Flash-Barry talking to Hot Pursuit-Barry and trying to get some answers from him. After introductions are finalised and HP-Barry has reduced his Cosmic Motorcycle to a Tron-inspired police baton, the Barrys discuss alternate realities and power sources. HP-Barry tells Flash that he’s been looking for him due to the fact that Flash is the source of The Speed Force. As I predicted in my last review, HP is powerless and relies on his Cosmic Motorcycle to move at incredible velocity by channeling the Speed Force. HP doesn’t actually mention why he’s looking for Flash, but HP does seem very relieved to have finally found him. And just at the moment when HP is reiterating what he said at the end of the last issue about a temporal disaster that’s just about to happen. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the disaster he’s talking about is Flashpoint but what is interesting about it is that HP directly says that Flashpoint not only impacts the regular DCU, but all of the other fifty-one alternate universes too.
No sooner has this bombshell been dropped than the two Barrys are interrupted by another speedster. They’re both surprised to be interrupted and frankly so am I. I have pretty much given up hope at this stage of seeing any of the Flash Family have any meaningful contribution to the story of Flash now that Barry is back and the single last hope that I hold for some inclusion lies in the fact that this series of The Flash is to be cancelled with issue #12. Hopefully DC will learn from the success of Green Lantern and have two Flash books “running” side by side that will include all of the speedsters.
But putting my rants aside, the speedster who interrupts the two Barrys is Kid Flash, Bart Allen. Where Wally may have been thrown by the sight of two versions of Uncle Barry standing side by side, Bart is immediately sceptical of what he’s seeing and doesn’t believe that HP is actually Barry Allen, alternate version or not. In a convenient bit of info-dump, HP tells Bart that because he’s from the future, he’s even more susceptible to the effects of the temporal time storm than the the rest of reality is. Presumably this also means that Iris is just a susceptible as Bart, but this is never mentioned.
After getting the bums rush from Bart, HP reconstitutes his Cosmic Motorcycle fully and tells Barry and Bart that despite the fact HP went out of his way to find Flash, he doesn’t actually want Flash to get in his way. HP drives off, probably knowing that doing so would force Flash to chase after him, which gives him an opportunity to get “fuel” for his bike which is fueled the by Speed Force. This Speed Fuel must be obtained by in his own dimension by tapping into the Speed Force but away from his machinery, HP seems to refuel by leeching Speed Force energy direct from the source of that energy, which is Flash. This is HP’s real reason for hunting down the Flash and after telling Flash that he’s going to eliminate the source of the corruption to the timeline, HP lets Flash loose and drives off.
This is definitely not any Barry Allen that we’re used to seeing. So you can imagine Flash’s disappointment back in the police lab when he tests a hair follicle that he removed from HP and finds that it is indeed a genetic match to himself. The HP version of Barry Allen may be a bit of a jackass, but he is Barry Allen. Flash’s mood is lifted slightly though when an old colleague last seen in Flash: Rebirth walks into the lab and starts helping him to analyse the cases he’s working on. Well, the non-HP cases that he’s working on anyway. They’re working well together when Barry gets a call and is told to go to yet another crime scene where a body has been aged to death. And at the crime scene, they find someone else, not a body… a witness.