By: Sterling Gates (writer), Oliver Nome, Scott Kolins, Trevor Scott (artists), Brian Buccellato (colorist)

The Story: Run, Flash, run!  And bring back some fries while you’re at it.

The Review: Some people see it as a burden, but I rather like that DC has a bunch of legacy heroes, those who’ve taken up the name, mantle, and mission of those who came before.  But all of us have our favorite “version” of the character, and it can get a little awkward when the current writer’s favorite doesn’t match ours.  Like most comic readers from my generation, I’ve always been a Wally West fan, while Barry Allen remained a respected, but distant name to me.

Barry’s return and resumption to being the primary Flash didn’t bother me at first, but now I find his idolization pretty tiresome, especially when it relegates every other speedster in the DCU to sidemen.  So please forgive my cynicism when I confess that I was unmoved this issue, seeing every member of the Flash family quite literally give themselves up to help Barry Allen be the great rescuer of the universe for—what is this now?—the third time.

By itself, this plotline already bears a lot of problematic implications for the story and for the future of the Flash mythos in general, but it also reminds you that even in a title where he’s the star, Kid Flash remains a sidekick.  Having gone through life-and-death to regain his powers and prevent the hellish future he landed in from becoming reality, Bart ends up a pawn for the Speed Force, a glorified courier whose sole purpose is to pass the torch of attention to his grandfather.

And if we see that as the ultimate goal of this title—and we must, since Bart accomplishes nothing else otherwise—then this whole series has served as nothing more than a plot device for the main Flashpoint storyline.  You can only hope Geoff Johns will have the grace to at least address Bart’s sacrifice in the Event’s final issue, but considering the pretty significant load of plot threads Johns has to tie up before climaxing with the birth of the new DCU, it’s unlikely.

Having thus established that all of Bart’s misadventures in the future of Brainiac has been for naught, you can safely assume all those spinning-through-time-and-space sequences in this issue merely eat up pages so we can finally get to the ending.  They certainly do nothing to enlighten us on anything, nor do they take the story anywhere interesting, despite attempting to resolve the angsty rift between Bart and Barry that plagued them prior to all this Flashpoint nonsense.

If the script does nothing to keep you reading, don’t expect the art to bring you back its pages either.  The mixture of Nome’s squashy figures and Kolins’ scratchy lines produces possibly one of the least appealing collaborative art experiences this year.  You all know my beef with Kolins’ work, and if you can accept it as true, then just know my past criticism still applies here, with feeling.  By comparison, Nome’s art fares better, but it also looks busy, bland, and serviceable at best.

Conclusion: With all its importance shifted to another character in another title, this series has no value in itself, hardly deserving any attention on your part.

Grade: D+

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – Woah—Max Mercury pre-Zen Master of Speed.  Check out that lion’s mane of hair.  Those were his glory days, alright.

– By the way, remember my little prediction about Kid Flash and the tradition of sidekicks getting martyred during crises back in Kid Flash Lost #1?  Called it!