“Truth or Dare – Part One”
Reviewer: Andy Logan
Written by: Geoff Johns
Penciled by: Justiniano
Inkerd by: Livesay & Walden Wong
Lettered by: Pat Brosseau
Colored by: James Sinclair
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Publisher: DC Comics
Well, after months and months of expert build-up, the Rogue War finally breaks out in the next issue of The Flash, and I, for one, can’t wait.
Of course, before we reach that potentially monumental story arc, we first have to deal with the small matter of Zoom’s return. Right down to the “old-school” style cover, this issue has a feel to it of an old fashioned super hero romp – full of colour, action and dynamism that, in today’s more angst-ridden and reality driven World, you don’t often see in comics anymore.
Having said that, consistently, month after month, Flash has a traditional super-hero feel to it, and that’s one of the biggest reasons why I enjoy reading this title so much. I read a diverse range of titles, from the sinister and often hopeless world of the Walking Dead, to the dark and gritty Batman universe, to the bright, spandex-clad pantheon of the Exiles, but Flash is one of my very favourites, because it has a feel and a vibe to it that harkens back to an age when comic book stories were less about shades of grey and more about simple black and white, right and wrong.
That’s not to say that Flash is a simple read, because it’s not – far from it, in fact. It’s intricately plotted, and as we’ve seen with the Rogue War buildup, stories are allowed to grow and germinate over a suitably long length of time before coming to fruition.
In this issue, the first of a two-part crossover with Wonder Woman (a title I must confess I have never read, nor been inclined to) sees the return of Zoom, alongside Cheetah, apparently one of Diana’s deadliest and most implacable foes.
The deadly duo band together, Cheetah begging Zoom to help her become faster and more deadly, whilst Zoom continues on his warped mission to “improve” Flash as a hero. Zoom’s powers and abilities are explored briefly here, and potentially, he is a mammoth danger to Wally West – within Zoom lies almost untold power, and just thinking about what he could actually do now he has become dislocated from time made me shake my head in amazment.
Wonder Woman and Flash also band together, to try and stop Zoom and Cheetah in their tracks, and it’s a reluctant partnership at best. Some hero’s fit together and work together naturally, their friendship and understanding – even if at times it can become a little strained – is always enough to help them get the job done.
For example, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Green Arrow, Batman and Superman, and Flash and Nightwing. However, Flash and Wonder Woman is not one of those natural pairings, and their unease and awkwardnes at working together is portrayed brilliantly. It’s interesting to see the interaction between Wally and Diana, two characters who, even in the pages of the JLA, never seem to spend much time together, one-on-one. Wally’s strong state of mind and fixed sense of right and wrong is perhaps more similar to Wonder Woman’s than he has previously realised, and it’s fun to see two such strong characters verbally spar.
As an aside, we see the first psychological shot fired in the upcoming Rogue War, with The Top leaving a note taunting Captain Cold, all but daring him to come out and start the fight.
The issue ends with another tradition in super hero comics – the cliffhanger. Our heroes are down, and seemingly out, and it looks like the bad guys are going to win the day. Of course, we all know that they won’t, not in any way that matters, and the heroes will win the day…but it’s fun seeing how they manage to do it all the same.
I really love reading The Flash. It’s a title that takes me back to my (distant) youth and often makes me feel the same way I did reading comic books as a youngster; watching brightly clad hero’s who believed strongly in the right values fight to uphold those beliefs. With the Rogue War around the corner, this rollercoaster is about to move onto yet another level, and I’m glad I’m able to be there to hitch a lift on that ride.