The Flash (2016-) #67
Writers: Joshua Williamson
Artists: Scott Kolins & Luis Guerrero
The Flash is a book you can count on to be an enjoyable read no matter when you jump in. Some of the best stories come from this book and its creative teams. Whether it’s because of the great supporting characters or the imaginative rogues gallery, you’ll get a kick out of it. This time though? Well, the return of the original Trickster is what has me hype. Often thought of like a knock-off Joker, James Jesse is anything but. This arc is setting him up as a force to be reckoned with once again and I’m glad to be along for the ride.
Williamson’s writing is what really sells the story for me. He’s got some great Flash arcs under his belt but his genre inspiration for the arc is perfect. Previous arcs from this volume are heist-like and have hints of Indiana Jones, but this feels like a thriller. Barry’s return from his Force Quest has only brought on more questions, so he’s already out of his element. In addition, every single person in Central City is smiling cheek to cheek, praising happiness. Seemingly struck by a wave of positivity, nothing’s going wrong in the city. No crime, no agitation, nothing. The creepiness is up to eleven here and I’m loving it. There’s definitely a Village vibe going on throughout the issue.
This may sound odd but the absence of personality here is why I genuinely love characters in this issue. Barry is pretty much just a straight man this time who experiences the surprising actions of the citizens. They all have the same smile, the same lines, the same exact movements. They’re all cult-like except for the few moments Jesse James appears and Barry can carry a decent conversation with someone. Not a single person is behaving normally this issues and it plays out in the weirdest, most horrific manner without being excessive. By the end, Detective Burns is slamming her head into a desk. Whatever the Trickster is up to, it’s going to be a good read.
I’m a fan of Kolins’ art in many places throughout the issue, like the panels with Trickster opening the issue. It’s fanfare and circuis-esque in the best way, making use of Jesse James’ ringmaster-level showmanship. Or the panels towards the end of everyone surrounding Barry with grotesque smiles taking their faces. These are incredibly cool to look at, especially with Guerrero’s amazing colors and are definitely gonna stick with me. Though there are times in the issue where I feel Williamson doesn’t waste time on heads and faces. For up-close shots they’re fine, but if a character isn’t the focus then something seems off about their faces.
Though there are places where the art feels off, the issue still looks great. Kolins and Guerrero know how to nail the feeling the Trickster wants Barry to have; we share it with him. Williamson’s use of genre is always a great way to enhance a story. Overall, I’d say its worth a read but you can likely trade-wait this one.
The Flash #67 amps up the creepiness, setting up a fun revival arc for the Trickster.