The Flash #51 Review: Dealing with Emotional Fallout of ‘Flash War’

The Flash #51
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Summary
Writer: Joshua Williamson, Artist: Scott Kolins, Color Artist: Luis Guerrero, Letters: Steve Wands, Cover by: Howard Porter and Hi-Fi, Variant Cover by: Francesco Mattina, Assistant Editor: Andrew Marino, Editor: Rebecca Taylor, Group Editor: Marie Javins, Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, By special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel Family, Publisher: DC Comics, Release Date: Out Now, Price: $3.99

Wally West hasn’t stopped running since the end of the “Flash War,” and both Barry and Iris worry for his well-being. Iris sits in Central City Park writing about Wally’s life story while Barry deals with the rest of the fallout of “Flash War.” Young Wallace leaves Central City, still angry at Barry. Commander Cold lives in Barry’s old apartment. Wally just keeps running and helping around the world.

The Flash #51 cover by Howard Porter and Hi-Fi
The Flash #51 cover by Howard Porter and Hi-Fi

All this time, and I think I finally get what Joshua Williamson is doing with his rendition of Barry Allen. I’ve been avidly critical of Williamson’s Flash, and I stand by much of what I’ve said about the series — it does have a problem with tone and melodrama, and the characters come off as emotionally fragile beyond reason — but I get what his Barry Allen is now.

Barry is among the kindest and most optimistic superheroes in either DC or Marvel. He’s a classically good hero like Steve Rogers, Peter Parker, and Ben Grimm. However, this also makes him an over-promiser, a martyr, and even a little overbearing at times. There are downsides to his personality, as he would be dull if her were outright perfect. I finally get what Williamson has gone for with this series, and I respect it.

He also loves Wally West, as this issue is an outright love letter to the character. I can respect that too, as Wally is awesome. Barry will always be my Flash, but I still love Wally.

This is a low-energy issue, mostly focusing on the emotional fallout of “Flash War.” Wally is running around the world and helping people, but that’s not the focus as much as his mental state. The tone and melodrama are handled well too, never verging into the realm of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The Flash #51 art by Scott Kolins and Luis Guerrero
The Flash #51 art by Scott Kolins and Luis Guerrero

Scott Kolins returns to the book after a long absence. He has a great affinity for the characters and the world. This book has a lot going on within it too, and Kolins portrays it all well. The costumes look great, the detailing is spot-on, and the facial expression and body language convey emotion well. Luis Guerrero’s color work is bright and pops off the page well. This should be an especially colorful comic book, and Guerrero proves up to that task.

The Flash #51 is a book that handles its emotions well, making you feel for the characters and their struggles in the fallout of these grave events. The Flash Family is damaged, and every member has a good reason to feel hurt. Mix that with good work from Kolins and Guerrero, and you have a book worth recommending. Check it out.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.