This article contains spoilers for “The Flash” #8, on sale now, and the first two seasons of “The Flash” television series.
After the revelation last issue that murderous speedster Godspeed was in fact Barry Allen’s partner Detective August Heart, DC Comics’ “The Flash” #8 by Joshua Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico features the main event fight — along with other major events, including the official debut of Kid Flash — in the conclusion of the Scarlet Speedster’s first “Rebirth” story arc. The fight against a man who can be two places at once makes Barry doubt his title as the Fastest Man Alive, but of course the Flash has a few Speed Force tricks up his sleeve.
Meet Kid Flash!
How does the Flash contend with an enemy who can be two places at the same time? With a super-speed ally, of course. It’s never been a secret that the version of Wally West introduced in the New 52 universe would eventually become Kid Flash; Classic Wally was Kid Flash before taking over Barry’s mantle in “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” and New Wally gained super speed through some timey-wimey shenanigans with his future self. Plus, he’s already Kid Flash in the new Teen Titans series. But this issue shows Wally’s first battle, and the costume choosing him.
Whoa is right. Wally and Barry are already in the thick of the fight with Godspeed when suddenly a plan comes together and Wally’s wearing the gold and red. Barry recognizes the suit as Classic Wally’s, but New Wally says he’s never seen it before. “You used the Speed Force to generate that suit,” says the Flash, “I know someone else who has that talent… I’m thinking you should meet soon.” So Wally meets Wally is happening soon. Or is it Wally vs. Wally?
From the Department of Don’t Think About It Too Hard: later in the issue, Barry notes that Wally and Wally were “both raised by Iris.” He does not mention that they were not raised by the same Iris. Unless they were! Can even the Flash keep the diverging, recombining universes straight?
Oh, and on the subject of Classic Wally, currently the star of “Titans” and the hero at the center of this whole “Rebirth” business — as Barry is wrapping up this case in narrative captions, he notes the ongoing mystery of “what happened with the other Wally West… and how is it connected with the button Batman has?” This seems on the one hand like a necessary waymarker, but on the other draws attention to the weird fact that “Titans” and “The Flash” haven’t overlapped since “Rebirth.” The next story is titled “Kid Flash of Two Worlds,” so looks like it’s time to bring these series closer together!
The Deceitful Partner
While there are many, many differences between August Heart’s Godspeed and “The Flash” television series’ Harrison Wells, there are also some interesting parallels. In Season One, Wells was responsible for the event that created the Flash and became Barry’s mentor; but secretly, Wells was Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash, who murdered Barry’s mother fifteen years before. In Season Two, a non-Thawne version of Wells from Earth-2 turned up, an abrasive character but in the end an ally. Godspeed’s demeanor mixes the two: he seems to have a genuine affection for his partner, but in the end believes he knows best how to use the Speed Force and will kill to make sure that power isn’t wasted. Writer Josh Williamson clearly has Wells’ attitude in mind for Heart’s dialogue.
With Heart in custody, Barry visits his old partner for a chat, describing him as a “friend.” This may not literally mean that they’re going to watch football together when Godspeed’s sentence is up, but their cordial discussion over the following pages bears more similarities to Charles Xavier and Magneto than, say, Batman and the Joker. These men do not hate each other.
Oh, but Barry reveals that the dude Godspeed tortured and killed for murdering his brother definitely didn’t kill his brother. Whoops! In return, Heart suggests the Flash will soon need Godspeed’s help to uncover the full truth about Black Hole, the nefarious group behind Central City’s sudden and disastrous proliferation of speedsters (which has now dissipated).
One last loose end to tie up from the Godspeed arc: what happened to Meena, Barry’s girlfriend and Wally’s first mentor in the ways of the Speed Force? Barry had insisted, against the odds and his friends’ counsel, that she survived Godspeed’s attack — her empty costume reminded him of “impossible” events, namely Barry’s own death in “Crisis.” As the Flash begins to train his new protege and reviews recent events through his narrative caption “outro,” he’s visited by a familiar presence.
“Meena?” Barry asks himself.
Is this truly the lost speedster? If so, what does her message mean? Is she thanking him for defeating Godspeed? For taking Wally under his wing? Is she part of the Speed Force now, and can she return?
A new villain. A new hero. A new star-crossed lover. And new mysteries to unpack with each. Not a bad place to end “The Flash: Rebirth” volume 1.
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