The Flash: Black Flash Just Killed Its First New Forces Avatar

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Flash #78, by Joshua Williamson, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona and Tomeu Morey, on sale now.

The Flash's ongoing "Death of the Speed Force" arc has seen the return of Black Flash. However, this time the mysterious villain isn't aiming to take down speedsters. Instead, he's set his sights on the avatars of the Sage, Strength and Still Forces. The end of the previous issue depicted Barry Allen attempting to unite Alexa Antigone/Fuerza (Strength Force), Steadfast (Still Force) and Bashir/Psych (Sage Force) in order to defeat the villain, but things didn't go according to plan. Psych betrayed the rest of the group, using his powers to take control of Steadfast and forcing him to use his abilities.

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In The Flash #78, Psych manages to escape after a brief fight. However, Barry notes that, if the Sage Force avatar keeps using his powers, Black Flash will kill him, which he indeed does before the issue ends.

Back at his secret lab in the Flash Museum, Barry resolves to do whatever it takes to stop Black Flash. Fuerza promises to defeat Black Flash, but Commander Cold reveals that it's not possible to stop the creature, only delay it. Barry retorts that he's "going to outrace [Black Flash]. If the Speed Force dies, the Black Flash will die," knowing full well his plan could mean the end of all Speedsters, too.

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Steadfast and Fuerza try and help Barry on his journey, but Commander Cold immobilizes them just as he picks up on Black Flash's signal. Barry races after the villain, who has tracked Psych to a train in Scotland, where he intends to live in order to avoid being killed. Black Flash outpaces Barry and manages to corner Psych in the dark as the Scarlet Speedster attempts to catch up.

Throughout The Flash #78, Barry's narration emphasizes his failure to be fast enough to prevent the worst things that have happened to him, and that theme plays out here. Just as Barry gets to Psych, he realizes that death has always been one step ahead of him, and finds Black Flash standing over the dessicated corpse of the Sage Force avatar.

The issue doesn't show Black Flash actually killing Psych, so it's entirely possible someone else did the job, as Commander Cold's statements about the monster are a bit ambiguous, potentially leaving open the possibility there might be a different version of Death for the other Forces. Still, it's most likely Black Flash did the job, as the state of Psych's body resembles how the Speed Force's Death has historically left its victims.

What exactly the loss of Psych means for the war between the various forces isn't totally clear, and it's possible someone else might end up becoming the Sage Force avatar in the future, though they may have to contend with Black Flash, too. Still, the death of Psych will only solidify Barry's resolve to do whatever it takes to stop Black Flash, even if that means destroying the Speed Force itself. This might end up having dire consequences, as in this issue the Rogues recruit Mirror Master, growing their numbers by one in anticipation of DC's Year of the Villain event.

The Flash #79 goes on sale 

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