The Flash: One of DC's Deadliest Speedsters Is Back With a New Target

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Flash #76, by Joshua Williamson, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona and Tomeu Morey, on sale now.

The Flash #76 sees Black Flash finally return to the DC Universe. However, the monster isn't targeting Speed Force users this time around. Instead, he's taking on the Still, Strength and Sage Forces, which are having an adverse effect on the Speed Force from which he draws his power.

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Williamson's Flash run has gradually introduced readers to these new forces and their various avatars before dropping the bombshell reveal the Sage, Strength, Sage and Speed Forces are fighting for supremacy and control over the mysterious Forever Force. Flash #75 introduced Steadfast, the avatar of the Still Force, who allied himself with Barry and taught the speedster about the connection between the various forces and the role Flash would play in the future.

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Issue #76 picks up with Barry, Wallace West/Kid Flash and Avery Ho/China's Flash fighting, and defeating, Tarpit and Girder following the Rogues' return to Central City. Afterwards, they retire to the Flash Museum, where it's revealed Barry has built a secret hideout/lab. Inside, they find Steadfast and the time-displaced Commander Cold. Steadfast and Barry reveal the other forces getting released has resulted in speedsters slowing down, as the "very existence [of the other forces] hurts the Speed Force." However, their conversation is interrupted when Barry perceives something wrong with time. Black Flash then materializes in the lab. Thinking quickly, Flash punches Black Flash, sending the monster to the ground.

RELATED: Take 'The Flash: Death of the Speed Force' Title Literally, Williamson Warns

Created by Grant Morrison, Mark Millar and Ron Wagner, Black Flash first appeared in 1998's The Flash #138 and serves as something of an agent of death for speedsters, returning them to the Speed Force when it's time to die. The creature's identity is relatively unclear, though Barry Allen himself once served as Black Flash. So far, the villain hasn't had much of a presence since Rebirth started in 2016, and his status in the present continuity wasn't entirely clear until now.

As the speedsters prepare for a confrontation, Black Flash reveals his true target: Steadfast. Pushing through Barry, Black Flash punches Steadfast squarely in the chest, sending blood flying everywhere. "New forces must die," Black Flash says. The issue ends there, leaving the Still Force avatar's fate unclear.

Considering Black Flash's deep links to both the Speed Force and the Negative Speed Force, the being has good reason to want to make sure none of the other avatar's succeed, which would result in the Speed Force getting wiped out. However, the title of the arc is "Death of the Speed Force," which Williamson says is literal, so Black Flash's murderous action might just be for naught. Instead, Black Flash might have just stepped on stage for his last appearance for a very, very long time.

The Flash #77 goes on sale August 28.

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