SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for #60 by Joshua Williamson, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, Tomeu Morey, Hi-Fi and Steve Wands, on sale now.
The introduction of the three new Forces to the mythos of the Flash has absolutely upended everything Barry Allen thought he knew about his own powers and how they relate to the Speed Force. The discovery of the Strength, Sage and Still Forces have added a new dimension both to Barry’s abilities, and his role in a larger cosmic tapestry. Barry always thought the powers came to him by accident, but he’s quickly discovering that it was always his destiny to wield the Speed Force, just as people around the world are discovering their destinies are linked to the other three Forces.
Barry’s current Force Quest is leading him around the world to search out these new Force users and a recent trip to Gorilla City has enlightened his worldview on the history of the Forces and how they interact with each other. If Barry is to learn more about himself, he needs to find these Force users and convince them all to work together, but that’s not going to be so easy. Barry’s next stop has taken him to the island nation of Corto Maltese, where a young woman named Alexa Antigone has tapped into the Strength Force in order to stand up for her community against the corrupt police department.
Give Me Strength
The Flash first encountered the Strength Force in the wake of Dark Nights: Metal, as it was one of the main energies unlocked when the Source Wall was broken at the climax of the event. The mysterious new power claimed Axel Walker, the second Trickster, and gave him the power to get revenge on the corrupt Warden Wolfe at Iron Heights, but the power proved too much for him to bear. Barry was able to tap into the Strength Force as well and learned that it’s less about physical strength and more about the manipulation of gravity. The Trickster sacrificed himself, holding up the collapsing rubble, but survived and was taken in by his predecessor James Jesse, as we see in a Commander Cold interlude in this very issue.
Meanwhile, Barry has tracked the Strength Force to Corto Maltese, the fictional South American country first introduced to the DC Universe by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley in The Dark Knight Returns as an analogue for Cuba. Last issue ended with Barry and Iris arriving in Corto Maltese in the middle of a battle between the local police and the mysterious new Strength Force user Fuerza (which translates to “Force”). However, Flash quickly learns that these cops will do anything to get what the want when their captain puts a gun to Iris’ head. Flash and Fuerza join forces to free Iris and escape the police, but the new hero isn’t immediately amenable to teaming up with The Flash, nor is she as interested as he is to learn about the origins of their mysterious powers.