SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Flash #49, by Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, Hi-Fi and Steve Wands, on sale now.
To say that readers are expecting “Flash War” to have major implications for the future of the DC Universe would be an understatement. From the return of countless missing speedsters to the potential death of another to an outright second Flashpoint, there’s no telling what sort of massive ramifications the battle between Barry Allen and Wally West will have on the DCU as a whole.
However, while some readers were quite content with stopping short of using a word most longtime DC readers are all too familiar with – Crisis – The Flash #49 certainly goes miles in terms of challenging our expectations.
The issue begins with Wally and Barry racing across the world, as the latter attempts to stop his protégé from resorting to drastic measures to rescue his missing children. In the process, though, they’ve managed to capture the attention of not only Amanda Waller and Steve Trevor, but also numerous other heroes. In fact, even as far away as New Genesis, Highfather is able to sense the disturbance in the Speed Force.
Nevertheless, despite putting up some of DC’s heaviest hitters, including Superman and Hal Jordan, no one seems to be able to slow the two Scarlet Speedsters down.
Eventually, though, something finally does bring Barry and Wally to a standstill.
After seemingly breaking the Speed Force, the two Flashes find themselves back in Central City, surrounded by Waller, Trevor, the Justice League and the Titans. However, as they look up to a bright red sky that’s surging with energy and littered with lightning bolts, it becomes increasingly clear that they’ve caused even more damage than they thought.
“Youdidn’t breakthe Speed Force!” a mysterious voice calls out as each and every non-speedster in the vicinity is taken out. “You broke the Force Barrier! And unleeasshheddd something else thatwas trapped away long ago!”
To little surprise, it’s Zoom who’s responsible for subduing the League and the Titans. What does come as a surprise, though, is that he has in his possession Barry’s original Flash ring, and after donning the iconic red costume from inside it, he declares himself the new Flash.
Of course, as readers will likely recall, several of DC’s Crises have seen a new face take up the mantle of the Scarlet Speedster in their aftermath, most notably with Wally taking over for Barry following Crisis on Infinite Earths. However, while Zoom’s tenure as a Flash will most certainly be temporary, the blood red skies and lightning storms also evoke strong memories of the 1985-86 Crisis, not to mention the Earth-shattering proportions of Barry and Wally breaking the Force Barrier.
Whether or not “Flash War” ultimately has the same level of fallout as any of DC’s Crises remains to be seen. Still, considering how much has transpired in just three issues, it’s certainly within the realm of possibility.
KEEP READING: There’s No Way DC Is Planning to Kill Wally West… Right?