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The Flash: Just What Are the Strength and Sage Forces, Anyway?

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Flash #49 by Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter, on sale now.

The extradimensional force known as the Speed Force has been an integral part of Flash continuity for quite awhile now. In Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter's The Flash #49, part three of "Flash War," two new complementary concepts are introduced. Just as the Speed Force has become ingrained in the very fabric of reality in the DC Comics Multiverse, these new ideas could very well serve to expand that reality, and the characters across the multiverse that inhabit it.

The first of these alliterative forces is called the Sage Force, which Zoom – aka Hunter Zolomon – has learned to wield against Barry Allen and Wally West. He immediately utilizes another energy he calls the Strength Force, which appears to have the capability to incapacitate both Flashes. The introduction of these new concepts comes on the heels of the recent acknowledgement of the Still Force in Justice League, not to mention the already-explored concept of the Negative Speed Force. So... how do they fit into what we already knew?

Speed is to Time as Strength is to ... ?

The Sage Force implies a connection to magic or mysticism, although Zolomon's usage of it seems more along the lines of some kind of mind or mental power. The Strength Force, though, seems a little more straightforward, as Zolomon effortlessly pushes both Flashes away with this energy's powers, and even seems to grow a pair of Ben Grimm-like forearms on the issue's final page to emphasize his newfound strength. Its enhancement of Zoom is apparent, but what kind of impact might this Strength Force have on the DC Multiverse, and beyond, as a whole?

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Based on Zolomon's usage, the Strength Force can be inferred to have similar stature to that of the Speed Force, and thereby serving as one of the pillars of DC Comics reality. As one of three (known) legs of a Speed/Sage/Strength foundation, and like the Speed Force, it would serve as one of the critical energies that power the reality of the multiverse and drive how it functions. In modern continuity, the Speed Force is considered to be the "fuel" that powers the passage of time itself, and this is the energy that Barry and other speedsters tap into when using their powers.

If the Speed Force powers the movement of time, what would be the corresponding function of a Strength Force? The term "strength" implies an ample level of force, and in scientific terms, force is a byproduct of mass. Is the Strength Force perhaps a building block of matter itself, and by extension, the force that gives all matter its mass?

If a disruption in the Speed Force impacts the movement of time, perhaps a similar disruption in the Strength Force would impact the state of matter, such as its mass, molecular attraction, gravitational properties, and who knows what else. The destruction of either Force would result in either the stoppage of time, or the disintegration of anything physical. Regardless, the loss or absence of either of these Forces would essentially lead to the end of all existence.

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