Review: THE FLASH #4


Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Neil Googe, Ivan Plascencia, & Steve Wands
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: August 10, 2016

Teamwork makes the dream work.

As Barry works on training a new generation of speedsters, he works with Meena to investigate Carver, formerly associated with S.T.A.R. Labs and currently affiliated with Black Hole and the Speed Force Storm. As he works to remedy a drastic change of circumstances, he kindles a new flame while another young Speedster finds the best way to come into his own.

The Flash #4 gets a lot right about Barry. He wants what’s best for everyone and he does what he can to help people, even if it means shirking other responsibilities. He’s a friend and a mentor, and this story arc does well in expressing that about him.

My issue is with Wally’s lack of prominence in this issue. Keeping the new Wally meant something good about DC and the world of the Speedsters, but he does need more of a spotlight from this point on.

Joshua Williamson writes some excellent interactions between characters. I’m a firm believer in long-established characters having an inalienable essence, and Williamson’s use of Barry fits right within that belief. I like a compassionate Barry, a Barry who is a teacher and a friend.

At the end of the day, he’s awkward, and that comes through in the story with some fumbles and with his relationship with Meena. I also like that the secondary characters actually feel important, whether through their presence or Barry’s own word toward them.

Neil Googe on art is able to work with the level of detail and movement required for the series, but in some ways makes figures seem awkward. I think that there needs to be a stylistic bent with anything involving the Speed Force, but some images feel strange, whether through characters’ expressions or their positioning. Overall, Googe has done a great job capturing an inherently strange phenomenon within the DC Universe, even if some instances feel oddly shaped.

Ivan Plascencia’s colors provide emphasis within the characters compared to their backgrounds. I like the softness of the technological and mechanical environments that litter the story because they help the characters stand out. Plascencia uses bright colors to wonderful effects in illustrating the Speed Force, which I feel makes the story much more engaging when Speedsters’ powers are in use.

The Flash #4 is a fun issue that manages to express important parts of each of the characters. By this point, I thought many of them would be depowered, so I am happy to see that Meena, August, and others still have their powers and fit neatly within the world of Barry Allen. I get the sense of hope and faith that Barry stands for, which are vital elements for any Barry!Flash story. Based on this issue, the series seems to be moving in a good direction, even with my own misgivings about some of the art.

The Verdict: 8.5/10


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