Story: Jeff Parker
Art: Miguel Mendonca, Ramon Villalobos
Colors: David Baron, Mike Spicer
Letterer: Rob Leigh
What They Say:
Story 1 – Gorilla Grodd takes control of the Senate and declares war on Canada! Only the Flash is fast enough to stop him—but will he be enthralled by Grodd and his desire to create the perfect world instead? Story 2 – Barry Allen’s world is turned upside down when he learns that everything he knows is wrong—the Earth is flat, animals can talk, and the moon landings were a hoax! Can the Scarlet Speedster prove that science is still true—or have the conspiracy theorists been right all along?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
After a pretty good multi-issue storyline involving the Reverse-Flash, the series goes for a two-in-one tale with Jeff Parker writing both of them. Parker’s one of my favorite writers and has a good knack for shorter stories and they both work well here, making for light and breezy but complicated tales overall. The openin gone brings in Miguel Mendonca on the artwork while Ramon Villalobos handles the second. Both have their own approach to how to bring the scarlet speedster to life and lean into different aspects really well. It’s fascinating to look at the ways they approach the dynamic movements of the characters and how different colorists impact both the motion and the feeling of the backgrounds and supporting characters.
The opening tale involves Congress suddenly calling for war and annexation of Canada which sets off a lot of alarms since everyone is for it – which can never happen. That has Flash realizing that Grodd must be in DC and causing trouble there for his own machinations. The installment has him heading there to help save those who get caught up in the goons that Grodd hired for security and to deal with Grodd directly in cutting off his telepathic abilities. There’s a lot of fun with this and it moves quickly while showing off his and Grodd’s abilities. But the twist that we get is that Grodd shows him how the world would be if things were nudged just a bit more toward the right side of things and it’s near utopian when you get down to it. Of course, it’s not by choice so there are issues there, and Barry won’t give into that, but there’s something to be said for how Grodd presents a world where everyone will be happy if folks just changed a few small things.
The second tale involves Flash looking forward to some fun time with his own interests only to be delayed by saving a girl from a downed power line. Once done with that, he’s off to the 50th-anniversary celebration of the lunar landings but it’s from there that everything goes wonky as every conspiracy theory starts to surface around him. The astronauts say it was staged, he sees animals talking, the earth is flat, and so forth. It’s a visually great little short story as the surreal elements just pile up and Barry struggles against it because of how real it is. The resolve is, naturally, a lot quicker once you figure out what the “trick” is but it was halfway a given when the girl he rescued was named Ruse. It’s the kind of story where the villain doesn’t matter so much but rather the enjoyment of the chaos itself and how well it’s presented.
The two-in-one aspect of this installment always gives me a bit of wariness because it’s not the natural habitat of most comic writers these days. But there are those that can master it and work it well and Jeff Parker did that with two distinctly different and very fun short stories here that put the Flash to the rest. Both have some really great creativity to it in both the writing and artwork and made for a thoroughly enjoyable little experience as some one-off material not connected to a sprawling arc or something. The touch on the classic storytelling style alone continues to make me love these things.