The Flash #47 Review: The New Truth


For months, Barry Allen and Eobard Thawne have been circling each other, with the latter always at least a step ahead of the former. The Flash #47 finally hurls them at each other for a super-speed showdown that ends not only the current Flash vs. Zoom arc, but also answers the questions of why Thawne has such a bone to pick with Allen and how he’s been involved with Barry’s life the whole time.

It’s not only the story being told but the way it unfolds that makes it a fitting finale for the current creative team, as penciller Brett Booth says goodbye with this issue. As the revelations about Thawne, the nature of his manipulations and the links between the two speedsters’ powers come hurtling at the reader one after another, Zoom’s personal tale is told in reverse in a series of flashbacks. Gimmicky? Sure, but it works well in this context and invites a second reading of the entire issue.

Writers Robert Venditti and Van Jensen give Booth page after page to cut loose, and the highlights are plentiful. I’ve complimented his killer Zoom repeatedly in this space, and this arc cements the idea that he’s the one New 52 Flash villain I’ll always associate with a particular artist. Good Flash pencillers have a way of making the character their own in some way, and while I’m sure whoever’s next will do the same, I’ll definitely miss Booth’s energy, his sense of spectacle and his underrated touch with facial expressions when the action slows down. Also, all those diagonal panel layouts.

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As for the idea that there are some shocking disclosures within, I’m of the opinion that’s not 100 percent true. Perhaps the depths of Thawne’s grudge and the lengths to which he’s willing to go to settle it are a bit surprising, but his overall scheme is something of a mix between his classic DC Comics bit and what viewers of The Flash on TV would recognize (minus the part where he’s trying to get back to the future). In the end, he’s almost relatable, if only because not being able to live up to a lofty ideal is something with which a lot of people can identify.

Venditti and Jensen are also nice enough to throw readers a bone on the final page that suggests that there will be ongoing reverberations from this arc. The Flash #47 is the conclusion to one tale but just one part of a continuing whole, and while that’s true of just about any super hero comic, it’s arguably never been done better since this series started up a few years ago.


Three Things to Ponder

  1. That’s really one mean case of jealousy Thawne has going, eh? Fortunately his motivation goes a little bit deeper than that.
  2. It’s cool that Barry’s powers tie into time as well as just speed, but what does “push time forward” really mean? Doesn’t that prove his fears of running too fast are somewhat justified?
  3. If the Flash has been at least somewhat discredited in the eyes of the general public, that means Thawne isn’t just doing some crazed rantings in the final page and he’s kind of right, doesn’t it?

Favorite Moment

Take your pick, but my vote goes to the classic “hero realizes something he hadn’t before” beat that leads to this splash page:

And yes, if you don’t like Booth’s style, this image isn’t going to change your mind, but if you appreciate the crazy dynamism he’s been bringing to this book, this is the moment for you.