The Flash and Kid Flash meet Hot Pursuit, who claims to be the Barry Allen of one of the 52 worlds. Unable to access the Speed Force directly, he steals speed via his super-cycle to zoom around his world, protecting it from temporal attacks. He tells Barry that ‘the single greatest time anomaly to threaten reality is coming’. And because Flash’s Earth is the keystone of the 52 worlds in the Multiverse, if it falls, his own – and the other 50 – will follow.
What he wants of Barry – apart from a massive slug of speed – is surprising, paving the way for a conversation with Bart that’s been a long time coming. And on a similar note, this issue features the return of Barry’s old lab partner, Patty Spivot. I’ve always liked that gal – hey, she was the first female Flash! The rest of the story could have been rubbish and I’d still have closed this issue, smiling …
… but it was far from rubbish. The Road to Flashpoint Part 2 is my favourite issue of the current run. We have the Flashpoint story beginning, good character work and more on the mysterious killer who’s stealing time. Writer Geoff Johns restores the impatient quality that saw Bart initially take the superhero name Impulse, and moves the subplot of Barry’s distancing himself from family members forward. The only thing I don’t like about this story is the name Hot Pursuit, which is seriously naff; I guess, after seven decades of super-speedsters, all the good names have been taken. Here come Hot Pursuit, on his Cosmic Motorcycle. Oh dearie me.
This issue also features the best art yet from the already impressive team of illustrator Francis Manapul and colourist Brian Buccellato. The figures are sharp, the pages crackle with heat and light energy, and there’s a brilliant use of colour to convey emotion in a key beat.
Manapul and Buccellato‘s cover is eye-catching, if a little after the fact. We found out who Hot Pursuit (snicker) was last issue. Then again, this book takes so long to appear – I see that #9 came out in early February – that readers may have forgotten. Hopefully, once the Flashpoint event proper begins, this comic will synch up with the rest of the DC line and appear regularly. A boy can dream.