The Flash #33 Review

What is this all about?

The book begins with The Flash providing a much-needed summary of what’s occurred in Metal so far with his inner monologue. The demon Barbatos used Batman to open a doorway to the Dark Multiverse. Evil versions of Batman and the whole Justice League are causing chaos and suffering on earth. Superman believed Batman was the key to solving the mystery of the Nth metal, which is why he traveled to the Dark Multiverse. The Flash ends his summary stating how impressive Superman is when he flies. The statement reminds the reader of the hope Superman represents because of the power he possesses. However, it’s what The Flash says about the portal Superman used to travel to the Dark Multiverse that is most important to advancing the story, “They will need this portal open to come home.” The statement sets the stakes for what’s to come next. The Flash and Steel, a steel version of Superman, defend the portal from enemies of the Dark Multiverse.

The Review

The story transitions to Wonder Woman and The Green Lantern trying to gather the Nth metal. There are several key call outs at this point in the story. Mr. Terrific is with the Green Lantern and Doctor Fate is helping Wonder Woman. Deathstroke is with Arthur in the ocean. And, we see Cyborg communicating to the group guiding them to the Nth metal locations around the world. The team-ups, although brief, offer some much-needed levity to a dense story lacking hope. I was especially excited to see Cyborg after the events of the Murder Machine.

Back at the Fortress, Steel and The Flash see objects arriving. Steel reminds the reader that Batman triggered the events that they have had to manage by stating, “I have a confession to make.” The Flash looks back at him. “I never liked Batman.” This is hilarious in context. At this point, Murder Machine arrives, “The man of steel is mine.”

Steel and Murder Machine engage in battle with Murder Machine providing the narrative. Devastator arrives giving Murder Machine permission to take Steel, “I’ve already killed one of those.” Murder Machine binds up Steel, snaps his hammer in half. The Flash comments that Devastator is just as fast as Superman. The comment reinforces what the reader is shown visually, Devastator is just as fast as The Flash. Devastator says he will bring the cosmic tuning fork to the master and proceeds to destroy the portal to the Dark Multiverse.  The Flash shouts, “the portal!” A battered Steel tells The Flash to get out of there and find help. The panels are beautifully drawn and colored, and the story has a weightiness. Porter draws an amazing Flash, with lightning bolts aptly applied. The expanse of the world, including the depiction of the portal, is gorgeous. The reader is left with the weight of knowing that Batman and Superman are trapped in the Dark Multiverse!

Final Words

The story makes a final transition to Wonder Woman, Arthur, and The Green Lantern who were captured in individual portals and placed in dark prison.  Finally, The Flash, after running to Central City and seeing an aged and withered Iris and Wally is drawn through an individual portal and imprisoned. The Flash is shown falling into a pit with images of Kid Flash, Thawne, and his life flashing by. The words read “in the end all roads lead to darkness.” He lands in a prison next to where Arthur, Wonder Woman, and The Green Lantern are already captured.

The words of Wonder Woman, who was also captured, provide guidance to the reader, “They separated us from our allies. They wanted us alone.” Cyborg’s attempts to communicate with the captured heroes begin to fail. His final words to the group are, “Everyone is being taken to Gotham..Barbatos wants you four’s bad.” Panels show the superheroes housed in separate cells and in complete darkness.

Word balloons guide the reader, reinforcing that there are seven evil versions of Batman. The voice expresses regret and that he, Barbatos, found a way to defeat the JusticeLeague. To make a bleak situation even worse, Red Death arrives and attacks The Flash from behind. “You’re going to die here.” The Flash hear’s Bruce’s voice telling him, “There’s nowhere to run.”

As bleak as the story ends I remained hopeful. Wonder Woman, Arthur, the Green Lantern, and The Flash are still alive. The story has involved so many twists, Wonder Woman and Superman surviving Barbatos’ attack at the end of Metal #2, for example, and I’m confident there are more to come. Finally, Batman has not resurfaced since the first issue. Never count out Batman, even when the odds are stacked against him.

10 / 10

More Info

Reviewed by Tom Zimm The Flash #33 Bats out of Hell Part one Written by Joshua Williamson Art by: Howard Porter; Colors by, Hi-Fi; Letters by, Steve Wands Published by DC Release Date: 10/25/2017

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