Flash Just Lost His Speed in The Most Disgusting Way
Warning: MASSIVE SPOILERS for The Flash #68
The Flash has lost and regained his speed plenty of times over the years, but DC Comics has just raised the bar by asking the darkest question yet. What good is Barry Allen's speed... if he has no legs to run?
It's hard to believe that The Flash comic would cross such a line, and there will surely be some way for Barry to reverse time, repair the damage, and put the villains responsible behind bars. But for the time being he will have to figure out how to remain 'the fastest man alive' even with both legs removed from the knees down. Even for a villain like Trickster, using a chainsaw feels a little inelegant.
- This Page: How The Flash Finally Got Tricked
- Page 2: Flash Keeps His Speed, But Loses His Legs
We'll get to the gruesome cliffhanger in a moment, and how it was all revealed as much as a shock to Barry Allen as the reader. But the story of how The Flash lost his legs (literally) is just as surprising due to the villain which pulled it off. Normally we would expect an enemy like Reverse-Flash, Gorilla Grodd, or even Captain Cold to go too far and turn comic book fantasy into horror. But this time? It's all thanks to James Jesse a.k.a. Trickster. And after pulling off this disappearing act, his place in Flash history has been all but cemented.
His plan? To unlock the powers of the Sage Force, a cosmic partner to the Speed Force channeled by The Flash, and use it to exhibit control over people's minds instead of their physical bodies. And on the surface, his scheme isn't so terrible: he intends to force the residents of Central City to be happy. Of course, being a supervillain, that happiness is soon used as leverage to drive everyone in the city to hand-to-hand, murderous combat to protect such a gift.
Just when it seems like Flash and his partner Commander Cold (a hero from the future stranded in the current era) are poised to stop and reverse this diabolical plot, the other shoe is dropped. Commander Cold is revealed to have fallen prey to Trickster's spell--no Speed Force protection for him--and unconsciously serves James Jesse's orders instead. So as the lights fade and Barry Allen loses consciousness, the true brilliance of Trickster's plotting begins to take shape. This is where he hoped to end up all along.
But nobody, least of all The Flash himself, expects what comes next. Because the Barry Allen who wakes up from his black out is not the whole man he was before. We recommend reading the shocking ending for yourselves, but if it's dismemberment you wish to see, then SPOILERS ahead...
Before any fans assume that Flash is somewhat to blame for his predicament, for trusting anyone using Captain Cold's name or arsenal, it can't be held against Commander Cold. As far as we know, he is still a hero at heart. But like everyone on the streets of Central City now willing to kill to keep their happiness, Commander Cold is under the thrall of the Sage Force. And when he finally learns exactly how Trickster used him and his sub-zero weaponry to negate Barry Allen's speed and begin his... work, we doubt commander Cold will ever forgive himself.
It's worth getting into the mental space of Trickster, to understand the scene about to be revealed. After being largely forgotten by the heroes of the DC Universe, his fellow Rogues, and plenty of comic readers (all part of the story's 'meta' themes) Trickster has returned to show that he should never have been overlooked. What seems like a simple revenge scheme typical of the standard Rogue actually carries a bit more weight as a result. After all, the core of Trickster's rage is that he was being tortured inside of Iron Heights Prison by the notorious Warden Wolfe... and nobody cared. Not the guards, not the rogues, not the citizens living their lives outside of its walls--and certainly not The Flash. At least, not enough to actually investigate what happened to criminals after he was done dealing with them. Which means Trickster has as much vengeance to claim from Flash directly than anyone else.
So in truly exquisite supervillain tradition, Trickster patiently listens to Barry Allen's promise to save the city from this psychic sorcery, and defy any restraints the villain would use to stop him. It's then that Trickster simply asks how Flash will manage to save the day for anyone... now that he's missing both of his legs. You can't say Trickster lacks a flair for the dramatic.
Calling the dismemberment his latest "disappearing act," Trickster cackles with laughter while revving the chainsaw he apparently used to remove Barry's limbs. The issue ends on that panel, leaving readers in a state of shock not too different from Barry's own. The Flash comics rarely stray into the realm of body horror, especially when stealing a Flash's speed need not be tied to their physical bodies at all. Injuries, PTSD, and even Wally West being kept in a wheelchair for months have all forced speedsters to become better heroes. But they never had to deal with an injury like this.
As we stated earlier, DC Comic fans will have no choice but to wonder how this nightmare will be reversed. Is it truly all a trick or deception? Has Trickster finally gained mastery over The Flash's mind using the Sage Force, and is simply causing him to see this injury? The cover art for The Flash #69 is as troubling as this final image, with Trickster preparing to give Barry a beating on his knees, but something must happen to restore The Flash to the way he was... right?
The Flash #69 is available now at your local comic book store, or in digital form on line, direct from DC Comics.