Let me catch you up to speed. The Force Barrier is broken. Barry and Wally broke it. The latent forces that were there in have been released. The Still Force, the Sage Force, and the Strength Force. Barry and his new ally from the future, Commander Cold were in search of the Strength Force. However, the Strength Force found them through Trickster. Blah, blah, blah! We've had some great issues up till this point, but this one just doesn't cross the finish line.
Joshua Williamson is great at writing the Flash. I wanna lead with that. I've enjoyed his run thus far, and I'm sure I will continue to enjoy past this issue. However, this issue is all fat, but no substance. We get a weak Commander Cold back story. Why? We get a ton of wasted panels showcasing the destruction Trickster caused overdosed on Strength Force.. Why!? Trickster, when the chips are down, believes that the safest place is Central City for him is Iron Heights. Ran by the man who he was just an issue ago tried to have him killed. WHY!? And the hugest why of all is, WHY would Flash allow himself to be put in some f*ck-off cell that he can't escape just because? This whole issue is confusing. Williamson took a really cool concept with the other forces and made it kinda whack. Which is pretty disappointing.
"IT'S JUST LAME."
And while we're on the topic of disappointing let's talk the art. Christian Duce does some great line work and wicked paneling. Then Luis Guerrero comes along and f*uk#s it all up with is dull colors and over use of blacks. There's just no excuse for it. I mean I could understand if the story was gritty or a horror. However, it's not. They try to throw a bit of grit around with Cold, but it's just lame.
Now what you do get in this issue is the knowledge that Iris remembers more of her alternate life than she's leading on. She remembers being married to Barry and that opens up a lot of doors. Especially since Bart is back! And seeing how she's doing a little investigating on the other Forces herself. This can only lead to a great story.
"YOU LEARN NOTHING..."
All and all, this isn't the best Flash issue Williamson has done, and the art can't save it either. This definitely isn't a must read and I couldn't even recommend it if only to keep up to date with the story. You learn nothing more of substance about the Strength Force, you learn nothing more of substance about Cold, (try as Williamson might). And the ending is just "eh". If you haven't picked this issue up already, don't! Just not worth the time.
Don't agree with our review? Let us know what you thought of The Flash #53 in the comments section below!