Review by Ian Keogh
Perhaps under-acknowledged over previous reviews of Joshua Williamson’s Flash is how every successive volume builds on what’s been previously introduced, and every new volume picks up on something surprising. Here it’s Flash working with Commander Cold, the 25th century police agent stranded in the present day after Flash War. It’s a clever conceit on Williamson’s part. Captain Cold has always been the most popular of Flash’s Rogues, but he works best as a villain, and changing that would reduce his appeal. Having a counterpart as someone working for justice enables essentially the same character to shine a little differently. Presumably, in time, it will also set up an anticipated confrontation.
Also continuing from Flash War is the acknowledgement of forces other than the Speed Force, and we’re told early they’re Sage, Still and Strength. It’s the Strength Force that takes precedence in Reckoning of the Forces, and Williamson supplies another nice sideways nod to the past with a classic Flash transformation. He’s not the only one transformed as Williamson involves another of the Rogues and muddies the waters further around Iron Heights warden Gregory Wolfe.
As Reckoning of the Forces boils down to two stories, the fact that Christian Duce draws one and Scott Kolins another isn’t intrusive. They’re both good artists and for older readers seeing Kolins on Flash again is absolute joy even if his style has modified.
The Sage Force is spotlighted in the second story targeting another of the Rogues, and while the events themselves are interesting, the foundation is shaky. On this evidence Williamson seems to have landed on ‘Sage’ as a name because it begins with an ‘S’. Presuming it was never meant to bring the aromatic herb to mind, the usual definition of sage would be wisdom, yet it has little connection. Try to ignore that and concentrate instead on the way Williamson viably moves all the main members of the cast through the plot and adds to them along the way.
With the artistic consistency added to two thrilling stories, Reckoning of the Forces is Flash as we want to see him, compassionate and smart, and working his way through intriguing problems. Force Quest is next.