I’m a couple of months late on this, and that’s because I didn’t really enjoy it. But since I did review issues one, two, and three, I guess I should @ least review this one too, just to explain why I’m stopping (and, of course, I need to increase my post-count here anyway).
This issue opens with Barry dealing with the public humiliation of being exposed as The Bullet in St. Louis. He’s back in Sol City, where the press is ripping him to pieces, and the public scorn is greater than ever. All of this is coinciding with the five year anniversary of the assassination of The Red Cowl, which the city plans to commemorate with a large ceremony. There are some flashbacks to when young Barry first met Red Cowl and was recruited to be his sidekick, and of Red Cowl helping him discover the limits of his powers. Then we see Red Cowl’s old ally, Professor Tannenbaum, last seen in issue #2, being murdered by an unseen assailant.
Barry arrives, in costume, at the memorial service for Red Cowl, and tries to bed the public for forgiveness, but they all start shouting at him and calling him names. Thinking he’s seeing dozens of version of the Red Cowl around them, Barry begins fighting them all, until he snaps out of it and realizes it was all a delusion, and he just assaulted and injured 14 innocent bystanders. He flies away, as now the public has turned on him even greater than before, we next see him alone with a gun, preparing to shoot himself in the mouth. But then he hears on the news about the murder of Tannenbaum, so he puts on his costume and flies to the professor’s flying HQ to look around, and that’s where he encounters Julia Moonglow, now finally ready to talk to him while he’s away. TO BE CONTINUED.
When I finished this issue, I realized that was it for me. There’s a message from J. Michael Straczynski @ the end, where he promises that major revelations are coming, that the story we think we’re reading is actually something entirely different, blah blah blah. Maybe that’s true, but I’m sorry, it’s taking too long to get there. This entire issue was pretty much a waste of time, as it ends with Barry in the same exact spot as he was when the previous issue ended. And the only thing useful about the previous issue was that it revealed the origin of the Moonglow twins. Otherwise the whole detour to the story with Barry switching identities and trying to start over in St. Louis was pointless. I think I get that JMS is trying to show us how far Barry has fallen since his glory days as Red Cowl’s sidekick, but I feel that point was made in the first issue, we should have moved ahead by now. And we still have no follow-up on that fact that Red Cowl is in fact still alive, which we, the readers, have known since the first issue.
Perhaps I’m being too harsh on this series, but for a brand new series with new characters, you can’t drag out the story too long, there are too many other options for me to spend my money (and time) on, and this series no longer feels worth it.
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