by Mark Mitchell
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, read on at your own risk!
The danger in discussing a single issue of a serialized comic book is that a moment or character beat that doesn’t work in isolation might end up folding in nicely once more of the story is laid out to see. Since comic books are designed to tell their stories episodically, the fact that irrational behavior might be explained in the future doesn’t forgive the initial irritation, but it does help calm it. Such is the case in Joshua Williamson’s The Flash 25, where my profound annoyance in the previous two issues (especially The Flash 23) at Barry being so unaware of how selfish and dangerous he’s been by not telling Iris about his secret identity is resolved simply by having Barry acknowledge his foolishness.
But more than just putting to rest my grievances with The Flash 23, The Flash 25 tells a compelling story in its own right. Just as we were promised when this arc began, this is really Thawne’s story more than it is Barry’s, and after Williamson opens the issue with a neat summary of Reverse Flash’s troubled history from Flash’s perspective, we are appropriately shown the reverse — Flash and Reverse Flash’s story as perceived by Thawne. Seeing things from Thawne’s perspective does a lot to humanize him; his breaking point, that what he had with Flash is not as special as he perceived it to be, is trivial enough that it’s clear Barry isn’t really deserving of the punishment Reverse Flash doles out. But, the seeds planted in The Flash 23 and 24 pay off nicely when Thawne unmasks Barry in front of Iris, revealing his deception. And if the reveal is painful for Iris to bear, well, Barry has no one to blame but himself, really.
It’s not that we’re on Thawne’s side, it’s just that maybe he has a point, you know?
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?