Just a few years ago, superheroes existed in a world that was very distant from ours. The problems they faced on a daily basis (alien menaces or villains with futuristic technology) were not really seen in the adult world. Newspapers and television brings us scores of tragedies and a superhero’s adventures were an escape from those problems. However, comic book writers are exploring some of these tragedies, pondering how a hero who can break the sound barrier can still become helpless in certain situations without the use of predetermined weaknesses like Kryptonite. Geoff Johns’ writing for Flash is some of the best in comics today and  Flash Vol. 4: Blitz shows the layers and humanity of the fastest man alive.  The Flash is a man who runs fast, fast enough to travel the world in seconds or vibrate his own molecules so he can pass through objects. He’s fast enough to seemingly do many things at once, but he is not fast enough to stop a friend’s life from being ruined nor is he fast enough to keep that friend from attacking all that the Flash holds dear. The focus of this arc of the Flash comics involves Flash’s battle with Zoom. Once a bizarre parody of Flash from the future, this new Zoom can move faster than the Flash and knows how to strike at the hero through where he’s most vulnerable: through his family.  Johns has created one of the most complex and fascinating villains in Zoom. Though he feels his life has been left in shambles because of the Flash’s unwillingness to help, he has become a villain and attacked his family not out of revenge but rather the twisted desire to see the Flash become a better hero. The idea of a villain that sees himself as a barrier a hero must overcome shows how willing Johns is to take risks. There’s nothing more twisted than a villain who believes his evil deeds have noble intentions behind them. Scott Kolins’ gritty yet detailed art shows Flash’s and Zoom’s expressions as they deal with the pain in their lives and their inevitable confrontation. His art has enough frenetic action and details to suit a title where men move faster than the speed of light.  Unlike some of the collections of Flash, this volume shows a more coherent storyline, focusing on the creation of and battle with Zoom. This story, librarians should note, shows a maturity in its storytelling, dealing more with the real consequences of superheroes trying to balance their evil battling and real lives with families and friends. Older teens and adults will enjoy this title s blend of fast-paced action and heart-wrenching pathos as the Flash’s heroic obligations and family life collide.

Flash Vol. 4: Blitz
by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins
ISBN: 1401203353
DC Comics, 2004

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