NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 3:50 PM
If there is one thing that Flash shouldn’t be able to outrun, it’s Death. But that doesn’t mean he won’t try.
The Black Racer, the cosmic grim reaper in the DC Universe, has bonded with the Flash (Barry Allen) in Justice League’s current story arc. And in “Justice League: Darkseid War: The Flash #1,” the scarlet speedster is trying to shake the Racer off of him.
When Barry is known for saving people in a flash, being the God of Death is pretty much the definition of contradictory goals.
And when the Black Racer demands that he take a single life to complete their bond, you bet he is going to run the hell away to avoid that.
Unfortunately, watching Barry run is the most distracting part of what otherwise would have been a solid comic. The artwork just isn’t polished in most scenes.
Artist Jesús Merino is particularly good at sketching still poses and close-ups in this book. Drawings of Barry standing defiant against Death’s call to kill and a close up of the Black Racer tearing up as he remorsefully explains the necessity of death are all illustrated well.
But some panels, especially where there is action, look jagged and disproportional. It’s strange for a character who’s always on the move.
Regardless, the story is an engaging one where the moral dilemmas increase for Flash as the story progresses and it ends with dangerous implications for the Justice League arc.
After all, how long can anyone escape from Death if he can now get to you in a flash?
It’s always a bad sign when you hear voices in your head. In the case of Billy Batson, those voices are screaming at him.
As a consequence of the death of Darkseid in the Justice League comics, Billy — or Shazam — has been disconnected from the gods that gave him his normal powers.
And in “Justice League: Darkseid War: Shazam! #1,” Billy has been connected to new deities. They’re not all friendly but they offer up some new powers, which regrettably are not all displayed in this issue.
What we get is a series of scenes where Billy meets his new pantheon where he either convinces, subdues or irritates a god in a quest to grant him powers.
Irritating a god is actually not hard for Billy because as a teenager hitting puberty, he irritates everyone. The world’s mightiest mortal is still one of the Earth’s most arrogant young men.
However, this is actually an intriguing concept, redefining a character identified largely with his Superman-esque powers for years.
Within the framework of how Shazam gets his power, it’s surprising they haven’t done this before, especially since it can connect him to the deities specifically created in the DC universe like H’ronmeer, a Martian deity, and S’ivaa, an Old God.
It opens up some possibilities to explore this universe that’s rich with original myths and epics.
And while Billy may not have made the best first impressions with these gods, the new deities with their distinct personalities and character designs made a decent impression with me.
If this is a lasting effect of the Darkseid War, it would be a welcome change. The new pantheon for Shazam offers some exciting new possibilities for the future of the character.
The gods forbid DC not to take advantage.