After Barry arrests himself, Joshua Williamson delivers a single issue arc for the sake of curing Barry and his allies. While I was hoping for more development, we got nothing instead. This issue gives larger amount of dedication to rehashing the past of Barry and Cold, than it does developing a new arc.
Within the first few pages, we get Barry and Cold rehashing the past en route to Arkham. Upon arrival, Pied Piper delivers Avery and Kid Flash, so that he can cure the three. This results in spending time curing their ailments, allowing for Glider to break Cold out. This results in a lackluster setting and storyline, followed by the introduction of a new arc that will be hit or miss.
Instead of focusing around the past issues and curing the team, Flash would’ve been better supported with seeing interactions between Cold and Barry working together to survive Arkham. The two characters growing together more over surviving, and along the way, seeing Barry learn to control his abilities, would’ve made for a more significant issue.
While Barry uses his time in prison to help him control his powers, we could have a focus on Kid Flash and Avery honing their own powers in Central City, while Barry is away. This gives us growth for all characters, and would showcase the different ways the heroes go about controlling themselves. It would’ve allowed Williamson to cover other aspects of the Flash families personalities. Instead, we’re given a quick fix.
As Pied Piper cures the team with a miracle result, we also are given the quick escape of Cold and turnaround of Golden Glider. This results in a lackluster conclusion and a squandered plot that could’ve given us more growth.
Afterwards, Williamson focuses on how Flash copes with the Year of the Villain events and how it affects him, only to be met with his future self again. This ends in the coming of Paradox as the next Flash villain. This could result in a lead up to the next DC event. Paradox is a strong villain and arguably a greater threat than Cold. Since DC already had Williamson cover the Batman Superman run that led to Hell Arisen, and with Snyder’s next DC project unannounced, we could be seeing Flash as the starting point to a new event. Brian Michael Bendis is already penning the next Leviathan series that’ll hopefully impact these series more than the prior series, and seeing where Paradox fits into the next event would be fun.
It’s still uncertain where this new arc will go, but it’s unfortunate that the arrest of Flash was almost meaningless and short lived, focusing more on the next arc and cleaning things up, rather than showcasing growth.