It is hard being Barry Allen, and The Flash #80 shows there’s always a new surprise just waiting for Barry when he least expects it. The speedster has been managing a number of other “Forces” that have popped up to challenge his Speed Force. Over the course of this arc we have seen The Strength, Still, and Sage Forces. Each of these varying powers has served a master who decides to use their powers for good or for ill depending on their personal disposition. All of that sounds like comic book-y fun, but it comes with one huge drawback, The Speed Force is being weakened by all these competitors that have appeared. As a result of a waning power source, The Flash is slowly losing his abilities and that can’t be a good thing. Now, if that wasn’t bad enough, another force has entered the fray, and this one is the most formidable of all. *Spoilers ahead for The Flash #80*
Now, the Speed Force doesn’t take these sorts of infractions lightly. In fact, it has an entity that acts kind of like an antibody to get rid of anything that would disturb the balance of the Speed Force or destroy it outright. In comes the Black Flash, who will protect that power source at all costs. And yes, that means the entity will kill all those other new force members if that’s what it takes to preserve the Speed Force. Barry is, of course, not going to want anyone killing on his behalf. It doesn’t look like he’s going to have a choice in the matter though as one of his biggest rivals has entered the fray.
Hunter Zolomon is here now and he wields the power of the Forever Force. He’s rocking that red costume to signal that he’s the one true Flash here. Zoom has gotten all three of the new Forces under control and that’s bad news for Barry. The Strength, Still, and Sage Forces bonded together produce the Forever Force. This new power gives the villain control over time. He can cruise around not just the timeline, but also the Multiverse at will.
Last year, Scott Snyder teased some of these other forces in his run on Justice League. The Still Force and some of the more wild elements of Green Lantern along the light spectrum were all introduced. He told us all about them then, and look at how they’ve ballooned lately.
"The first arc really focuses on [John Stewart], and Barry as well," Snyder teased. "With the discovery that once the Source Wall is broken, all these new clues about why, and all these new clues about the nature of our multiverse and what made it begin to appear, and one of those things is a portal, or a permeable membrane, to a whole new area of the emotional spectrum that we haven't visited before: the invisible tangents of the emotional spectrum, the ultraviolets, and the infrareds, and all that stuff, that contains some of the worst and most sublimated hidden emotions that we don't like to admit are there. Barry Allen discovers there's a Still Force within the Speed Force, and more like that."