As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many comic book publishers, including DC, ceased putting out new books. This week will see a crop of new titles — such as Batman & The Outsiders, The Green Lantern and The Flash — start back up again. However, with such a long gap between books, it can be difficult to remember what happened.
Here’s a refresher on the story leading up to The Flash #753, by Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, Brandon Peterson, Hi-Fi and Steve Wands, which goes on sale May 5.
The set-up for Paradox first occurred all the way back in the epilogue to The Flash #50, which showed him breaking out of Iron Heights Penitentiary in the 25th Century, destroying the Renegades in the process. While Paradox didn’t become a key player in the book until a little later, his origin actually lay in the events of the “Flash: Year One” storyline.
In that arc, Barry Allen took on a future version of the Turtle. During that confrontation, a man named Chris was watching on with his family. Previously, Chris had experimented with technology linked to the multiverse, which malfunctioned due to the a power surge from the Speed Force storm earlier in the run. During the fight with the Turtle, Chris was sent to a place beyond the multiverse with several other people. Barry’s manipulations of time hurt Chris, and slowly the former family man became the monster known as Paradox. In terms of his abilities, Paradox is able to unleash blasts of powerful temporal energy, as well as engage in dimensional travel. After his family rejected him due to his horrifying appearance, Paradox found himself in the 25th Century, where he was captured and imprisoned by Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash.
Initially, Paradox recruited August Heart/Godspeed, Barry’s former partner and a speedster himself. At first, it seemed as if August intended to side with Paradox against Barry so as to get information about who killed his brother — a crime that led Godspeed to take justice into his own hand and become a murderous vigilante. However, August turned on his would-be ally and tried to help Barry. Still, Paradox proved too much for them, and they were easily defeated. Paradox then abducted August and brought him to the Cosmic Treadmill, which Barry has historically used to travel through time.
As Paradox absconds with August, Iris West — with help from a message from the deceased Commander Cold — tells Barry he’ll have to work with his most dangerous enemy: Reverse Flash, as the villain is the only person who has ever stopped Paradox. Due to his battle with Paradox, Barry ends up at the place outside of the multiverse where Chris was sent, where he modified his suit so as to survive the harsh environment. He then found another version of his Cosmic Treadmill and began the process of travelling to the one point he knew he’d be able to find Thawne: The moment the villain murdered Barry’s mother.
While Barry heads off in pursuit of Reverse-Flash, there are a few things from the fallout surrounding the recent “Death of the Speed Force” arc that could affect the current story. Teaming up with Zoom, Barry was able to overcome Black Flash, seemingly defeating the villain for the time being. However, this initially left Barry’s powers incredibly unstable, and the hero nearly killed the Perpetua-empowered Leonard Snart/Captain Cold when the two fought over Central City during “DC’s Year of the Villain.” This complication has potentially influenced how Barry can approach his powers, as Hartley Rathaway/Pied Piper noted he was only able to temporarily stabilize The Flash. This, presumably, holds true for Barry’s fellow speedsters Avery Ho and Wallace West, too.
So far, Paradox has proven an incredibly dangerous and ruthless enemy, due in large part to his foreknowledge of the timeline and what will occur. While bringing Reverse-Flash in could certainly help Barry take down the villain, there’s no guarantee Thawne won’t try and hurt The Flash in the process. By forcing him to work with Reverse-Flash, Paradox is truly pulling out all the stops to take down the Scarlet Speedster.
The Flash #753 releases May 5 from DC.
Here's what you need to know about The Flash #753 when the book finally releases on May 5.