The Trickster Bulks Out With The Strength Force In The Flash #53

by James Ferguson

The Strength Force has found its host in the Trickster, but is it a match made in heaven or hell? The young rogue is full of power for the first time in his life and he’s aiming to show everyone that he’s not going to be pushed around anymore. The Flash and Commander Cold have to figure out a way to stop the now massive Trickster before he hurts more people and even himself.

Let’s get this out of the way up front. The Trickster looks a bit like a certain green-hued monster from another universe. It’s impossible not to draw that comparison. That being said, he does have an arm made entirely of rock, so maybe he’s more akin to another fantastic hero.
Artist Christian Duce shows the raw power that is filling the Trickster’s body. He is gigantic, towering over normal people in both height and width. His arms are like tree trunks, but with bulging veins. Everything about him seems painful and violent. This is farther than any human being should be pushed. The body should not go through such strain.

It is a little funny that the Trickster’s arms, legs, and torso grew, but his head stayed relatively the same size. There are a few panels where this looks a little weird, but it’s not enough to distract from the story. Your focus is always on his insanely large limbs, capable of grabbing his foes like King Kong snatched up Fay Wray.
The Strength Force even affected the Trickster’s vocal chords. Letterer Steve Wands uses a rough, scratchy font that evokes a guttural sound in the mind. You can imagine the rogue’s voice booming as he aims to crush the Flash and Commander Cold like grapes.

The Trickster’s usual brightly colored costume is still shown, although it’s been torn apart by his growth spurt. This serves as a juxtaposition to the monster he’s become. Colorist Luis Guerrero does a great job with this, especially towards the end when the Trickster looks for help with his head held low.
While all of this creates some great fight scenes, the real standout in The Flash #53 is a flashback – or flash forward, since he’s from the future – to Commander Cold’s past. We know next to nothing about this character, so writer Joshua Williamson is filling us in on his backstory and it’s some compelling stuff. We drop in on him before he picked up the cold guns, so we’re learning what led him down this path.

My favorite part of this is the introduction of the incredibly creepy Elongated Maniac. Picture Ralph Dibny if he was mentally deranged. His body shifts and grows in unnatural ways. It’s as if his limbs are long snakes, curling around ready to strike at any moment. I would love to learn more about this character because he presents such an interesting premise.
I wasn’t too crazy about these new Forces at first, but they’re starting to grow one me. I just realized that’s a lame pun because of how ridiculously large the Trickster grows in this issue. Anyway, it makes me wonder what these unstable Forces can do if they land in the wrong hands. Barry has had a special and solid link to the Speed Force for some time, but what can this power do if it finds a more villainous host?
The Flash #53 from DC Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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