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"A Step Behind": At the briefing for the homicide case in which a gang of super-villains' weapons were stolen from an evidence locker and then used to murder the members of that gang, Barry Allen attempts to put forward his theory connecting the homicides and a few ot

Quote1.png You don't have to be like the others, Axel. You can change. More important, you still have time to. Quote2.png
The Flash

The Flash (Volume 4) #33 is an issue of the series The Flash (Volume 4) with a cover date of September, 2014. It was published on July 23, 2014.

Synopsis for "A Step Behind"

At the briefing for the homicide case in which a gang of super-villains' weapons were stolen from an evidence locker and then used to murder the members of that gang, Barry Allen attempts to put forward his theory connecting the homicides and a few others. Angrily, Director Singh warns that he wants the case closed. Commiserating with Barry, Detective Seborn offers to hear out the theory later, given that he and his partner Parker had been the arresting officers in the case that brought the gang down in the first place.

After the briefing, Barry is stopped by Iris West before he can catch up to Seborn. Worriedly, Barry warns her that Director Singh is livid about her article on the case. If he's seen talking with her, he could get fired for leaking information. She tries to reassure him by explaining that she's only come to talk about her nephew Wally, whom she thinks is in trouble. She's seen him hanging out with older kids, and hacked his Facebook, learning that he had been exchanging messages about a score. The school had called her today to warn that Wally hadn't been there all day. Much as she had tried to get through to him, only Barry had been able to get Wally to crack a smile. She recorded one of Wally's friends' license plate numbers, and hoped Barry could run it through the system to check for priors. Nervously, Barry agrees to find him.

Afterwards, Barry explains to Seborn that the fingerprints in the booking report for the six gang members were at the scene of recent robberies involving the stolen weapons. Barry believes that the six gang members stole back their weapons, hoping to get their gang back together. However, with five of the members now dead, the evidence still points to the sixth member - except Barry found a seventh set of prints. This means that the last member is either the killer or the target. Seborn remarks that he is stuck on surveillance detail all day, but an informant is meant to get him the sixth member's last known location. He has Barry check the prints against the scene.

Seven years from now, Flash appears out of nowhere, grabs Axel Walker up off the street, carries him to the top of a building, and dangles him over the edge. Axel protests that he hasn't done anything. Barry responds that the issue is what he will do. Smirking, Axel responds that he has already set his plan in motion. Barry points out that it was a mistake to think he'd behave the same as always - he's not the same Flash. With that, he drops Axel to his death. However, Axel's robot toys slow his fall. Unwilling to let him live, Barry chases after him and throws his weight so that they fall together. He is ready to die, if it will kill Axel too.

Barry follows Seborn's tip and finds that the sixth gang member is still there and alive - but something is wrong with him. Several syringes of some kind of drug have been stabbed into his chest, and though Barry tries to remove them, he is too late to stop the man's transformation into a violent and powerful creature. Ducking and weaving, Barry begs the man to let him help. The poison inside him is surely putting a strain on his heart. His efforts are to no avail, and eventually, the beast's rampage causes him to collapse without a pulse. Regretfully, Barry checks his watch and realizes that he's late to catching up with Wally.

Seven years from now, as they speed toward the pavement, Axel cries out that he doesn't want to die. Satisfied, Barry changes their course and suggests that Axel think about how awful he'd have to feel to want to kill himself. The foiled bank job that Barry had come to stop would have gone awry. It would have killed an innocent family with a one month old daughter. Even though Axel hasn't even committed the crime yet, Barry knows every detail about it - because the newspaper printed Axel's suicide note. Axel's attempts to wow the Rogues with a showy bank job would see the life of that little girl lost, and Axel's own. The Flash offers Axel this one chance to give up on crime. Tearfully, Axel offers the key to his storage locker full of gadgets, and promises to change his life. As a warning against ever returning to crime, Barry leaves Axel with the newspaper reporting his own suicide.

Hurrying to find Wally's friend's car, Barry suddenly realizes that it's eight minutes past the time Wally's friends had agreed to meet up. Somehow, he'd lost time in getting there, despite only running for seconds. He overhears a police dispatch warning of a theft in progress using the same vehicle Iris described. Hurrying to the scene, Barry sees Wally being escorted by police officers and grabs him away. He warns Wally to run, for the sake of his future. Angrily, Wally responds that running is what the Flash does, not him. He welcomes his punishment. He'll end up just like his uncle Daniel West, locked away by the Flash.

Confused, Barry watches Wally get escorted away by the police, and returns to work. Patty Spivot is glad to see him, explaining that she worried he might have been killed by the creature. She had since analysed the toxin he injected, explaining that it was a derivative of Venom - more stolen evidence. Singh has declared the case closed, pinning the crimes on the dead man. Barry is unconvinced, commenting that it was almost like the real killer knew he was coming. Barry realizes suddenly that the killer did know he was coming. The killer is Seborn.

Appearing in "A Step Behind"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:






  • The Trickster's dimes have an image of Jeb Bush on the obverse with the dates 2017-2021. It isn't clear if this is an instance of the Trickster's sense of humor or whether someone is predicting that Bush serves as U.S. President from 2017 until 2021.

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