Warning: SPOILERS for The Flash #52
The Flash has a new crime fighting partner in the future version of his archnemesis, Captain Cold, turning to the heroic and oh-so-creative name of Commander Cold. Commander Cold really is a hero compared to his criminal counterpart, as the leader of a police force from the 25th century. Thanks to the actions of Barry Allen and Wally West, Commander Cold is the sole survivor of a future that no longer exists.
For the time being he's stuck in present day of DC's Prime Earth, with no real option but to work side-by-side with Barry Allen. The two unlikely allies are their only support in Central City... if they don't rip each other throats out first.
The Flash and Commander Cold's partnership is very frosty (pun very much intended) in The Flash #52. The Commander holds Barry and Wally West responsible for him being stranded outside of his time due to their actions in Flash War. Meanwhile The Flash finds it very hard to trust the man who looks works like Captain Cold - a man who's stabbed him in the back about as often as Barry has inadvertently time traveled.
It doesn't help that Barry knows nothing about the man behind Commander Cold's code name and hood, either. Just imagine it as The Odd Couple... but with more superpowers and sci-fi weirdness.
The Flash is forced to cooperate since he's lost all his other sidekicks. Wally West is in a superhero time-out, and Kid Flash a.k.a. Wallace West isn't interested in Barry's guidance (after Flash War left him feeling like a third-class sidekick). So when The Trickster escapes police custody, Cold and Flash are the only real line of defense, no matter how dysfunctional their budding partnership may be. In the end, it's up to Iris West, the one person sticking by Barry's side, to try to mend fences. Iris convinces Barry that even though they don't know anything about Commander Cold, Barry should at least try to trust him. The pep talk, sadly, comes a little too late.
While Barry is swayed by Iris' words, The Trickster has been free and loose. As the youngest and goofiest of The Flashes' rogues, The Trickster has never been a huge threat. However, with the Strength Force (a new superpower that grants overwhelming physical power) now in play, things get complicated.
For whatever reason, The Strength Force decides to choose The Trickster as its next host. The Strength Force transforms Trickster into a hulking beast out for the blood of The Flash and Commander Cold.
The Flash #52 ends with the newly empowered Trickster knocking Cold and Flash unconscious, which is at least a partial victory. Basic comic book logic dictates that the victory will only be temporary, and when faced with the immovable obstacle of The Trickster, Cold and Flash will be forced to bury the hatchet and find a way to work together harmoniously. The only real question is: could this be a lasting partnership?
After toying with the idea that he could be a hero, the regular Captain Cold is back to his villainous ways, leading The Rogues and despising The Flash. Commander Cold could be a way for The Flash comics to have the best of both worlds. After all, a large part of the popularity of Captain Cold in the Arrowverse was his uneasy but ongoing partnership with The Flash. The comics could emulate that with Commander Cold and still leave Captain Cold as the villain he's been for most of his long history.
The Flash #52 is available now from DC Comics.