Review: THE FLASH #750
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Colours: Arif Prianto, Michael Atiyeh, Ivan Plascencia, Alejandro Sanchez, Luis Guerrero
Letters: Steve Wands, Rob Leigh, Joshua Reed, Deron Bennett, ALW’s Troy Peteri
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Flash #750: Beginning: “The Flash Age”! The story we’ve been building toward since issue #50 comes to a head! While a supercharged Speed Force wreaks havoc on Barry Allen’s life, a new threat appears on the horizon in the form of the deadly Paradox. Destined to destroy the Flash’s legacy, Paradox sends his herald, Godspeed, to trap the Flash family! Plus, in this special anniversary issue: tales from across the generations of super-speedsters by an all-star lineup of writers and artists!
In honour of the 80th Anniversary of the title, DC has reverted back to legacy numbering. Thus, The Flash #750 hits the stands this week instead of the expected 89th issue of the series. “Legacy numbering” means that if the title kept the same incremental numbering through every relaunch of the title, then the number would have naturally progressed to issue #750 with this very issue.
This covers the tenures of DC’s primary three Flashes, Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, and Wally West, and appropriately, all three are well represented in the six stories included. As the current star of the title, Barry merits three stories, while Jay and Wally each get a single, yet important story each.
This first, and main, story is the first chapter of regular series writer Josh Williamson’s “The Flash Age”. I really liked this story, as it mostly gives a break and allows us to catch up with the current status of Barry’s world and the people in it, before pushing into the next big conflict. This makes the story a nice jumping-on point for new readers as well as providing a neat wrap up of the previous story arc.
Most importantly, it shows that Barry and Iris are back together and that their relationship is as strong as ever. In fact, things seemed to be going so well, that when Iris said, “I have something to talk to you about. A surprise”, I was expecting that she might propose to Barry.
Unfortunately, this is where the impending conflict cut into the story. Godspeed interrupts this moment, taking Barry to face Paradox. Paradox then gives Barry a choice between giving up being the Flash or fighting for his life against Godspeed. This is where the story leaves off, giving us a rather effective cliffhanger to bring readers back for the rest of “The Flash Age”.
I also love that this story includes several instances of Central City’s citizens showing their gratitude to the Flash for saving their lives or helping them in other ways. It’s a nice touch for an anniversary story. Plus, it provides a nice counterpoint to Paradox’s claims that Barry has been endangering everybody by the effect his powers have had on reality itself. Hopefully, this will help Barry realize that the good he has done outweighs any damage he has caused.
In the second story, Geoff Johns bring us an interesting little tale featuring Captain Cold, set during Wally’s tenure as the DCU’s primary Flash. In this story, we see that what Wally assumes that Cold goes on a rampage for the sole purpose of infuriating Wally.
However, the story shows us that the “rampage” came about unintentionally. Cold merely stumbled into the midst of an armed robbery when shopping at his local corner store. Through a series of misunderstandings, he finds himself in the middle of a confrontation with the Keystone City Police. While this doesn’t excuse Cold for his crimes, this does show how easy it is for events to quickly get out of control for a villain in the DCU.
The next story, by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato features Barry examining the question of whether the Flash has to be Barry Allen. He does this by using a previously unseen power to send his consciousness through other timelines where somebody else became the Flash instead of him. In each timeline, he finds that someone admirably fills the role of the Flash. He arrives at the moral of the “Even if it doesn’t have to be me… I”m glad that it is”
However, I have to wonder why the examples of Wally and Jay aren’t enough evidence that that someone else could serve as the Flash other than Barry. I would have thought either would be proof enough to settle the question.
Marv Wolfman, the man wrote the story of Barry’s death in Crisis On Infinite Earths, returns to the character to tell of an interesting encounter between Barry and the Mirror Master. The interesting conceit of this story is that the Mirror Master’s mirrors in the story enact various transformations upon the Flash’s body. These transformations allow artist Riley Rossmo to revisit some of the bizarre transformations over the years, such as the time Abra-Kadabra turned Barry into a walking wooden puppet.
Next, regular writer Joshua Williamson gives us a story of Jay Garrick, set in the title’s inaugural year, 1940. The story centres around an encounter between Jay and the Thinker. However, the most intriguing bit of the story is when a mysterious figure, presumably the Reverse Flash, whispers in Jay’s ear, “They’ll forget you Jay Garrick. I’ve seen your future…”.
This seems to be setting up a future storyline involving Jay and the Reverse Flash, which is further borne out by the blurb at the story’s end. This blurb promises, “To be continued in The Flash in 2020″. Unfortunately, this seems to imply that we won’t see the followup immediately, but it is coming relatively shortly.
Also, I noticed that the image on that page also shows Wally and Bart. I hope this means that we will be seeing a full reunion of the Flash Family when this story continues. Also, Wally is shown in his red costume. Could this mean he will return to his old life after Generation Five?
Finally, the entire creative team for the Flash Forward miniseries returns to provide an epilogue to that miniseries. Writer Scott Lobdell continues where that story left off, creating a bridge between it and the upcoming Generation Zero: Gods Among Us and subsequent Generation One to Five specials.
While little is known about this upcoming event, it has been speculated that it will involve a major shift in DCU continuity. That speculation seems to be borne out in this story, where Wally, now wielding the power and knowledge of the Mobius Chair, exams the current state of the DC Universe’s continuity.
It has been my theory for a while now that the time itself is unravelling in the DC Universe, and this story confirms that. Wally looks through his own personal timeline and sees that multiple contradictory events seem to concurrently exist in the current continuity. For example Wally remembers two alternate versions of the time he first met Barry.
I must also interject that it’s great to see that Wally remembers the original Teen Titans costumes, and not the New 52/Rebirth re-imagined versions of the original outfit – even down to Robin’s short pants.
Wally confronts Tempus Fuginaut about the state of the DCU, stating, “Everything. Time. Space. Reality. It’s all broken. It all risks collapse”. And if there is any doubt about the severity of the situation in the reader’s mind, the story itself drop many significant keywords that indicate big reality-changing events in DC history: “Crisis”, “Flashpoint”, “Doomsday”, “Rebirth”, and others.
Truly, the DCU is reaching an important turning point. But there we are given ample reason not to dread this. When Fuginaut asks if Wally is up to the task of repairing this damage, Wally West, the DCU’s symbol of hope and rebirth replies, “My name is Wally West. I’m the Fastest Man Alive. I sit on the Mobius Chair. The power of a God races through me. So yeah. I got this”.
This speech gave me chills and reassures me that whatever the Generation specials lead to, it bodes well for the future of the DCU.
Besides the amazing lineup of artists in each of the stories, there are also fine selection of pinups in The Flash #750, as well as the multitude of gorgeous variant covers. I love the look of the decade covers. Especially, with the care taken to match the title logo and DC symbol for each time period. DC does pull out the stops to make sure these anniversary events look truly amazing.
However, there is a nasty side to all these variant covers. The Flash #750 has a $7.99 cover price. But with ten different covers (including the blank cover), that’s almost 80 bucks. Now I didn’t mind this when Action Comics and Detective Comics reached issue #1000. That’s a once in a lifetime milestone. Now DC is doing the same for Wonder Woman #750 and The Flash #750, which is a bit much, but okay. But DC has announced similar 80th Anniversary events for Robin, Catwoman, The Joker, and Green Lantern. That’s one or two of these expensive specials a month. Such a cash grab is excusable when it is once in a blue moon, but DC is venturing into the realm of highway robbery. Please, DC! Have mercy on my bank account!
Regardless of the extra expense, The Flash #750 is definitely more than worth the price of a single copy. With some truly special stories from an amazing lineup of writers and artists, plus some gorgeous pinups from even more amazing artists, this is a fantastic way to mark the Scarlet Speedster’s 80th Anniversary.