Review: THE FLASH #768
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jeremy Adams
Colours: Mike Atiyeh, Arif Prianto, Luis Guerrero
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Flash #768: The retirement of Wally West begins! After the events spanning from DC Universe: Rebirth to Heroes in Crisis to Dark Nights: Death Metal, the former Kid Flash decides to call it quits. But the current Flash needs his former partner now more than ever. As fallout from Infinite Frontier hits the Flash, Barry Allen and Wally West must confront the past by way of a Justice League led by Green Arrow.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I heard that Jeremy Adams was going to be taking over as writer of The Flash. I had never read anything by him prior to Future State. Also, DC has been playing it coy about whether the title was going to continue featuring Barry Allen or if Wally was going to return to the lead. That is, until Infinite Frontier #0 revealed that Barry was going to go off to explore the newly discovered Omniverse, while Wally would take over as Earth’s main Flash – and as lead character in this title.
However, Adams starts off his run by throwing a wrench in that plan. Wally instead decides that he’s done with the superhero life. And to make sure his decision sticks, he asks Barry to remove his powers by sealing him off from the Speed Force. But the Speed Force has other ideas.
And so, Wally finds himself inhabiting the body of a caveman speedster, fleeing from an equally fast dinosoaur. And then he jumps into the body of Impulse in the future. It seems taht the Speed Force is bouncing Wally’s consciousness into various Speed Force users throughout time in an effort to repair damage it suffered (presumably in Dark Nights Metal).
This opening arc really has a Quantum Leap vibe to it and I love it! Wally inhabiting different speedsters in different time periods. And although we see Wally, he is wearing the clothing of the body he’s inhabiting. But when Wally looks at his reflection, he sees the person he is inhabiting. Also, while Barry doesn’t appear to Wally as a hologram, he is able to communicate with Wally audibly across the centuries. And if there was any doubt that Adams is intentionally referencing the classic TV series, there’s the fantastic two-page spread where Wally notices the prehistoric world around him and simple utters, “Oh boy…”. So it look like Wally’s going to spend the next several issues striving to put right what once went wrong and hoping that each time, his next leap will be the leap home.
The issue starts with a brief recap of Wally’s life and superhero career. It’s not an exhaustive retelling, but it’s enough to reassure us that Wally’s pre-Flashpoint history has been entirely restored. Unfortunately for Wally, it also confirms his post-Flashpoint history. So, the events of Heroes in Crisis, Flash Forward, and Dark Nights Death Metal are all still in canon.
There are a ton of guest-stars in The Flash #768. The Justice League appears, with a number of the new lineup’s members present. And Mister Terrific is called in to help Barry figure out what’s going on with the Speed Force and what happened to Wally. But foremost among the guest-stars is Green Arrow.
Even though Barry and Mister Terrific are the big brains, Ollie is able to provide some insight to the situation. While trying to figure out the Speed Force’s behaviour, Oliver observes, “It’s wounded… Animals… if they’re hurt… they pull in on themselves. Protect what they have. Maybe the Speed Force is nursing its wounds”.
Also, the tension between Oliver and Barry. Green Arrow still holding resentment over Wally having caused Roy Harper’s death. And, protective of his own protegee, Barry does not take this kindly. But while this strains their friendship, it doesn’t break it. You can tell that although Ollie’s wary of the danger that Wally might pose, there is also empathy and kindness in his concern.
I have to say that I absolutely love Brandon Peterson, Marco Santucci, and David Lafuente’s art in this issue. Barry’s costume is the best I’ve seen it look in the post-Flashpoint DCU. The unnecessary extra lines added in the New 52 redesign are gone. It would be nice if the boots return. Batman and Superman’s also look their iconic best. Wally’s Rebirth-era costume took some time to grow on me, but it looks looks great here, although I expect that Wally will be returning to a more classic look soon.
The Flash #768 is an almost flawless issue. The only thing I can object to is a slight nitpick: cavemen and dinosaurs existing at the same time? Wally yells, “Yabba-Dabba-Doo!” while sliding down a dinosaur’s tail, but that doesn’t excuse the use of anachronistic errors from The Flintstones.
Joshua Williamson’s epic run set a high bar for the writers that come after him to succeed. But if The Flash #768 is any indication, Jeremy Adams’ saga will meet that high standard. With this inaugural issue, Adams’ run is off to a running start.