Review: THE FLASH #770
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jeremy Adams
Colours: Michael Atiyeh
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Flash #770: Dropped into the battlefields of World War II, Wally West continues his search for a way home. As the Fastest Man Alive comes face to face with the Führer himself, Wally’s friends in the present day search for a way to bring him back and an answer to why he’s stuck leaping from speedster to speedster throughout time.
In The Flash #770, Wally finds himself inhabiting DC’s original Flash, Jay Garrick. Not only is it great to see Jay appear, it’s during World War II, when Jay was at his prime. And to add to the Golden Age goodness, Jay is teamed with the original Ray. Happy Terrill is an interesting hero to pair with The Flash with. Due to his light-based powers, he’s one of DC’s fastest characters, but he’s not a Speed Force-based speedster.
Wally not only finds himself fighting a super-powered villain, but that villain is the greatest real life villain of the 20th Century: Adolf Hitler. The latest Speed Force surge is drawn to the Spear of Destiny, which gives der Fuhrer the combined power from both the Spear and the Speed Force. To complicate the situation, one of Hitler’s accomplices is Otto Frentz, who has the ability to negate super powers.
I like that Adams chose to include the Spear of Destiny in this story. The Spear was a significant part of DC’s history of the World War II era. DC used the Spear as their explanation for why their most powerful heroes didn’t put a stop to the war themselves. If any supernatural hero, especially The Spectre or Doctor Fate, or even Superman (for some reason) set foot on Axis territory, they immediately were mind-controlled to fight for the Axis instead of the Allies.
I found it interesting that The Flash #770 is a bit different from the previous chapters in this story arc. In the previous issues, the story has mostly followed Wally’s viewpoint. But this chapter is from Jay’s viewpoint up to the point where Wally enters the picture. This works better for this chapter as the story is more than just about Wally’s role in the story, but the team-up of The Flash(es) and The Ray.
And I love that Jay Garrick has joined the ranks of Golden Age heroes who have punched Hitler. And in this case, it’s not a patriotic cover, but an actual canonical punch in the face. Jay’s mind briefly reasserts itself, making it Jay and not Wally, much to Wally’s chagrin. I loved Wally’s indignant reaction: “I can’t believe I missed my chance to punch Hitler! Gah!”.
And it looks like next issue will be a particularly fun one. This story arc shares a number of similarities with the TV show Quantum Leap, but it looks like Wally is leaping into a different show. The final page shows him leaping into the body of Professor Zoom, The Reverse-Flash, just as he’s being inducted into the Legion of Doom. The setting, the costumes and the cartoony art style , looks like an episode of Challenge of the Super Friends. I wonder if Wally has somehow crossed over to the Super Friends universe, or if the story will have a plausible explanation for how this fits into the DCU continuity.
I loved seeing MaGuire’s art style again, even if it’s only for that one page, but I hope we see more of it next issue. And the rest of the pages were brilliant as well. I really like the detailed style that Jack Herbert and Brandon Peterson used here. I could almost believe I was watching a live-action war movie.
I absolutely loved this issue, but I do have a minor quibble. Despite this being a WWII story featuring Nazis, I noticed that the swastika was entirely absent, even on Nazi armbands and their flag. Instead, it was replaced with a Nazi eagle design. I understand that the swastika is an offensive symbol, but it is acceptable to show for historical accuracy when depicting actual Nazis. DC has never shied away from showing it before, so why now? I’m sure nobody could construe its appearance as an endorsement or glorification of the Nazis. However, this is a minor point, as the swastika’s absence doesn’t affect the story in any significant way.
The Flash #770 demonstrates that the title is in good hands with Jeremy Adams. I look forward to seeing what he has planned for Wally once he returns to the present. This story also has me thinking that DC really needs a regular title set in the Golden Age – perhaps even an All-Star Squadron revival.