Review: THE FLASH #774
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jeremy Adams
Artist: Christian Duce
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Flash #774: Introducing Dr. Nightmare! Bad dreams come to life and lead to chaos on the streets of Central City on the same night the Fastest Man Alive attends a daddy/daughter dance. Side-by-side with his super-powered daughter, Wally must not slow down, or they risk falling victim to the man named Dr. Nightmare.
Irey West has been one of my favourite DC characters since her and her brother’s introduction in Wally’s previous title. And it seemed that DC had some interesting plans for the character. In The Flash: Rebirth (the pre-Flashpoint mini, not the Rebirth era one-shot), Irey claimed Bart Allen’s discarded Impulse identity for herself. However, she and her brother Jai were erased by the Flashpoint before any of those plans could be realized.
So, I was elated to see her return and that her status quo was fully restored going into the Infinite Frontier era. And I love that Jeremy Adams has included her as an important part of his run on The Flash. Wally West is a character we saw grow from being a sidekick to an adult hero in his own right. We’ve followed him from being a kid himself to being a father with kids of his own. And what better way to show this than with a daddy-daughter adventure.
The premise of the story in The Flash #774 is that Wally and Irey’s daddy-daughter dance is interrupted by when a villain has caused everyone in Central City to fall asleep. Apparently, Wally and Irey’s powers allow them to remain conscious, but cut off from their speed powers. This leaves the pair having to face the criminal in their civilian identities, which is a unique twist. It’s not The Flash and Impulse to the rescue, but Wally and Irey West.
We can also see that Wally’s dealing with conflicting instincts. His first instinct is to protect Irey and keep her out of danger. But he also knows that he has to set a good example for her and teach her to step up when she is able to help. And he also knows that Irey will be better equipped by him training her to be a good superhero than by sheltering her from dangerous situations.
Irey also makes reference to needing a new superhero name. This would be appropriate, considering that Bart has reclaimed the identity of Impulse. On the other hand, Wally is sharing his hero name with Jay and Barry, so perhaps not. But, I wouldn’t mind seeing a team-up between Bart and Irey while she’s still using that identity. Personally, I think Bart had earned the Kid Flash identity and should get to keep it, leaving Irey free to use Impulse. But I don’t know where that leaves Wallace. Maybe he can be “Mr. Zip”.
Another thing I love is that Irey and Jai are (so far) being kept at the same age. DC has a bad habit of artificially aging kid characters because a lot of writers don’t know how to write for child characters – just ask Jon Kent. So, they bump them up to teenage so they can write about teenage angst and give them romantic subplots. I hope any visible aging for Jai and Irey is kept slow enough to seem a natural progression rather than an abrupt change.
On a similar note, artists can sometimes have difficulty drawing kids to look like the age they’re supposed to be. Sometimes they might not even be consistent within the same issue. But Christian Duce has drawn Irey looks exactly like an eight-year-old should – especially one that’s dressed up for a special occasion. You can also see that the family resemblance between Wally and Irey (and between Linda and Jai) is deeper than just the shared hair colour.
Well, I could complain that we really didn’t get to see Wally or Irey in super-speed action, but to be honest, the story was so good that I hardly noticed. Anyway, I’m sure there will be plenty of time for that in future issues.
The Flash #774 is the perfect example of why Jeremy Adams is killing it on this series. With so many great titles in the DC lineup currently, it’s hard to pick a favourite, but if I had to do so, it would be The Flash. I’d give it a higher score, but our scale only goes up to 5/5.