Review: THE FLASH #781
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jeremy Adams
Colors: Jeromy Cox
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Flash #781: The Eclipso War left Wally West stopped dead in his tracks… but a brand-new villain has emerged to wreak havoc on the Scarlet Speedster!
An exciting new story arc begins here!
The Flash #781 guest-stars Wally West’s namesake cousin Wallace, a.k.a. Kid Flash. It’s great to see just the two of them working together, as I don’t think we’ve really seen them together outside without other members of the Flash family, or the Titans, also being present.
I find it interesting that their dynamic seems to be almost the opposite of the one between Barry and Wally. Wallace, like Barry, is the more serious of the two, while Wally is the more spontaneous, fun-loving partner. This hasn’t changed, even though he is in the more experienced mentor role.
It’s a joy to see Wally fully enjoying himself like this, after everything he went through in Heroes in Crisis, Flash Forward, and Death Metal. The Flash #781 is one of the clearest examples of how Adams has fully restored Wally West to his proper role in the DC Universe.
Wally offers his younger cousin some advice, in which he lays out what it means to be a speedster. He tells Wallace:
We don’t wait for some signal to appear in the night sky or hope we pick up a distress call with super-hearing… Our job is to see where we’re needed and run toward that need as fast as we can. All pedal, no brakes.
This motto perfectly sums up Wally’s approach to being the Flash.
Flash then asks for Wallace to fill in for him, taking over his patrol temporarily, to allow Wally a break. This leads to a tour of the DC Earth as West Sr. shows his junior partner his patrol route, including notable places like Nanda Parbat and Skartaris.
During their patrol, they stumble upon the Hall of Doom. Wally reveals that this is part of an ongoing mystery for him. Somebody keeps reconstructing the villains’ headquarters in various locations. Although Wally sabotages it whenever he encounters it, it keeps reappearing. I suspect that we will learn the story behind this mystery before too long.
There’s a hilarious moment when they make a stop for ice cream in Argentina. A young boy greets Wally, calling him “Flush Man”. This refers to the fact that the Flash was renamed Flush Man in that country to avoid a legal dispute with an existing Argentinian magazine titled Flash. I love that Adams has made this alternate name canon.
There’s a brief moment when Wally asks Wallace if he’s heard from Barry recently and he mentions having made a couple of unsuccessful attempts to contact their mentor. Wally doesn’t seem too worried yet, but he’s noticed Barry’s absence. Adams is signaling that Wally will be looking into Barry’s disappearance (as shown in Infinite Frontier and Justice League Incarnate). This will likely also tie into Dark Crisis. I’m eagerly anticipating seeing what develops from this story thread.
Fernando Pasarin and Matt Ryan do a stellar job with the art in this issue. I especially love the inclusion of a flashback to Wally’s Kid Flash days, allowing us to see both Wally’s classic Kid Flash uniform as well as Barry’s classic Silver Age Flash costume. It’s quite interesting to compare these outfits to the modern versions worn in the present-day part of the story.
I have no complaints about this issue – not even any minor quibbles. Both the writing and art are superb.
The Flash has always been among my favorite titles and the restoration of Wally West has made it the favorite. I have absolutely loved every minute of Adams’ first year on the title and I hope he sticks around for many more.