When I was a kid there were certain images that recurred in comics, cool visuals that made me smile, or awed me, or just reminded me about the world of DC. Superman opening his Fortress of Solitude with a giant key. The Legion floating through a rainbow of time. The Venn diagram of Earths One and Two. An eerily serene Supergirl robot stepping back inside her lonely tree. And this…
The Flash zooming around the world, as seen from outer space. Seeing this in the latest issue gave me a lovely nostalgic buzz, and the good feeling grew stronger as I read on. Barry is looking for Reverse-Flash, knowing he’s plotting something big. Failing to find him, our hero drops in on girlfriend Iris, but he’s too late for the planned supper with her and teen speedsters Wallace and Avery.
Reheating food with his super-speed? Such a cool trick, the type of detail I love to see in a Flash book. And is that a reference to Barry’s New 52 ‘sees around every corner’ ability?
Another great, and very unexpected, callback was this…
I really thought that all Rebirth plotlines had been assigned to the Daft Metal (that is the name, isn’t it?) mini-series, but here’s a direct reference to that Geoff Johns special that made me so happy, just a few short years ago, before DC once again became a place where villains ruled.
Barry is recalling the moment because the day after his meal with Iris he sees a distraught boy at police HQ. His father is about to be executed for the murder of his mother which, of course, strikes a chord with Barry. The police scientist looks back at the evidence and fears he missed something, because the killing occurred around the time Barry was, to say the least, distracted. At the accused man’s home, Barry uses hi-tech kit to reveal there’s a reason this case reminded him of his own mother’s slaying at the hands of Professor Zoom.
And after that, all hell breaks loose across Central City. I recommend buying this comic and seeing for yourself – it’s the best issue of the regular Flash monthly in ages. As well as the little moments of super-speed fun, we have strong support from Iris and a series of fantastic entrances from favourite rogues. Oh go on, I’ll show you one.
It’s Captain Cold on classic form, and his sister Golden Glider not doing that ridiculous mummy thing that characterises her modern powers.
Also along for the ride are Wallace (aka Kid Flash) and Avery (I honestly can never remember her hero name, she’s often around, but never makes an impression… I’m always expecting a Heroic Sacrifice from her).
I’ve complained previously/incessantly about this series’ tendency to get too wrapped up with evil speedsters and wannabe Speed Forces, but while we do have one from Box A this time, Zoom is on the periphery of things. This chapter is first a nice primer on Barry and where he’s at, and then the storm that follows the calm. Writer Josh Williamson keeps the narrative moving apace and the dialogue snappy, adding a pinch of humour to alleviate the high drama, while penciller Rafa Sandoval, inker Jordi Tarragona and colourist Hi-Fi ensure the pages look inviting. That Zoom flashback may be my favourite visual moment in the book – the angle, the dynamism, the burst of colour… it’s extremely effective.
A great Silver Age touch is the pyjamas of Wallace and Avery reflecting the costumes they wear as Kid Flash and (off to look it up) ‘The-Flash of China’ (I apparently should have paid more attention to the New Super-Man series…). And I like that Barry has the Periodic Table in his office, and Wally has been reading issues of Green Lantern worked on by Sandoval. A minor moan is that Iris looks more like Wally’s wife, Linda Park-West, than Iris as I see her, though Iris does vary a lot – it seems no one at DC bothers with model sheets these days.
Letterer Steve Wands has fun with opportunities for display lettering, his work seamlessly integrating with the art.
Unusually, the entire interior art team provides the cover, and I like it a lot, there’s a rare wit to the idea of (sounds like a pop group) Wishbone Flash.
Josh Williamson is leaving this series soon after what must have been a hundred issues, and he looks to be going out with a bang. I suspect this is a great time to climb aboard the Flash express.