Wally West has had enough. After a very rough few years, he’s decided to quit superheroing and concentrate on his family. The Justice League members he tells are, at best, nonplussed. Uncle Flash Barry is especially upset. Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow, though, is good with Wally’s decision, his super-speed having killed Ollie’s ward, Roy (long, stupid story, don’t go there, it won’t matter in five minutes anyway, as Roy’s already secretly back from the dead).
There’s another surprise from Wally. He wants to give up his powers, to take away the temptation to run off on adventures every five minutes. And that means severing his connection to the Speed Force. To do this, the two Flashes must hit the right pace, allowing Barry to cut Wally off from the source of super speed. But something unexpected happens.
Is Wally dead? Given the horrors lumped on him by DC over the last several years, it seems a strong possibility.
As it turns out, he’s ‘simply’ been tossed back to dinosaur days and he still has some super speed – but he’s not the only one.
‘Speed raptor’ as a concept pretty much sums up how great this first issue by new series writer Jeremy Adams is. Wally’s decision at the beginning to quit his life as a hero is understandable, but it’s obvious it’s not going to take. If nothing else, that blurb on the cover is a pretty big hint. ‘Blink of an eye, Chapter one’ is a fast-paced thrill ride, from Barry and Wally’s opening race, which sees them casually foil familiar foes in passing, to the cracking closing image paying homage to one of DC’s classic crossovers.
I fully expected major angst from Wally at being so suddenly, and completely, separated from wife Linda and kids Jai and Irie, but Wally seizes the day.
This is a 38pp story, meaning there’s plenty of room for Jurassic japery, and it’s a joy. Our hero’s attitude is ‘As scary as this is, you’re going to miss this one day, Wally West’ and he’s right. How many people get to experience something like this? I’ve long wanted DC creators to embraced them ‘go anywhere, do anything’ possibilities of the multiverse and it seems Adams – who wrote the exceptional Black Adam story in Future State Suicide Squad – agrees.
Wally knows that somewhere, Barry will be figuring out how to bring him home, so why not enjoy the moment?
I love that Mr Terrific is such an idiot for science that he’s not focusing on the human aspect. I love that Green Arrow is the opposite. Two great minds, not thinking alike.
There’s loads more going on, and it’s all beautifully illustrated by the tag team of Brandon Peterson, Marco Santucci and David Lafuente. Editors Mike Cotton and Bixie Mathieu have done a great job with the artist selection, as two share a slick style that makes it hard to see the joins, while the third’s rather different approach fits the change of setting.
Peterson is easiest for me to spot as he tends to draw extra key lines around his elegant, powerful figures, something I find a tad distracting. Where it works perfectly, if accidentally, though, is for Wally and Barry, whose super-speed gives them auras. Colourist Mike Atiyeh cleverly fills in the white space with the Speedster’s signature hues, yellow for Barry, blue for Wally.
Just gorgeous – seriously, look at the shading on the knuckles, the red graduations. And a hundred million points for the traditional presentation of Barry’s costume – most of the unnecessary lines and distracting electric bursts of the past several years are gone (the boots remain a tad finicky).
The pages by Marco Santucci are equally impressive, as Wally explores a DC dinosaur kingdom that, for once, isn’t Skartaris. Wally’s musculature, the facial expressions, the way he moves among the glorious scenery – it’s superhero storytelling perfection, made all the better by the smartly applied colour choices of Arif Prianto. Dig that lava!
The final sequence, as Wally winds up elsewhere in time, is by David Lafuente and I’m disinclined to spoil the reveal, as it’s at the end of the issue, but what the heck, LaFuente and colourist Luis Guerrero do such a lovely job, their work should be seen.
And yes, that is Wally apparently doing Impulse cosplay.
Letterers are terribly underrated. While hand lettering is rare these days, there’s still skill involved in selection of fonts and getting them on the page in the most readable way. Look at how well this conversation flows across the panel, for example, and tell me Steve Wands isn’t great.
The cover by Peterson and Atiyeh is a stunner, although it’s surprising that it features Barry and not Wally. Darran Robinson’s snazzy new logo, created for the shocking Future State Flash issues, sits nicely on the page.
A compelling, witty, wildly entertaining, great-looking comic. I cannot recommend Flash #768 enough.