What’s worse than a fearsomely fanged Dominator?
A giant fearsomely fanged Dominator. Usually Wally West would be straight in there, running up and down the monster as he punches it 1000 times a second. Heck, he’s been beating up yellow giants since 1961.
Not today though. Today – and that’s a ‘today’ in the 31st century – he’s not quite himself. Wally’s mind is present, but the body?
Wally has been poured into the frame of his cousin Bart Allen, Impulse. And he doesn’t even have his, or indeed Bart’s, super-speed due to a Dominator inhibitor collar. He does, though, have a partner. A very smart partner.
Gold Beetle, heir to Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, is a tad ditzy, but totally switched on when it comes to time shenanigans. Plus, she’s a human exposition machine, quickly putting Wally in the picture.
Also helping out, direct from the 21st century, are Justice Leaguers Green Arrow, Mr Terrific and Uncle Barry, the Silver and Bronze Age Flash. Wally’s been drafted by the Speed Force for a Quantum Leap-style mission that has him borrowing the bodies of Flashes through time, getting closer to home with each Speed Force leak he plugs. Mind, there is a slight problem when it comes to Wally getting back to his own body.
So Wally’s body is gone, but at least Mr Terrific is happy. Old stony face is thrilled to bits at the possibility of going the full Dr Frankenstein. That’s how much fun this second issue from new writer Jeremy Adams is. We have Wally and Gold Beetle carrying out a future heist, Barry, Ollie and Michael talking Flash Museum membership levels, that Doctor Who gag a few images back, a callback to Impulse’s arch foe, the first mention of the most infamous character ever to appear in The Flash since, probably, an Ambush Bug mini-series… this really is a great example of the fun side of the DC Universe. Wally is in a truly bonkers situation, there’s an imminent threat to millions, but no one is panicking – our heroes are finding the fun as nuttiness follows nuttiness.
We first met Gold Beetle in Adams’ Black Adam strip in the Future State Suicide Squad comic and I’m chuffed to bits to see her again – she has that zany Ambush Bug energy but with an air of competence. She’s an eccentric hero, not a liability. I hope we see her again before too long – heck, there’s a secret origin to be told.
Bringing Adams’ ideas to bold visual life are David Lafuente on the future pages, and, representing the 21st century, Brandon Peterson. Both artists give us some great images, from Lafuente’s giant Dominator to Peterson’s holographic display. And the final page, which I think is by Peterson, is a terrific tease for next issue. The contrasting styles really sell the idea that we’re in different time periods, but both feel right for a story starting three generations of Flash.
Mike Atiyeh and Luis Guerrero lay down the colours, further distinguishing the worlds of Now and Then, while the always excellent letterer Steve Wands has particular fun with Bart’s classic logo.
Peterson and Atiyeh’s cover is a nice nod to the classic Invasion event – you can’t beat a looming Dominator – and I like the new see-through logo more with every appearance.
Flash #769 is a hugely entertaining romp, plugging into the long history of DC speedsters in ways that are unlikely to be off-putting to newer readers. It’s great that DC is embracing legacy again.