It’s 1944 and mystery men the Ray and the Flash have been given a mission by FDR – capture the Spear of Destiny from the Nazis. They’ve not met previously and don’t look set to become best buddies.
Things don’t go according to plan, thanks to Hitler’s real secret weapon… but the boys have help from beyond in the form of future Flash Wally West.
Well, ‘form’ isn’t quite right… Wally’s currently a dimension-hopping spirit, jumping from speedster to speedster on a mission to save the Speed Force. He doesn’t know if he’ll ever get home, but Wally’s priority is to stop a stray burst of super-speed from exploding, as the cover quite fairly puts it, ‘the greatest villain of World War II’.
I’ve been enjoying the Blink of an Eye storyline and this is another terrific instalment. I’m a mark for Second World War superheroics, and am as happy as Wally is to meet Jay Garrick in his prime. It’s also great to see the Ray, a surprising choice given he was never a Justice Society of America member – he wasn’t a DC character back then. The two heroes play off each other wonderfully, with Jay the Jimmy Stewart type and Happy Terrill a more jaded John Wayne.
You don’t need familiarity with the Golden Age All-Star Comics or Bronze Age All-Star Squadron to enjoy this issue as characters and situations are introduced with elegance and economy. And bless writer Jeremy Adams for giving us an actual recap of the story so far at the beginning. Adams obviously loves the original superheroes – he co-wrote the new Justice Society: World War II animation – and does them proud here. I wonder if he’d like to pitch DC a series featuring the Greatest Generation of heroes…
The plot makes sense, the dialogue is snappy and there’s a nice character arc for Jay and Happy – this isn’t a story that takes place in an afternoon. As for the cliffhanger…count me in!
Said final page features the art of Kevin Maguire and it’s a corker, suggesting Wally may be doomed. The rest of the issue features the winning formula of the previous two chapters – Brandon Peterson handles the present day pages featuring Wally’s back-up team of Barry Allen, Michael Holt and Oliver Queen, while a guest artist looks after the main action of the issue.
And this issue’s visiting illustrator is Brazilian artist Jack Herbert, a tremendous talent who’s been popping up around the DC line for years and really deserves a regular showcase. Put simply, his art is gorgeous. Think strong character work, intelligent compositions – note how Jay reaches between panels to greet the misnamed Happy – and convincing backgrounds.
And the colour work of Michael Atiyeh is superb, from the skin tones to the furniture… seriously, look at the shiny leather effect on those armchairs and, later, some weathered oil drums. There’s also lively lettering from man of many words Steve Wands.
Peterson has only a couple of pages this time, but they’re as good looking as ever; I do wish, though, he’d end the habit of giving everyone personal auras… only Flashes should have ‘em!
Peterson does get to do the cover, with Atiyeh, and, as you will have seen, it’s rather excellent.
The current serial reminds me of the wonderful Triangle era Superman story Time and Time Again, in terms of concept and enjoyment. So far as superhero shenanigans go, there’s no better company the Flash could be in.