Heat Wave is on a rampage in Central City, starting blazes not as a cover to steal, but to scare, possibly harm, people. The Flash, Wally West, has escaped his latest conflagration, but the villain has fled the scene.
There’s no time for Wally to get bored, though, as he has his new job at Mr Terrific’s lab to get back to, where the resident boffins find him surprisingly useful.
Later, there’s another big fire, at the city pier, but the Flash soon has things in hand.
It’s like Heat Wave’s heart isn’t in it. Knowing he had seemed to be on the straight and narrow, Wally asks what’s put Mick Rory back on the crooked path. It turns out that the asbestos suit he wore for years, offering protection from his flame gun, has given him cancer. He’s been acting out of pure despair.
Mick doesn’t know how to move forward, but isn’t that the Flash’s speciality? Wally has an idea, meaning that the cancer might be staved off, giving Heat Wave a chance to become a true force for good.
It’s brilliant to see Wally embracing hope and optimism after the despair felt at the Sanctuary clinic mere months previously in the horrible Heroes in Crisis series. Here, instead of giving Rory a super-speed beating, he’s all about compassion.
This is another corker of a story from writer Jeremy Adams, who is rapidly making Wally West his own, showing his mastery of speed, experience as a hero… and unashamed love of Dad jokes. Heat Wave having asbestosis makes perfect sense, given he was wearing his familiar suit long before the dangers were known
The only thing I don’t like about this issue is a page involving Jessica Cruz, who’s apparently a Yellow Lantern this week.
The moment is well presented, but I really don’t want stories from the current Green Lantern series seeping over here. Now, a traditional Flash/GL team-up, that would be more my speed… Kyle Rayner is missing in his ‘home’ title, he could show up here.
I’ve praised visiting illustrator Will Conrad’s artwork to bits on this blog and he deserves more plaudits for his work this issue. Wally is sleek, strong, the epitome of an action hero. There’s a lovely sheen to the pages that’s reminiscent of Brian Bolland’s style, and the attention to detail is hugely appreciated – no blank, blob-headed bystanders here! And the buildings and street furniture are all carefully rendered. The front of Wally’s boots scrunch as he runs, a building floor is fully tiled – it’s marvellous! Conrad pops up here and there at DC, they really should put him on Justice League or a Legion of Super-Heroes book, he’s that good.
Colourist Alex Sinclair’s work is also far from dashed off, with a naturalistic bent that serves the script well. And Steve Wands letters with verve.
The regular Flash artistic team of Brandon Peterson and Michael Atiyeh handle the dramatic cover, with Wally contorted in an unusual manner as he tries to avoid Heat Wave’s signature flames.
Every issue of Flash – which is edited by Bixie Mathieu and Mike Cotton – has been a winner since Adams came on board. I’d like to see Wally’s wife Linda and their kids more fully integrated into the storyline soon, but meanwhile I don’t doubt there’ll be a lot of fun. Buy this book!