For a comic titled ‘All pedal, no brakes’, it’s ironic that it takes so long for things to get going. Four of the first five pages are current Kid Flash Wallace being distracted by cousin Wally’s entreaties to skip class at the current ragtag version of Titans Academy.
That’s a lot of space in a 22-page story. Happily, once the two Flashes do get together there’s some nice character work. Wally has a favour to ask, but first wants to check on how Wallace is doing.
Wally tells of how he gradually moved from being Barry Allen’s sidekick to independent hero, sneaking out after dark and helping folk all over the world.
Covering so much ground, it was inevitable that one night he would run into his uncle.
Barry accepted Wally as full partner. Now, Wally needs, and wants, to share his happily accepted burden. There’s a lot going on in Wally’s life right now, so would Wallace be willing to cover his patrol?
And so we see Wally showing Wallace his global workload, which includes regularly throwing an amusing spanner in the works of a DCU villain team’s plans. The issue ends on a joyful call to adventure, by which time I’m looking at those opening pages in a new light. Wally may have pulled Wallace away from maths class, but he has an important lesson of his own to share.
Ask for help. Know when to slow down. And it’s the relative calm of the book’s opening that helps the rest of the issue pop. Plus, it’s not like there’s nothing going on, with nicely executed sight gags and some fun business with substitute teacher Speedy.
Jeremy Adams writes a great Wally, balancing his innate playfulness – he tries really hard to make a nickname for Wallace happen – with his lifetime of experience as a superhero. He’s a great big brother and role model to the shy, reticent Wallace. Watching Wallace open up to the wonders of Wally’s worldview is terrific, hopefully we’ll see more of him in this book… Titans Academy reduced a potentially great legacy hero to bit player.
Fernando Pasarin is always a welcome name in the credits, his sleek, confident linework grounds Wally’s world. There’s real character in his faces, and he works hard to give us convincing backgrounds filled with people carrying out little bits of business.
My favourite scenes are the flashbacks, Pasarin’s young Wally is a delight and his visuals prove once again that Carmine Infantino’s original Kid Flash outfit is still one of the best superhero looks ever. Extra points to Pasarin for the most wonderfully literal ‘twiddling thumbs’ panel ever.
Matt Ryan’s slick inks lend a lovely sheen to the issue, adding depth and definition, with Wally and Wallace’s musculatures especially well done,
Jeromy Cox handles most of the pages so far as the colours are concerned, with Peter Pantazis stepping in to lend a hand; every page glows with gorgeousness. And in Rob Leigh the book has one one of the best letterers in the business, with his title lettering being characteristically fine.
Illustrator Brandon Peterson and colourist Michael Atiyeh’s cover isn’t literally representative of the issue but thematically it’s bang on. And it looks fantastic.
Issue after issue, The Flash provides smart, funny, great-looking superheroics. DC doesn’t shout about it nearly enough.