The Flash #785 review

For the last few issues we’ve had three teams from the Flash Family on three parallel Earths looking for the supposedly dead Barry Allen in a Dark Crisis tie-in.

Wally and Ace are in a seemingly idyllic world where Barry Allen has indeed been exiled by the madman Pariah.

Wally’s kids, Irey and Jai, are having less luck, having wound up on the world of the fearsome Night Flash.

And Jesse Quick and Max Mercury have hit the road with a jacked and bearded Barry, who’s being menaced by the Mistress of the Monster Mobility Scooter.

The lady’s name is Terramongus and she was introduced in a road race featuring a bunch of bizarre bikes and terror trucks. Most of them were kayoed last month by Jesse and Max, so this time it’s Terramongus and her footsoldiers trying to stop Beardy Allen doing something with a magic pearl he calls The Fraction.

I honestly can’t tell you what I’m seeing here. There’s a second page but it’s similarly tough for me to visually parse. On the one hand, it doesn’t matter as we’ll likely never see this world again after our speedsters take their leave. On the other, since the apparent point is the visual spectacle of meaty muscle cars – everyone but me seems to love riffs on Mad Max – I’d at least like to understand what’s going on.

The other mini-adventures thunk up by writer Jeremy Adams are more satisfying. Irey and Jai show once again that they’re great little heroes, with the currently codename-less former especially keen to kick Bad Barry butt.

And Wally gets a helping hand to escape the real, but crazed, Barry Allen from an unexpected quarter.

Well, unexpected by him – the issue opens with the newly speedy Linda Park West demanding Mr Terrific let her join the mission. I’d have preferred her arrival to be a surprise to me too, one set up by previous issues but not telegraphed by this one.

There’s a sweet moment between Barry and Wally that echoes something from the DC Universe Rebirth special back in 2016.

My favourite bit of business this time, though, involves the kids and their new acquaintance, who presents as a victim of Night Flash but – well, just look at how he’s posed in that third panel.

Eeeeevil! It’s good work from artist Amancay Nahuelpan and colourist Jeromy Cox, who smartly give us three very different environments. The characters and emotions are nicely captured, and I really hope we see Terramongus again… if she’s not from Apokolips I’ll eat my winged helmet. And I especially like the Benday dots effect in Barry’s Perfect World – sure, they’re bigger than the actual coloured dots that used to fool the eyes into thinking they were looking at solid hues, but they have to draw attention to themselves to sell the idea of a Bronze Age heaven.

Rob Leigh’s lettering is always a treat, he’s a master at putting emotion into the words. And the cover by Taurin Clarke is a real eye popper.

This hasn’t been my favourite storyline since Jeremy Adams took over as writer and made The Flash one of my favourite DC books again – it’s a tie-in to the latest Big Event, so is that combination of 90% wheel spinning and 10% plot progression such things entail. But it’s been entertaining, and the different worlds we’ve visited have been fun.

8 thoughts on “The Flash #785 review

  1. I’ve been buying Flash as a Dark Crisis tie-in, and not forgetting how much you’ve recommended the book in general.

    It’s been fun. Even this odd issue. The Flash Family is delightful.

    Even in the prior issue, though, there were some moments where I couldn’t follow the story, particularly with what was happening with Wallace.

    In this issue, obviously we are just supposed to give up completely!

    Adams wrote here approximately 10% of a post-apocalyptic Mad Max story, just some bare hints of a plot. I too wished for more, because the machines and landscape don’t do anything for me. But he certainly knows he did this, and we are surely supposed to chuckle along with him.

    The Night Flash story is perfectly fine though it resolves so quickly. I’m not sure where the watch is, but I guess they picked the lost one up on the way out? I suppose when Jay jumped in the portal right after the kids, he was traveling sort of in the wake of their watch, so he landed on the same world? But for some reason, it took him a long time to find them.

    Linda had no such GPS problems, apparently. I don’t know why she went to Barry’s world first if it’s her kids she was most worried about, but it’s especially odd that she came out of the portal swinging and right on target. I guess she’s just got a better sense of interdimensional direction than Jay has.

    I know, we are definitely not supposed to try to think this stuff through, it’s just for goofy all-ages fun. But at a certain point it starts to remind me of the idiotic and now mostly cancelled CW shows, which by the end were 100% devoid of logic. Dreamer’s powers were just the tip of the iceberg of how ridiculously those shows were plotted.

    Finally, the 2-page spread on Earth-Barry – the double-splash that includes the Rebirth homage – is more than a little disorienting. I haven’t found an order to the panels that makes sense across the board. I wonder what the Guided View chooses for you? It looks to me like the Wallace story goes around clockwise – across the top row of panels, down the right edge of the book and then left across the bottom row. I’m less sure about the Barry story – in fact, I think you can actually read the panels of Barry’s and Wally’s interaction in any order at all! No order is perfectly smooth or clearly better than any other.

    Alternate Earths! They’re always up to some mischief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On the one hand, we aren’t supposed to think about this, as you say, but it certainly is fun, I love your dissection of events seen and implied. I’m very much looking forward to post-Dark Crisis and getting self-contained Flash stories again. It would be wonderful to have two Flash books, providing room for all the Flash Family members.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This has been the weakest of Adams’ storylines. The three different earths are an interesting concept to explore, but the storytelling has been sloppy. The cuts between stories have been jarring or confusing… and the art isn’t helping to tell the story. I’m hoping this is the last we see of this artist on the book. I’ve preferred the art stylings of the artists who have come before.
    The moments between characters are great. And it’s wonderful to see the whole Flash family together again (#bring backXS). I just wish the story had been a little better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the choppy nature of the story may be hurting the artist’s visualising of plot points. Did you see their Tweet this week showing a pic of the Flash they did as a kid and a pic from their work on the book. It was all rather charming.


      1. I didn’t see it. I’ll take your word for it. On the whole this artist isn’t to my taste. Someone else described it as being not quite ready for prime time, and I would agree with that.
        But I also think the colouring isn’t doing the art any favours in this particular story. I’m looking heard to whatever comes next


  3. No Crisis tie in was going to be satisfying since it’s a combo cash grab and Rosenberg not knowing DC history nearly as well as he believes but Adams did a yeoman’s job slogging through. Reestablishing Jesse and Max’s characterizations, showing how much the kids take after Barry and their parents, and that reunion at the end had me actually enjoying this. I thought the art looked more like a fill in by an artist not quite there yet but it did mostly sell most of the points necessary to sell Adams story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was especially pleased to see Jesse. I’m trying to remember, I know they were divorced the last we heard, but are Johnny Quick and Libby Lawrence still alive in what passes for continuity?


      1. I don’t think either have appeared since Flashpoint. I’d rather they didn’t. The JSA has aged way too little for being one hundred years old, Karkull’s exploding essence or not. Unless they add something like the Spectre time jumping them, their supporting casts, and villains ahead forty years or divorce them from WW2, I just can’t suspend disbelief anymore. In my family, my paternal grandfathe was in the war and we’re now four generations later. Jesse should be their great-granddaughter.


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