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.