The Flash #790 review

It’s all getting a bit heated in the latest issue of The Flash. Wally and Linda are hosting a barbecue for their pals, but the usual suspects are absent. Immediate family apart, there’s not a speedster in sight as the off-duty Fastest Man Alive serves up his sausages.

Max Mercury is attempting one of his regular time jumps.

Jesse Quick is fighting a lion man – I think it’s old Hawkman baddie Lion-Mane – with hubby Hourman II.

Kid Flash and Impulse are bickering after Bart wraps up a bust Wallace is making.

Jay is having a maudlin moment.

And Barry is surprised by lady love Iris.

All these moments are interrupted as time freezes for the speedsters and…

And that would be ‘Zero Point’, as the first chapter of new storyline ‘The One-Minute War’ kicks off. Alien conquerors The Fraction look to have crushed a fair section of Central City and its inhabitants, their MO being to subdue worlds before they have a chance to fight back. We’ve heard about The Fraction in recent issues but now we see what they’re about and they’re a lot scarier than I expected. Their attack even offs a member of the Flash Family.

The presumed murder of thousands compounded by the killing of Iris West – proposing is as big a mistake in popular fiction as declaring you have one week to retirement – has me expecting a reset at the end of the 60 seconds this story presumably takes. It’s not like Iris hasn’t died and come back previously. Whatever, I’m a sucker for stories taking place in speedster time, like the classic Flash V2 #54, so I’m all in for this one – the recent move to fortnightly publishing only ups the excitement. Writer Jeremy Adams hasn’t let me down yet, and if this saga ends with Barry and Iris getting wed, perfect… although I was under the distinct impression their marriage had been restored with DC Rebirth. Who can keep up with these speedsters?

Max Mercury’s desire to leave 2023 is a bit out of nowhere, I hope that’s just a moment of drama for this issue and that he won’t go through with it… this storyline will surely show he’s still needed.

Similarly, why is Jay suddenly so gloomy, he’s not a man plucked from his own time, like super sunny Zen Master of Speed Max? Ah well, with DC these days I suppose we should be thankful he’s not woken up and realised he’s always wanted to be a drag queen…

I can’t remember any Wallace and Bart interaction previously, but their rivalry here is lots of fun, I’d love to see an issue devoted to them learning to like one another.

What a treat to see Jesse Quick on panel with husband Rick, it must be a decade – I wonder if their kiddie still exists.

Barbie guests Mr Terrific and Animal Man get contextual clues to their identities, but does anyone know who the ‘friends of Wally’ are? I’d have guessed the brunette was Donna Troy, but given she and the bespectacled lady apparently aren’t pals of Roy Harper (the stupid baseball cap gives it away), that can’t be.

Guest artist Roger Cruz provides looser pencils than we’ve seen of late, his style is instantly recognisable from the Nineties, but the storytelling is good; the in-costume speedsters all look terrific, and the frozen effects work well. I especially like the updo Cruz gives Iris, recalling her Sixties look. The pages after the alien doodah makes landfall are especially strong. I do, though, wish artists/editors would remember that Wally and Linda’s son Jai is a wee chunky monkey, though, he’s a skinny soul here. Cruz is inked by Matt Banning and Wellington Dias, and I can’t see the join, their finishes are just fine.

Colourist Luis Guerrero does some good work, especially in the Max tableau, but a couple of errors jarred – out-of-costume Jay is unrecognisable with blond hair, while Rick Tyler’s costume is coloured as the android Hourman’s, and he looks like he could be African-American. I hope editor Chris Rosa isn’t horribly overworked.

Rob Leigh’s lettering is as excellent as ever, always adding to the drama – take a look at his typically imaginative and appropriate title treatment – and Taurin Clarke’s cover is superb, the unusual logo placement telling us this is something big.

All in all, I enjoyed this issue hugely, it’s great that some DC books still dare to do ambitious storyline outside of the events arena. I can’t wait to see what the next few seconds bring.

10 thoughts on “The Flash #790 review

    1. From Jeremy Adams on Twitter: ‘My firm belief is that Speedsters are generally people out of time. I think of him more like Rachel Summers. Yes… but maybe not the one we think…but also maybe he is lol’

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  1. I’m on the Flash bandwagon finally!

    DC wiki/fandom site lists these featured characters in the book:

    Featured Characters:
    Wally West

    Supporting Characters:
    Buddy Baker
    Donna Troy
    Ellen Baker

    Flash Family
    Barry Allen
    Impulse (Bart Allen)
    Irey West
    Iris West (Apparent Death)
    Jai West
    Jay Garrick
    Jesse Quick
    Kid Flash (Wallace R. West)
    Linda Park-West
    Max Mercury

    Hartley Rathaway
    Hourman (Rick Tyler)
    Maxine Baker
    Michael Holt
    Roy Harper

    Antagonists:
    The Fraction (First appearance)
    The Empress (Behind the scenes)
    Lion-Mane
    Unnamed robbers (Single appearance)

    Other Characters:
    Johnny Quick (Mentioned only)
    Liberty Belle (Libby Lawrence) (Mentioned only)
    Mary West (Mentioned only)
    Rudy West (Mentioned only)

    That helps. I guess the woman in glasses is Ellen Baker, and the girl talking to Irey and Jai is Maxine Baker.

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  2. Great review! I picked up this and issue 791 the other day, and I’m really impressed. Though I wish they hadn’t killed Iris in the first issue — it’s so sudden (and so timeline-changing, regarding Impulse) that it feels like there’ll have to be some sort of reset by the end of the story. Had she just been gravely injured, there’d be a greater sense of suspense to how all this turns out. It’s one of those cases where if you make the stakes too grave, you actually undermine your story in the minds of readers who know certain changes are incredibly unlikely (even if they happened before).

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      1. I’d have SUCH mixed feelings. I definitely don’t want Iris to die (and if she did die, this is a pretty lousy way for it to happen, on the verge of her proposing to Barry). But I’d be impressed that DC could actually surprise me on something like this; it’s been a while.

        But I don’t think killing Iris for real is on Adams’s agenda.

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