The Flash: One Minute War Special #1 review

I didn’t know we were getting a One Minute War Special but here it is, four stories adding background and texture before The Flash Family’s struggle against space conquerors The Fraction continues in the now-fortnightly Flash series.

First, Flash writer Jeremy Adams dumps the mystery to reveal the history of The Fraction. Having discovered the Speed Force millennia past, they learn to harness it in their unending quest to keep their world moving forward. This sometimes involves sucking the super out of any speedsters they encounter. The two big players among The Fraction are The Empress, an enigmatic product of millennia of breeding programmes, and Vel Anthro, the Admiral who does whatever she desires in the hopes of winning her hand.

The veil effect achieved by colourist Matt Herms on Fernando Pasarin and Jason Paz’s art is remarkable

The brazen cruelty of The Fraction as they steal resources from across time and space is impossible for me as a reader to understand. I mean, I’m a civilised human being, nothing like these guys, who just take, take, take and care not for supposed lesser beings.

That first story is titled ‘The Past’. What happens in Chapter 2, ‘The Present’, is that the Flash of China, Avery Ho, is fighting the evil Dark Wu when the Fraction arrive, sending anyone without a Speed Force connection into a frozen ‘glitch’ state. A Fraction faction appears and drags Dark Wu from the scene… they’re after Avery’s soul, which the wizard had just trapped in a gem. Given that Avery feels lessened not just spiritually, but physically, it’s fair to assume the lost soul has messed with her Speed Force connection. But she still has plenty of power, and even more guts.

So we’ve had Past, Present, it’s time (geddit!?) for ‘The Future’. Well, not quite, first there’s a second Present sequence to check out. Another Fraction section, Theta 3, with time on their hands after closing a bit of planet raping business sooner than expected, check out a party at a nearby mansion.

And I do mean ‘check out’, with a mystery murderer carrying out a couple of slash and grab jobs. Who’s the killer? Obviously an evil Speedster or, as this is DC Comics, a ‘conflicted’ one, maybe an ‘anti-hero’ (hey, we all adore Black Adam and Deathstroke, right?).

And finally, The Future, where a giant-sized Jai – the SpeedForce-powered Surge – encounters another team of Fraction freaks.

Look! By the time he’s in his twenties, Jai West, whose Speed Force-connected powers have never been as stable, or even as speedy, as sister Irey’s, can embiggen himself, like Ms Marvel over at, well, Marvel.

Or can he? It turns out artist George Kambadais may just be getting experimental again. I dunno. And I don’t dislike what I’m looking at, regardless. I am delighted to see happy-go-lucky time-tripping heroine Gold Beetle once more, at the beginning of the relationship with Jai we heard about way back in Flash #771. She’s been sent by Future Impulse to help Jai track down his brother, who has been abducted by the Fraction… this may be the baby bump Mrs Flash, Linda Park-West, is carrying in the present day.

Anyway, all story threads from this thoroughly diverting special are to be picked up in future issues of Flash. There’s action, horror, humour (Gold Beetle on just what you call the relationship between Surge and Impulse is great, I certainly can’t work it out) and useful information about those massive great poles the Fraction are plonking into the planet.

Of the artists here, only one is what I’d call a DC regular, but all have something to offer. Fernando Pasarin has drawn a fair few Flashes and brings his slick sci-fi stylings to bear on Chapter One – the descent of the Empress is very creepy, while the Fraction science cell members look like elegantly attired escapees from The Mikado. Jason Paz and Matt Ryan provide inks, Matt Herms colours and Rob Leigh letters (the entire issue).

Illustrator Serg Acuña and colourist Rebecca Nalty (making her DC debut) give us clear storytelling and glorious effects in Chapter 2; Lisandro Estherren and colour artist Patricio Delpeche bring an appropriate mood of faded gothic grandeur to the mansion in Chapter 3; and Chapter Four is the aforementioned gleeful nuttiness of George Kambadais, working with that man Matt Herms.

The cover is the work of Acuña, it uses a four-way split, doesn’t feature any of the speedsters who star in this issue and doesn’t work. Dark Crisis: Big Bang #1 tried something similar a few weeks back, with similar (lack of) success… if DC has a Covers Editor these days they should file such compositions under ‘Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Never Work.

The comic works, overall, though, if you’re already reading The Flash you won’t wish to miss this. And if you aren’t reading the adventures of Wally West and co, give this issue a try anyway, you may well get sucked in by Jeremy Adams’ always ambitious, but never unapproachable, storylines.

9 thoughts on “The Flash: One Minute War Special #1 review

  1. Bart and Jai are second cousins, but no one uses the second part. Bart’s grandmother is Jai’s grandfather’s sister. How is that complicated or did I miss a retcon?

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      1. That veil effect on the empress is indeed lovely.

        Here’s how I think it works:

        Given siblings named “A” and “B”, their kids “C” and “D”, grandkids “E” and “F”, and great grandkids “G” and “H”:

        A – B (siblings)

        C – D (first cousins)

        E – F (second cousins)

        G – H (third cousins)

        C is first cousin, once removed, of F.
        C is first cousin, twice removed, of H.
        E is second cousin, once removed, of H.

        So first, second, third etc. refers to the number of whole generations since the siblings.

        And removals is used when cousins are of different generations. It’s the number of generations that separate them.

        It’s hard to visualize and certainly impossible for many of us to grasp instantly in conversation. You can only rationally do it with a chart. At a certain point you just say “distant cousins”, and you hear some people calling others “auntie” when they are really cousins.

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  2. Great review. Love this issue. Jeremy Adams has been doing a really good job with this run.Avery’s part was great I was worried she would miss out on this Arc. It’s always good to see Gold Beetle. I have to go back to make sure that August was hinted to have been still alive at the end of Williamson’s run. I was generally surprised when he showed up.

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  3. This wasn’t at the comic shoppe this week but it looks good! I am sitting the One-Minute War out because I can’t stand Roger Cruz’s art (it also saves the shekels) but Jeremy Adam’s Flash has been good, especially when Fernando Pasarin is on art, it’s great to have Wally back as THE Flash.
    I have to catch-up on reading the last trade paperback but the Order story that followed was pretty fantastic – I could do without Linda having superspeed powers of her own *and* being pregnant. Two children is MORE than enough and I can’t see Wally and Linda being so dumb as not to take precautions. Apart from anything else they aren’t rich! The “Wooh-HOO! We’re going to have another child!” doesn’t ring true, who is writing this? *inflammatory joke deleted!*
    Last week I got Justice Society of America #2 by Geoff Johns and Mikel Janin with – the ludicrously not credited on the cover – Jerry Ordway and Scott Kolins. I very enjoyable if quick read. I’m not sure why however the issue was delayed by a month, unless messrs Ordway and Kolins weren’t originally meant to work on it. Although the bloodthirstiness – a gorgeously limned Selina/Catwoman killed off by Hunky Per Degaton bibbling on about a ritual is a turn-off and I’m not over-fond of New Doctor Fate – give me Kent Nelson, Hector Hall, or the DeMatteis versions any day…but NOT ankh-tattooed Fate! – but the story is interesting. Frankly, they’d be better of printing three issues in one and getting the story told in four installments published every two months.
    Mikel Janin’s art – what there was of it – was sublime while Jerry Ordway hasn’t lost a step. I confused Salem the Witch Girl for Jade and I’m not certain what’s gained with these continuity inserts that don’t fit the era into which they have been retrofitted but she looked cute. I think the Jade/Salem confusion was increased by Jade having been drawn – brilliantly – by Jeremiah in the ’80’. Odd choice! Kolins was a welcome presence too while the use of ben-day dots was clever, if distracting.
    My opinion of the Watchmen reference usage is, of course, low. Geoff you AREN’T Alan Moore and never WILL BE! The ridiculous snowglobe subplot – central to this series and Flashpoint Beyond – is a downer. If Geoffrey concentrated on being himself as a writer rather than digging up Mr Moore’s old bones we’d all be better off. I’m not convinced by the use of this new version of the original Huntress – just USE the original, doofus! – but I’m still quite enjoying this, which more than can be said for most recent DC and Marvel comics. Johns deserves a few swift kicks in the hacky sack – or, less metaphorically, the happy sac – for the beyond stupid Firestorm retcon tho’. It is, like Bad Jor-El, a monumentally moronic concept.

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    1. Roger Cruz isn’t a favourite, but I don’t actively dislike his work… well, not here. I have at times, when he was at Marvel years ago. I am surprised they didn’t get someone who fits more with the current Flash ‘house style’.

      I still reckon Linda’s powers come from being pregnant, they’ll be gone when the baby arrives. So long as Linda doesn’t have to give up her work, let a kiddie come! She’s now writing from home, Wally is fast, they can share the raising of the new family member. Or borrow Kelex.

      I never bothered writing about last week’s JSA, it was just too much like issue one. Nice art though, yes. I like Kent and Khalid, maybe send Khalid off to another Earth, he can be Dr Fate there. And I also mistook Salem – I keep thinking of the cat – for Jade.

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