The Flash #796 review

It’s the finale to the One-Minute War storyline with the whole of the Flash Family united in fighting back against the Fraction. The Speed Force-tapping extraterrestrials have landed on Earth and frozen the populace as a precursor to stealing the planet’s resources. The speedsters’ efforts to reclaim the world – their powers mean they’re free to act against their foes – have seen the death of Wally West.

Well, apparent death.

Art by Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert and Pete Pantazis

Now this is a a turn-up for the books – the victims of the Sanctuary tragedy (see Heroes in Crisis, or better yet, don’t) alive and well outside of time and ready to help Wally battle his foes.

Meanwhile, sort of, in the 21st century Barry Allen, whose love Iris died when the Fraction touched down, is leading the final bid to beat the alien oppressors. But he needs a distraction. Cue distraction.

Art by Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert and Pete Pantazis

The Sanctuary survivors have harnesses that allow them to resist the Fraction’s tech long enough to do some damage, but soon they’re frozen too. Still, they’ve given the speedsters breathing space.

Art by Roger Cruz, Wellington Dias and Luis Guerrero

And you know what? The heroes save the world.

What a finish! There’s action, there’s drama but best of all, there’s the aftermath, after the Flash family manage to turn back time. That gives Barry and Iris a new chance of happiness – the police scientist had been about to propose when the Fraction struck.

Art by Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert and Pete Pantazis

Then there’s Max Mercury, who had previously been prevented from taking one of his regular jumps forward through the decades.

Art by Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert and Pete Pantazis

The relationship between Impusle and father figure Max was one of the best at DC in the Nineties, but we’ve not had much of it since then. On the one hand, they’re leaving the present day, on the other, they’re together again. Also, speedsters regularly travel through time, they’ll be back.

One thing I’ve been wondering about in previous issues is why we’ve not been given the name of the young Fraction prisoner who’s been helping the Flash Family.

Art by Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert and Pete Pantazis

You can’t tell me I wasn’t right… this is Linda and Wally’s upcoming child. And I love that he’s named after classic Flash writer Mark Waid, who’s coming back with a story in the upcoming issue #800.

And how great is Goldbug – she presents as ditzy but she’s whip smart. The time-travelling heroine – imagine Booster Gold and Blue Beetle had a kid – travelled back to the 21st century, undoing the damage done when Wally lost control of his Speed Force connection in HiC. Lagoon Boy, Commander Steel, Bluejay and other heroes are back via some 35th-century cloning techniques… best not think about it, just be grateful. Sure, none of the revived heroes are big names, but if they’ve not available to be used by creators their potential will never be realised. Remember, Swamp Thing, Animal Man and so many more fan favourites were once forgotten heroes.

The happy takeaway is that Flash writer Jeremy Adams has completed the mission he took on a while back of undoing the horribly misguided HiC mini-series.

It’s a shame Roger Cruz, who has pencilled all the One-Minute War issues, doesn’t get to do all of the conclusion. Still, he has good partners in Fernando Pasarin, who has drawn so many brilliant Flash issues, and George Kambadais, who contributed – along with Pasarin – to the One-Minute War Special.

Art by George Kambadais and Matt Herms

While the styles are different, ranging from Pasarin’s realist tone to Cruz’s looser look via Kambadais’ exaggerated kinetic pyrotechnics, it’s all good comics. My favourite page is that splash of the leaping Lazaruses by Pasarin, with – if credit order is any indication – inks by Oclair Albert and colours by Pete Pantazis. Kambadais, meanwhile, is working with inker, er, George Kambadais and colourist Matt Herms, while Cruz is partnered with Wellington Dias and Luis Guerrero. Every one of these gentlemen contributes excellent work, as does stalwart letterer Rob Leigh, the man behind the excellent title design for the storyline. Actually, take a look, it’s part of an unusual opening page.

Scenes from 2021’s Blink of an Eye storyline which, on the one hand, cue up the Gold Beetle appearance and on the other are really unusual. I’ve never seen this approach. I wonder if there was a different page originally and something went wrong. Probably not, it’s likely just Jeremy Adams and co trying something new.

I can’t tell you how sad I am that Adams is losing the Flash assignment, his arcs have been uniformly superb – full of great storylines, wonderful characters, scads of DC history and, most of all, heart. Family. I’m sure I’ll love his upcoming Green Lantern work, but for goodness’ sake, Adams was born to write Wally West.

Art by Roger Cruz, Wellington Dias and Luis Guerrero

Taurin Clarke gifts us his best cover yet, a big blast of dynamism and colour. And shininess – dig Jay’s helmet! And those after-image impressions. Never mind the Flash, I’m the Gush.

The One-Minute War has been loads of fun, giving every member of the Flash Family a chance to shine. There’s been a lot of intense drama, but Adams and co have not only put the toys back in the box, they’ve left them in a better position than ever. Flash fact.

6 thoughts on “The Flash #796 review

  1. I’ve disliked Wally since Wolfman then Baron wrote him as completely unlikable and no subsequent writer had gotten me over it until Adams. I’ll always prefer Barry but now maybe I won’t read a few issues with a new writer and then bail.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, man, I loved this. I’m sorry Roger Cruz couldn’t have done the whole thing, but it was a treat from top to bottom.

    I’m sorry to see Impulse and Max go, but as you say, they’ll be off having adventures, and ready to take the spotlight when anyone needs them.

    And, in a significantly smaller likelihood, so will Lagoon Boy.

    This feels so much like a finale, I’m curious to what Adams & Co. have planned for the next four issues. My guess is, a victory lap.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I honestly don’t understand DC’s thinking here. I mean, I can totally understand wanting to give Adams Green Lantern. That’s a no-brainer. But taking him off of Flash when he’s doing so well makes no sense to me. I like Spurrier a lot, but I think I’m the most excited of anyone I know for this, and I’m definitively just in the wait-and-see camp. Most people are just scratching their head.


  3. Yes yes yes! This looks great. The worst elements of Heroes in Crisis (which did have *some* good aspects, like ah the art and appearances by Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) and Booster Gold) thrown in the bin. Huzzah! But Jeremy Adams is moving on and Si(mon) Spurrier is moving in with what sounds like a regrettably wrongheaded concept. Let the Best Flash BE the Best Flash and don’t take him away from the things that make him work AGAIN. Please don’t be morons, DC, it’s easy if you try. (Tip of the hat to John Lennon there. You’re welcome!).
    P.S. If anyone was in any doubt as to who is the best Flash with the best stories. It’s Wally West. Wonder no more. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

    Liked by 1 person

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