The Flash #797 review

Wally and Linda West’s twins Irey and Jai are well into the idea of being superheroes. What they’re less keen on is being attacked by arch-foes out for revenge before they’ve actually fought for the first time.

That’s what happens when their uncle Ace – the current Kid Flash – agrees to babysit them for a few hours to let Mr and Mrs Flash enjoy a date night. As it turns out, the Teen Titan hasn’t been given the whole story.

Still, Ace has been promised something pretty great in return for his time, so he sucks it up. Speaking of which.

Transported to an alternate Earth by a punk named ‘Knives’ Maroney, whose plans they foiled while searching the Multiverse for Barry Allen, they see that this time he’s brought friends.

Knives gathered the bad guys with a very neat gimmick.

While Kid Flash isn’t with his young charges – who include Animal Man’s similarly powered daughter Maxine – you can bet he’ll be by their side pretty soon.

As it happens, the three Superkids already have guardian angels.

Recognise the silhouettes? The familiar banter?

It’s the Super Sons!

Surprise surprise, it’s another fantastically fun issue of The Flash from writer Jeremy Adams. He’s developed the younger members of the Flash family so well that Wally doesn’t even need to be in an issue for it to work. And ‘Misadventures in babysitting’ works wonderfully well, using the DC Multiverse to give us not only a possible preview of Jai, Irey and Maxine’s future, but allowing an appearance by the Super Sons, the delightful duo disrupted by the annoying ageing up of Jon Kent. Well, here they are, having dropped in via the miracle of cosmic happenstance (there’s a reference to the terrific Adventures of the Super Sons mini-series, implying this story happens between panels of that tale). Certainly the boys are from a time before Ace and Damian were Teen Titans together.

Damian Wayne and Jon Kent have some interesting interactions with Irey, Jai and Maxine, all beautifully captured by artists Serg Acuña and Tom Derenick. Editor Chris Rosa helpfully gives us the breakdown as to who did what, allowing me to note that Acuña is especially good at drawing kids, super or otherwise. He’s got a great eye for a composition, framing moments for maximum drama. As for Derenick, he’s a longtime favourite of mine and does a great job with the latter half of the issue as our heroes think their way out of the problem.

The MVP may be Jai, as he’s the Man With the Plan, but said plan is nicely executed by all the young heroes. It’s refreshing to see Jai – aka Speed Force strong guy Surge – have a moment in the sun, with Irey usually sucking up all the superhero oxygen.

I never expected to see Knives, the mobster who’s ageing backwards, again after he vanished in Flash #785, and I’m grateful for his creepy presence. And what is that gimmick he has? I think the Eternity Mind is new, but it has things in common with the Lord of Time’s Eternity Brain from Justice League of America #159-160 awhile back.

I grinned like a loon when I saw who Mr Terrific is trying to stop from entering the regular DC Earth – it’s Marvel’s Man-Thing, protector of the Nexus of All Realities – safe to say I didn’t see that one coming.

We don’t learn much about Knives’ gang of rogues – though I do recall Dr Nightmare from issue 774 – and I want to know more. How come Mineral Man is the spit of Maxine’s dad? Is Foul Play related to Mr Horrific, the existing anti-Mr Terrific? If Adams had plans to reveal more we may not find out, as he’s being pulled off this book after #800, in the dumbest ‘creative decision’ since Marvel dumped Mark Waid and Ron Frenz from a similarly brilliant run on Captain America. Happily, they were asked back after the new direction tanked, hopefully Adams will make his Flash family comeback before long.

This story is set alongside The Flash 2022 Annual #1, in which we see Wally promise Ace a non-specific boon for babysitting. Did we ever find out what Kid Flash for got for his excellence in ‘uncleing’?

Little quibbles. A reminder of what Irey, Jai and, especially Maxine, can do would be useful for any new readers. And there’s a moment in which Max refers to something as ‘gross’ a panel before it happens. Overall, though, Flash #797 is five-star fabulousness, with the work of colourists Peter Pantazis and Matt Herms, and letterer Dave Sharpe (whose title design has a fun Avengers vibe), playing their part.

Taurin Clarke’s cover is good-looking joy, just ignore Wally’s presence, that’s classic comic book naughtiness.

Knowing Adams is off the book – I’ll certainly be buying his upcoming Green Lantern series – makes each new Flash issue a melancholy experience. Still, let’s be greatful that we’ve a few more issues of the best run in years to enjoy.

12 thoughts on “The Flash #797 review

  1. Not the fan you are of this. It rockets by too fast (ironic, right?), Maxine’s current characterization is super grating, and at least one of the artist’s styles hits me as not ready for primetime. I’d also gladly never endure Knives or his cohorts ever again. They were all cutesy names with no substance.

    And why do teh Super Sonas have to be from the past of Earth Prime? Them being on Earth 4353674 or something would allow them and post-puberty Jon to coexist. (And frankly I prefer Jon aged and with no Damian anywhere near him(

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  2. Mr Terrific is…terrific, and I was amused to see ol’ Ted Sallis the Living Salad trying to break through into the DC universe too! Fun.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You don’t expect DC Comics to keep their characters’ histories straight, do you Martin? Fer shame, you poor innocent boob! I was once like you before the dark sunshine of cynicism/realism hardened my shell. No, that’s not true; I still remain a poor innocent boob at heart!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, that reminds me: why did DC feel the need to “racebend” Hawkman and Cyclone in the Justice Society (Black Adam) when the Michael Holt/Mr Terrific and Jakeem Thunder already existed, both of whom are black and fantastic characters? And if they wanted one of the characters to be a young woman just make Jakeem *Jakeema*. Presto! Then again, that would presuppose they could see the easy imaginative solution rather than the thick dunderheaded one! *zing*

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    1. I wasn’t keen on the Hawkman character, too abrasive, but loved Cyclone! I see your point though – maybe it was all about the actors, these were the best for the roles.

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      1. Hmmm. You have a kinder mindset than I. (If they cast a black Superman, an Inuit Shaka Zulu, a sixty year-old Supergirl, or a five foot tall Batman and said they were the best actors for those roles I’d probably have the same reaction. But there’s no way any of those castings would occur. There’s diversity and then there’s dimwittedness. Ha!)

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  4. A fun issue, but I’m kinda with Steve here on the villains: they seemed pretty disposable, just basically costumes and jokey multiverse names.

    Things I’m wondering: What is the Eternity Mind, and will we see it again? Goodness, yes!

    So where ARE Superboy and Robin from? I think we got mixed messages in the book itself — there’s the reference to their limited series, but there’s also some discussion that they’re from a different universe altogether. I hope they’re plucked out of their limited series travels, personally. I’m tired of keeping track of alternate universes.

    There are 7 super-kids? If Robin and Superboy are two — and it’s not certain that they are — then who are the other two? Did Aquaman and Mera just have a kid? Wally & Linda’s upcoming baby? The villains were attacking from the future, so conceivably there’s a few years for infants to get older and start using superpowers.

    All that said: This was a fun one-off, but I might not be in the market for that book if it were to come out regularly. These things work best for me in small doses.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aquaman and Mera did have baby Andi, the one who keeps popping up in post-Future State stories. She’d be a great candidate. And isn’t it about time Hawkman and Hawkwoman had a kiddie?

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