Coming on the heels of Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter establishing Barry Allen’s new status quo in Infinite Frontier #0, Jeremy Adams, Brandon Peterson, Marco Santucci and David Lafuente introduce readers to Wally West’s newest storyline in The Flash #768. A simple, transitional story is quickly thrown into chaos following a first-act twist that busts open a mystery as deep and wide as the speed force itself.
It should be stated right off the bat that this story is still handling the fallout of Heroes in Crisis, and readers who have a distaste for that story might be annoyed to see those elements still present here.
Flash of Brilliance
From the jump, Adams quickly establishes a solid hand on the voices of both Barry Allen and Wally West. He also quickly develops West’s direction in a logical way which readers might be disappointed to see, but ultimately makes sense within the context of the story. This direction is leveraged to help establish the dynamic between Allen and West within the story, and endure readers to them as a duo.
He, however, stumbles in describing West’s motivation. Readers will find themselves once again reading about West’s desire to fill Barry’s shoes despite this story thread having been resolved numerous times throughout the years, most recently in Dark Nights: Death Metal Speed Metal #1.
Adams shows a proficiency for writing most characters in the book though, and he brings a deft hand to selecting which characters should rise to prominence in supporting roles. For example, while readers may not be excited to return to the fallout of Heroes in Crisis, Adams lets that situation fuel interesting interactions between Allen and Green Arrow throughout the issue. It’s smart writing that develops new stories out of places we’ve already been. Later, he’ll introduce and include characters such as Mr. Terrific and Gold Beetle, who’s returning from her star turn in Adams’ Future State: Black Adam.
The issue’s superhero intrigue mostly stems from a first act twist in which something goes wrong, and West is flung through time by the speed force itself. Here readers get a change in art, which helps establish the new environment well. Things are a little rougher with harsher edges, which appropriately reflects the time period that it’s in.
This mystery is developed in an intriguing way throughout the issue, and eventually finds its way to including the whole Flash family. It gives it an excellent sense of scope across space and time as Allen, Mr. Terrific, and Green Arrow scramble to bring West back to the present. It also introduces some strange creative choices. Namely, when West is flung around in time, it isn’t that his body is actually flung around — instead, Adams uses the same trick Wonder Woman: 1984 does and has West inhabit other people’s bodies. Readers will have to wait to see if that ends up problematic, but even in the first issue it seems odd.
Like a Flash!
The three artists in the book, Peterson, Santucci, and Lafuente, each bring unique visuals to the book that help demonstrate the scope and excitement of the action. Santucci in particular stands out, as he’s depicting the most action and is often given the most opportunity to draw something exciting. He nails it every chance he gets, and gives readers the most dynamic scenes in the whole book.
Peterson is the new series artist, though, and readers will want to know if he’s up to the task of taking on the Fastest Man Alive. Luckily, he’s quite apt. With the poise and style of a classic Flash artist, Peterson brings the necessary level of humanity to one of DC’s kindest and most neighborly characters. Readers will continually find themselves simply enjoying the presence of both Allen and West, and much of that can be attributed to the aura that Peterson depicts them with.
The only con of having each of these artists, and this robust adventure that Allen and West go on, is that the issue can start to drag. It’s an extra-sized issue and at times it feels that length. It doesn’t help that there are several pages drawn as if they’re a final page cliffhanger and they aren’t. It throws off the pacing of the book — it shouldn’t feel this long.
Overall, Adams, Peterson, Santucci, and Lafuente launch a satisfying and intriguing start to the new Flash story. It isn’t immediately lightning in a bottle, but it absolutely has the ability to get there. This is an issue that should bring readers back to the series.
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