THIS WEEK: With The Flash #761, writer Joshua Williamson and artist Howard Porter continue to build toward an epic finale for the longest DC Rebirth run. Plus, Dark Nights: Death Metal – Trinity Crisis #1 is fun connective tissue for the big event.

The Flash #761The Flash #761

Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Howard Parter
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Steve Wands

The Flash is the last run standing from the 2016 DC Rebirth line-wide relaunch. Starting in June 2016 and slated to span 101 issues, it’s the longest run of that era, both in terms of real time and in number of issues. As such, there have been some ups (The Flash War) as well as some times that the book faded into the background a bit, overshadowed by newer and flashier stories at DC. Now, the run essentially has two issues left after this week’s: The Flash #762 and Dark Nights: Death Metal – Speed Metal #1, both of which are due on the same day, Sept. 22.

This is an easy pun to make, but this run has really been picking up speed and accelerating toward its finish line (which is also the name of this last story arc). As the end has come into site, writer Joshua Williamson and artist Howard Porter have reached deep into The Flash mythology and pulled in basically the whole of The Flash Family in a way that feels meaningful and organic to the plot. These elements have slowly been built into the story in recent issues, and now in The Flash #761 they are all pointed at the run’s big bad and his allies, and left to run free.

The result is a fantastic Flash comic, one that feels not only like a culmination of a strong 101-issue run, but an honoring of the character’s long history, with special attention to the family aspects over all else, which is a welcome choice for readers like me who came of age in the ’90s Flash era, when the book really became a family affair, so to speak. And that’s all great. What I really enjoyed about this individual issue, though, was the way it reached back into nearly all recent Flash stories, making it so the Reverse Flash has been the enemy tormenting Barry and his allies all along.

The Flash #761

As we find out in this book, he was there at the start when things went sour with Godspeed, he was there during The Flash War when bonds between characters became frayed, and he was there during Heroes in Crisis, when the one true Flash Wally West had a grave moment of indiscretion. I thought that last revelation above all was well done, given how forced the events of Heroes in Crisis felt. And look, I know it’s a less-than-ideal move to retroactively reveal a villain was influencing significant character choices in a major story, but I’m glad the creators working with The Flash did something. 

I know that I personally enjoyed reading it quite a bit, brought to life by my favorite artist from this run of Flash comics, Howard Porter (look at that spread above!). What I’ve also appreciated about this arc is that it feels accessible to even lapsed Flash fans. You probably can’t jump right in with this issue, but if you go back to where The Finish Line arc began (The Flash #759), you can get a lot out of this arc with only having paid cursory attention to recent issue. There are plenty of rewarding bits for readers like me who have been there all along, but I imagine some folks will jump in or back in now that there’s been such an active re-incorporation of the wider Flash family.

The Flash #761

So yeah, great issue, and if I had to guess I’d say this might be one of the best of the ending arc, with The Flash #762 seeing our hero vanquish his main foe here, and Dark Nights: Death Metal – Speed Metal #1 serving as a high-production epilouge that ties-in to the wider event story and seeds what comes next for the characters involved. Check back here in two weeks when The Beat’s resident Flash superfan Joe Grunenwald presumably writes about both of those comics.

Verdict: Buy It

Dark Nights: Death Metal – Trinity Crisis #1

Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Francis Manapul
Colorist: Ian Herring
Letterer: Tom Napolitano

I was really excited to read this week’s Dark Nights: Death Metal – Trinity Crisis #1, for a couple of reasons. I thought Dark Nights: Death Metal #3 was the best issue of the event story yet, a great example of a Big 2 superhero comic going big and grandiose and excellently-goofy with these long-time characters. The other reason I was really excited for this comic was that it was illustrated by artist Francis Manapul, and I wasn’t disappointed once I had a chance to read the book.

Manapul’s art delivers right from the start, with an absolutely stellar set of first three pages that depict the DC Universe crisis of the past, the very idea of which has essentially grown into a consequential plot point in this new story. Manapul leaves it all on the page(s)here, giving us a great sampling of DC heroes from several areas swirling into their respective crises, be they Of Infinite Earths, Infinite, or Final. These are good-looking pages that deliver the grandiosity any comic centered on DC’s trinity should.

From there, we get some crucial connective tissue for the event itself, played out almost through a heist story. The MVPs for the middle part of this comic are the interactions between Harley and zombie Jonah Hex, as well as the one-liners from one of the breakout stars of Scott Snyder’s Justice League run, Jarro, a piece of Starro that is regrowing in a jar and has come to hilariously think of Batman as “dad.” This levity powers us through some of the hallmarks of this event — including more Dark Multiverse Batmen — and right up to the most interesting idea in all of Dark Nights: Death Metal: the existence of something called Crisis Energy.

It’s only teased here, but that’s just fine for a spinoff comic set between proper installments of the main event. Overall, this book is a funny and fast read that’s very good-looking, and fans of the event should not only enjoy it but also put it down more excited for what’s to come in the back-half of this story.

Verdict: Buy

The Flash #761Round-Up

  • Justice League Odyssey went back to where the book started this week, although I still sort of feel like this entire space opera is mostly just a means of keeping Darkseid off the board during Dark Nights: Death Metal.
  • Hawkman, meanwhile, was great again this week, with writer Robert Venditti continuing to make a case for getting to do a new Justice Society of America story soon and artist Fernando Pasarin continuing to establish himself as one of the most thoroughly underrated creators at DC.
  • The new Wonder Woman run is humming right along, and I’m enjoying it quite a bit. I’m not sure what you’ve been hearing about this comic — for whatever reason, I haven’t been hearing much in my circles — but I think it’s quickly becoming a must-read book.
  • Finally, Nightwing #74…RIP Ric Grayson. And look, not to be crash here but I for one am glad that him and his whole deal are now dead. This storyline took way too long to regress to the mean, with Batman in this issue actually saying that Dick’s return was “long overdue.” Now, let us never speak of Ric Grayson again.

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