THIS WEEK: Wally West is back as the primary speedster of the Flash ongoing series. We look at how his return has been, and where it might be headed.
NOTE: The review below contains spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdict.
The Flash #773
Writer: Jeremy Adams
Artist: Will Conrad
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Steve Wands
Cover Artists: Brandon Peterson & Michael Atiyeh
It’s been six months since Barry Allen declared “You’re The Flash now, Wally” in the pages of Infinite Frontier #0. For a generation of readers, though, we already knew that. Wally West is back in his rightful place as the headliner of The Flash, and while his return got off to a slightly rocky start, this week’s issue illustrates that the series and the character are on a solid path.
Writer Jeremy Adams has displayed over the past half-dozen issues that he has a strong grasp of Wally’s voice and personality, and that foundation has helped amidst all the changes that Adams has brought to the series. After the time-hopping adventure of Adams’s first few issues on the title that finally put to rest the lingering aftertaste of Heroes in Crisis, the last two issues have been a grounded tale that have seen Wally start a new job and meet new co-workers while facing off against classic rogue Heatwave. It’s good to see that Adams has the ability to deliver on both the big, Speed Force-heavy stories as well as the smaller stories that don’t span time and space.
But it’s the aforementioned foundation in the character of Wally West that is the strength of these past few issues. Wally’s smarts have never been particularly his strong suit, but in having Wally help his new coworkers solve a problem Adams adds new depth to a character who would naturally have picked up a thing or two over a decade-plus of superheroing. As for the heroing, it’s not Wally’s skills as a speedster that save the day in this week’s issue (though those certainly don’t hurt), but rather his empathy and compassion for what Heatwave is going through. Mick Rory’s situation – his utter despair and his desire to lash out in response – is also highly relatable, even if how he acts on it is less than ideal.
Artists Will Conrad and Alex Sinclair have turned in solid work over the past two issues, establishing new locations and characters and welcoming Wally and his family back into the spotlight. Conrad’s work has a nice energy to it, important for a book about a character who is almost always in motion. His storytelling is also strong, facial expressions and body language adding to the strength of the character work in the script. Conrad and Sincalir also deliver exciting action sequences, between Heatwave’s fire and The Flash’s superspeed in stopping it. There’s action in this issue, sure, but the climax of the story is essentially a conversation between The Flash and Heatwave, and Conrad and Sinclair’s work sells the emotional heft of that sequence beautifully.
Outgoing writer Joshua Williamson left big shoes to fill on The Flash, and after half-a-year it’s clear that the title is in good hands with Jeremy Adams. This week’s issue is an entertaining entry with great character work, fun action, and some real pathos. It also includes a few intriguing teasers for upcoming stories and some truly spectacular dad jokes. What more could you want from a Flash comic?
Final Verdict: Buy.
- Elsewhere in titles and characters who are in undeniably good hands, Nightwing #83 wraps Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, and Adriano Lucas‘s first arc on the series. Dick Grayson has been so mistreated for so many years that it’s honestly a relief to have him in hands that so clearly care about him and his position within the Bat-family. The first issue of this team’s run made me cry, and the end of this issue did the same. A Fear State crossover is coming up and I’ll be curious to see how the series handles that along with all of its other ongoing storylines.
- I enjoyed the first issue of Superman and The Authority quite a bit, so imagine my utter delight when I enjoyed this week’s issue even more. Grant Morrison, Mikel Janín, and a gaggle of great guest-artists including Fico Ossio, Evan Cagle, and Travel Foreman follow Superman and Manchester Black as they recruit more members for the new Authority, each of whom the pair meet under interesting and wildly entertaining circumstances. It’s just so clever and so, so much fun.
- We’re at the midpoint now of Tom King and Clay Mann‘s Black Label Batman/Catwoman with this week’s #6, and honestly if you asked me to tell you what this series is or what it’s going for I would be hard-pressed for an answer. The shifting timelines make it hard for any of the three stories to build any momentum, and as a result the whole reading experience has just felt unfocused and flat. Maybe it’ll read better in a collection, but as monthly single-issues this book has been a massive disappointment.
- Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #3 is also the midpoint for King, Bilquis Evely, and Mat Lopes‘s miniseries, and it’s by far the most enjoyable issue of the series, if for no other reason that at no point are readers reminded that Krypto the Super-Dog is either dying or dead. It’s a fine one-and-done issue that builds on the overall arc of the series, even if the metaphor of the Blues and the Purples isn’t exactly subtle. This series is very much Not For Me, but at least based on this issue I could see how it might be for someone else. And the art is, naturally, spectacular.
Miss any of our earlier reviews? Check out our full archive!