This special issue does what few anniversary issues accomplish – celebrate the character well, while moving substantial story lines forward. There is a LOT in issue 750 of THE FLASH, from favorite creators to Easter Eggs all around, and from blasts from the past to glimpses of future tales. Wanna know more? Follow us after the jump!
There are two stories in this issue written by current FLASH writer Joshua Williamson. The first, “Flash Age, Pt. 1” moves the Paradox story forward. We see Godspeed’s appearance, drawing Barry into a fateful meeting with this new villain. But, there’s more to this story. If you want a great jumping-on point for The Flash, THIS is it. In a few short panels, you’ll get a great summary of recent Williamson story arcs. This sequence more than prepares you for what comes next with Paradox. There is also a thread connected to Iris West’s research into people Barry has saved over the years. I loved seeing our favorite hero through the eyes of the people he has helped. Finally, we even see the CSI side of Barry Allen as he tracks down a crime by Rainbow Raider. He isn’t the only little-used Rogue of late that we see here – we also get a brief appearance by the Top. One more note – we have a little mystery here, as Iris alludes to a surprise…actually, TWO surprises. Godspeed interrupts before we learn more, but that should prove interesting in future stories.
Next, Geoff Johns takes us back to the Wally West Flash with “Beer Run”. We see Linda and the kids…and we also see a Captain Cold who only wants some beer while he watches his favorite hockey team. It doesn’t exactly work out the way he wants, but it makes for a fun story that actually makes Len a little sympathetic as a character (as opposed to the cold blooded killer we’ve seen of late).
After that we see the creators that took THE FLASH into the New 52 (and two of my favorite creators) Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul, with “Why You?” They bring back one of the twists they added to the Flash mythos, the “Speed Mind”. Buccellato and Manapul use that as a plot device to give Barry a sort of “It’s a Wonderful Life” tale – what if Barry had never been the Flash? It leads to some very interesting alternate speedsters, including at least one that you would never, ever expect.
Marv Wolfman gives us a Silver Age vibe with “Flash of All Worlds”, pitting Barry against Mirror Master. We see a lot of the Silver Age permutations of Barry, including the one with the HUGE head, and the Puppet Master version of the Flash as well.
Josh Williamson comes back with a great story of Jay Garrick, “At the Starting LIne”. It places Jay squarely in Generation One of superheros, as he faces down the Thinker. This story also gives us some hints as to what will happen to Flash story lines in 2020. Just a note here – I have been a HUGE fan of Jay Garrick since the 1960’s, when I read those crossover tales of Earth 1 and Earth 2. Seeing him returning to the pages of DC Comics is an absolute joy for this old reviewer.
Last but not least, Scott Lobdell gives us “Flash Forward: Epilogue”. This is the coda to the FLASH FORWARD mini-series, catching up to a Wally West who sits in the Mobius Chair, imbued with some of the power of Doctor Manhattan himself. It’s here that we get the explanation that Wally’s speed actually helps him deal with the rush of Mobius Chair info in a way that prior occupants of the chair could not. And, we see him note the strange goings on in the DCU. We aren’t seeing dimensional differences when we say “everything is canon”. We are seeing the same events play out in different versions of the same time line. It means that time and space and reality are broken…and guess who believes he is up to the task to make things right?
Now, lets talk briefly about the artwork. We are getting a terrific lineup of artists form several eras of THE FLASH, and that’s even before we get to some outstanding pinups scattered throughout the issue. “Flash Age, Pt 1” comes from Rafa Sandoval, Stephen Segovia, Jordi Tarragona, Arif Prianto and Steve Wands. “Beer Run” has Scott Kolins, Michael Atiyeh, and Rob Leigh. “Why You?” is illustrated by Francis Manapul with letters by Joshua Reed. “Flash of All Worlds” has Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia and Deron Bennett. “At the Starting Line” gives us David Marquez, Alejandro Sanchez and Steve Wands. Finally “Flash Forward: Epilogue” has Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, Luis Guerrero, and ALW’s Troy Peteri.
As for the pinups? We have Howard Porter, Doc Shaner, Mike McKone, Mitch Garadis, Dale Eaglesham, Khary Randolph…you may be tempted to frame one or all of them. And of course, there were the 5,483 cover variants (okay, I’m exaggerating a little bit). BTW, the cover I included with this article is a favorite, if only because I actually bought a LOT of books back in the day with those “Go-Go Checks” at the top of the cover. Please reply in the comments with your faves among all the covers as well.
SUMMARY: This was a special number issue that more than lived up to the hype. We got great stories that celebrated the history of The Flash, without losing any momentum for future story lines. There was simply amazing work throughout. I’m giving this one a 10/10 – and that, of course is just my opinion. What did YOU think? And, what were your favorite parts of the issue? Leave your comments below!