14th Aug2020

‘The Flash #759’ Review (DC Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Joshua Williamson | Art by Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona | Published by DC Comics

Slightly under the radar Joshua Williamson has been putting together a mighty fine run on The Flash. I don’t know what it is about The Flash as a book, but down the years it has had some great runs by writers. Cary Bates, Mark Waid, Mike Baron, and Geoff Johns all spring to mind for me, but there have been plenty more. Joshua Williamson has been writing The Flash since 2016, around 100 issues or so, and his run has been notable for a bit of tinkering with the Flash mythology, some great new villains and doing the unthinkable, teaming Barry Allen up with Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash. Williamson has had fun with Thawne on his run, and it’s appropriate then that this issue kicks off Williamson’s final arc on Flash, ‘Finish Line’, and no prizes for guessing who the big bad is.

Even though this is the beginning of a new arc, Williamson had already set it up from the previous few issues. We start from a bad place. The Legion of Zoom, a super group of Flash villains led by Reverse-Flash have beaten Barry, leaving Central City in a bad way. Even worse, Barry’s consciousness has been shunted into a pseudo-realm of the Speed Force, and Thawne has taken over his body, though nobody knows this yet. Thawne is going to take over Barry’s life, and he starts by finding Bart Allen, formerly Kid Flash, Flash, and now back to Impulse. He wants to get in some mentoring, bad Flash style. So, just where is Barry’s mind? Not in the Speed Force as such, but somewhere very close. I love the way they got Scott Kolins to draw the handful of pages in that place, to distinguish it from events in the real world being drawn by Sandoval. Works well.

Barry has made some new friends who are also trapped here. New in the sense he had forgot them post-Flashpoint, not in the sense he never knew them. Step forward the much missed Jesse Quick and Max Mercury. One quick catch up later, Max realises they need to get Barry back out there before Thawne can do too much damage. Barry starts to resist Thawne’s possession, not quite enough to regain his body but enough for Thawne to ‘feel’ him. Thawne goes after the rest of the West family next, but his underlying nastiness is just too hard to hide. He may look like Barry, but even Avery and Wallace (Kid Flash) are a bit hesitant. Bart arriving to kick Barry/ Thawne in the face helps show them Barry isn’t Barry. Best panel I’ve ever seen Bart in. Not the best panel in the book though. That would be the final full page panel, which features the return of one of my favourite characters ever. Fantastic ending.

What a great issue. You can always tell when a writer is having fun, and Williamson is writing with abandon, this being his swan song. He clearly plans to leave a new status quo in place, and it looks like being a pretty great one. The final page alone was worth the price of entry. A little niggle is that there are echoes of Mark Waid’s fantastic ‘Return of Barry Allen’ in here, which must have served as some sort of inspiration, but there’s enough going on to distinguish this as its own animal. The mix of classic villains and returning loved characters from the past is great to see. The art, by Rafa Sandoval, is superb throughout. Pacing the art is everything with The Flash, and it’s done perfectly here. Great layouts, lovely clean line art, and motion and movement in every panel. The Scott Kolins sequence was also very well done, a little nod to the book’s history.

This book should be called The Flashes, as we get multiple generations of speedsters here, though Wally West is sadly absent for obvious DC Universe reasons. Williamson has made me realise why we all love this book, and why we’ll miss him.

We feel the need. The need for speed.

***** 5/5


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