29th Sep2020

‘The Flash #762’ Review (DC Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Joshua Williamson | Art by Howard Porter | Published by DC Comics

So, after 100 issues, Joshua Williamson is hanging up his bright yellow Flash boots. He first took over the book four years ago, and has since then put together one of the outstanding run’s in Barry Allen’s history. He’s in some great company too. This issue is the final one in Williamson’s ‘Finish Line’ arc, which has in some ways distilled down into a pure form what Williamson’s take on Barry has always emphasised. Personal relationships and family. The Speedster family, and assorted supporting characters, has always been an important part of the Flash mythology, and Williamson just decided to put it front and centre. You also knew there was only one character that Williamson would use to end his run, the person who is the polar opposite of Barry. Eobard Thawne, The Reverse-Flash.

We open with a gorgeous two page spread by Porter, with Flash chasing The Reverse-Flash through the Speed Force. Thawne has an offer for Barry. Stay with him forever in the Speed Force, continually running, continually fighting, and he will never harm Barry’s family again. There’s echoes of the Batman/ Joker relationship here, with Thawne convinced they are meant to be in eternal opposition. Thawne is also trying to push Barry’s buttons, goading him on, trying to get him to forget he’s a hero for once. It has the feel of Darth Vader trying to get Luke to embrace the Dark Side. Will Barry falter….

Actually, Barry does something we have never really seen. He stops fighting. He unmasks. He tells Thawne he forgives him. In a very Zen way of thinking, Barry agrees that the two of them are stuck in this loop, and the only way for that loop to be broken is for him to ‘let go’ of Thawne. To forgive him. He ‘let’s go’ in both a spiritual and physical sense, by using the Speed Force to ‘ground’ Thawne he transforms him from being a paradox existing outside of time to a person within it. The Reverse-Flash ‘dies’. Thawne, however, is now alive and well in his native 25th Century, as the curator of The Flash Museum. The Reverse-Flash is still an exhibit there, but nobody can remember who he was, if he was a hero or villain. Barry knows he has taken a risk, resetting Thawne and undoing all his recent actions, such as The Legion of Zoom, but something had to give.

Williamson ends his run with a gentle sign off, with all his cast and characters finally enjoying some down time after recent events. These moments, of reflection, are as important to Barry as the fighting bad guys part. His friends and family are the reason he does it. Williamson writes in plenty of emotional beats to this wrap up, and you get the feeling it is as emotional a farewell from him to these characters as it is for Barry and his dead mother. Barry’s open and closing dialogue is also as pure a love letter to this character as you will find. A special word for the outstanding art by Howard Porter, the visuals positively pop and fizz off the page. The sense of movement and motion is constant page to page, even panel to panel. He makes a 15 panel page work well, and the final full page panel is simply stunning. Poster-worthy.

As much as I came to like Wally West, to me he was always Kid Flash from the Teen Titans. ‘My’ Flash was Barry Allen, and it sure feels as though Joshua Williamson feels that way too. Joshua Williamson’s run ( no pun intended…well, maybe a little) will be up there with the best of them for many years to come.

The only bad thing? It was over too quickly. Those 101 issues went by in a Flash.

***** 5/5


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