26th Nov2021

‘The Flash #776’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Jeremy Adams | Art by Fernando Pasarin, Matt Ryan | Published by DC Comics

So big Flash fan that I am, and a huge Dr Fate fan to boot, that alone would be enough to make this a must read issue for this DC fanboy. What actually did make me pick this up was a recommendation from a friend that said you would think Grant Morrison had wrote it. I liked the sound of that. So, not having read the previous few issues, which I will now catch up on for sure, I’ve gathered that Dr. Fate has whisked The Flash away to somewhere called The In-Between, a two-dimensional causeway unfortunately filled with nasty demonic forces. Luckily, they’ve got the help of the most unlikeliest guest-stars of all. Us. It’s all gone Grant Morrison.

Yep, this is all going to get very meta.

Right from the start Dr. Fate tells us, the reader, we have to help. He breaks that fourth wall like a pro. Being magically inclined, you assume he’s aware of the multiverse and omniverse. The Flash, though, is a little more confused. Just who is Fate talking to? A quick magic spell and Wally has his mind blown. Yep, we’re looking at YOU. Two pages in I’m already having great fun. Flash and Fate aren’t though, as those pesky demons arrive. These being demons, they don’t just come in one’s and two’s but in hordes, and soon the two near powerless heroes are engulfed. Who can help? We can. By turning the page sideways, we managed to shake off those demons and save our heroes. In one go I’ve proven more helpful that Snapper Carr did in decades of JLA stories.

On we go. After righting the page, the next part of the quest involves us blowing out the on page torches to help our heroes navigate through some newly animated statues, and some more turning of pages to help our heroes access places. Careful, though, as one over enthusiastic turn ended up causing more trouble than it was worth. This is all feeling like those old create your own adventure books, albeit a more linear version. Finally Fate and Wally find the book they need to open the portal to escape, but need to know the right order in which to activate the glypths. Time for us readers to spring into action, backtrack through the story and find the places where the glyphs were shown and touch them in the order seen. NO cheating.

Assuming you got it right, the portal opened and Fate and Wally made it out of the two-dimensional place they were visiting. So it’s goodbye to us, but hello to the Justice League Dark. It seems they’ve made it to Gemworld. Good news, right? Sort of. It seems despite the shortcut Eclipso has won, and being back in the three-dimensional world there’s nothing us readers can do about it, which is just as well as I don’t fancy upsetting Eclipso.

Honestly, that much fun reading a comic book should be illegal. It wasn’t a passive experience, as reading usually is, but a truly interactive one, which raised the fun level to another level. Jeremy Adams wrote a very knowing, very meta tribute to both those old DC Silver age comics, where at times anything went, and to the more recent Grant Morrison Animal Man /Psycho Pirate/ Hypertime material. Fun to read and most definitely fun to experience. The art from Pasarin and Ryan was gorgeous, alone worth buying the book for. So much detail in every panel, and lovely clean line art and layouts made for a superb visual treat too. Literally the only negative I can think of is to say that if you didn’t like the gimmick this issue, you won’t like it, as wider story-wise nothing of relevance happens. Think of it like a fill-in issue, non-essential. But buy it anyway, because it’s great fun.

I love it when things can still surprise me even after decades of collecting comics, and anything that can still put a smile on my face deserves nothing less than…

***** 5/5

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