WRITER: Jeremy Adams
ARTIST: Will Conrad
RELEASE DATE: August 17th, 2021.
For most of my comic reading years, Wally West was the only Flash. In the 1990’s I read a lot of Wally West Flash stories. While I enjoyed them I was more a Barry Allen fan. After everything DC has put Wally and Wally West fans through in recent years, I was hesitant of him taking over the Flash series. Especially after Heroes in Crisis. With Flash issue #773 we can now move past all the continuity shifts to get Wally back as The Flash in the DCU and just have a regular fun Flash comic.
Flash #773 is the conclusion of a two-part story centering on Wally trying to juggle his new job working at a research center for Mr. Terrific while stopping a seemingly no longer reformed villain Heatwave. This feels like a nice old-school story. The first thing I noticed is their is no “decompressed 6 part written for the trade” story. An actual two-parter that is just the right length to tell this story. One of the things that have always made the Flash’s rogues gallery different from others is his relationship with them, regardless of whether it’s Barry or Wally in the costume.
Despite the gimmicks, for the most part, the Rogue’s are not Arkham Asylum crazies. They have a gimmick and usually just want to use their skills to make money. And even though the Flash is there to stop them you rarely feel like the Flash hates his foes (except maybe Reverse Flash of course). Sometimes he’s more focused on stopping them by helping. Such as this story where we learn Heatwave has terminal cancer.
Distraught over this, Heatwave decides to return to arson as he’s upset people keep living their lives while hs is fast coming to an end. The Flash makes quick work for stopping Heatwave. Wally has been a superhero for a long time and it’s nice to see here the writer’s knowledge of Wally’s confidence and skill. The Flash could have just been content with stopping the bad guy. But here, Wally shows how he’s different from many other superheroes. He wants to help Heatwave and that conversation is a great emotional beat for the issue.
So far it doesn’t look like Wally will have a problem going back and forth between his new job and superheroing. Super speed helps of course. One scene at his workplace that I questioned was when Wally is schooling the scientist on what metals work best to conduct energy. I know Wally learned a lot about moving energy around from Barry and his constant “Flash facts”. Yet I still had a hard time buying the scientists needing Wally’s help. It’s a small nitpick.
The art by Will Conrad is crisp and clear like a Flash comic should be. Colorists Micheal Atiyeh and Alex Sinclair should be given an honorable mention for brightening up the book. The Flash should rarely if ever, look like a dark grim, and gritty book. The art and coloring here help make the Flash look distinct from other comics yet still feel like a fun comic.
Reading The Flash #773 I kept coming back to thinking about Spider-man of all things. Most people hated the “One More Day” Spider-man story. But after that, we got “Brand New Day” that kicked off a long run of fun easily accessible Spider-man comics. Now that we are past Heroes in Crisis and the recent “Surge” story, it appears with #772-773 that Wally might be getting his Brand New Day. Another Spider-man connection is it’s fun to see Wally try to juggle home/work/superheroing as Peter Parker has too. Most DC Comics don’t address this much anymore. Either character has given up their secret identity (Superman, kinda Hal Jordan, or any Green Lantern really), don’t have one to worry about (Aquaman, Wonder Woman), Or just never have a problem dealing with it (Batman). If you want an old-fashioned, but not old feeling, fast Flash story then #772-773 is an easy place to jump in.