The Flash #750 has arrived! Barry Allen is enjoying some down time, when he stumbles onto a story Iris is writing interviewing the citizens of Central City about their love for the Scarlet Speedster. But trouble is never far away, as the nefarious Godspeed returns... and leads Flash into a trap by frightening new villain PARADOX!
As a bonus, five other stories and a wealth of gorgeous pin-ups round out this all-star anniversary issue, all from the best and brightest talents in the business!
The Flash #750 may not be quite as profound of a statement on its titular hero as the recent Wonder Woman of the same number was for her, but it comes pretty close. And that’s a feat in and of itself – not only for the creators involved, but for DC in general, to so strongly make the case for why its heroes remain and always have been the brightest stars in the superhero sky. They’re more than just heroes or even legends: they’re paragons to aspire to, the foundation that all other heroes should aspire to become. As the old company tagline used to say, DC is “The ORIGINAL universe.” And that’s something the company has wrestled with in recent decades, just how to cater to that all-important legacy while still seeming relevant and not mired in the past. Over the past decade, DC’s linewide continuity has been a hodgepodge of confusion, but recent events – uncannily, reflected and projected in this monster of an issue – seem to point that the future is coming quicker than anticipated, and it’s immeasurably bright.
The Flash, by most measures, is the embodiment of what makes the DCU great: endless possibility, powers seeming without limit but kept earthbound by humanity. Writers can pretty much do whatever they want with the Flash, no matter how outlandish, and find a way to make it work. The hero has come a long way since the debut of Jay Garrick in 1940 as “token guy who runs fast,” building a substantial mythology of his own with internal rules of operation, starts, stops, reboots, identity swaps, legacy status, and yes, death. Dying was perhaps the most important thing Barry Allen had done since discovering the existence of Earth-2, and it solidified his legacy as DC’s premier paragon of heroic virtue.
It’s telling that in the lead story, “The Flash Age” part one, writer Josh Williamson deals head-on with the concept of the Flash’s legacy, and how his constant mucking with the timestream in the service of good could have dire unintended consequences to the extreme that new villain Paradox considers him a villain. (To be sure, as detailed last issue, he has good reason to view Flash as the bad guy.) The premise of the story, at least in its first chapter, seeks to challenge the Flash’s legacy at a core level – and by its end, will surely bolster Barry’s iconic status. There’s a wonderful story beat too that revolves around love-of-his-life Iris West writing a story about the everyday citizens of Central City and their abiding love of their hero. It may seem a little sappy, but it works as a foundational reinforcement for the concept “Flash Age” seeks to codify: that the Flash is, quite simply, the greatest. Step aside, Superman.
The backup stories are pretty stellar as well, for the most part. “Beer Run” reunites classic ’00s Flash creative team Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins for a look inside the life and motivations of Captain Cold, the archfoe they made great. New 52 alums Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato present a somewhat saccharine and Dickensian story about what life in Central City might look like if Barry had never become the Flash; the standout of this tale is without a doubt Manapul’s always-innovate page layouts. “Flash of All Worlds!” by the legendary Marv Wolfman is essentially a showpiece for artists Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascencia, here using their warped and wacky style to great effect as Flash battles Mirror Master. “At the Starting Line” brings original Flash Jay Garrick back in action, with drop-dead gorgeous artwork courtesy of David Marquez. The story itself is fairly straightforward, but provides some welcome feet of clay to the original-model Flash even as it stridently hints at his major return in 2020.
The final story is an epilogue to the recently-wrapped Flash Forward, (which, to paraphrase fellow reviewer Cody White, might be the most Scott Lobdell Scott Lobdell comic ever written) is probably the weakest story of the bunch. Readers who haven’t partaken in that miniseries are likely to be confused as all get-out. But – to get back to the original point of DC refocusing its internal continuity soon – this little story serves as a bridge to the upcoming Generation Zero, with Wally West firmly in the captain’s (Mobius) chair and ready to face whatever continuity errors and wrinkles the DCU can throw at him. It’s a set-up, and Wally definitely feels out of character thanks to sitting on the Mobius Chair, but there’s no denying the hairs stood up on my neck as Wally faced multiple, familiar timelines with his trademark devil-may-care smile on his face.
Though not quite the profound statement it wants to be on all things Flash (but it comes close!), issue 750 of this legendary title is still a wonderful testament to the staying power of its titular hero, his legacy, and what the future holds. Spoiler: it's coming at you faster than light!
The Flash #750: A Hero for All Ages
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 9.5/109.5/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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