Wally West is back! But... Wally West has a family to feed. Wally West needs... a job!
But on the supervillain front, there's trouble brewing with Heatwave...
The Flash #772 presents a real, honest-to-gods return to blue-collar, gotta-punch-the-clock man-of-the-people two-feet-on-the-ground superheroics – at least until it goes full DC. And even then, it still manages to be a heckuva fun comic.
Now that he’s been fully re-established as THE Flash, and the depredations of HiC have been finally cast aside, Wally West is truly back – with kids Irey and Jai and wife Linda in tow – with all of the wonderful, mundane family drama that goes along with it: paying the bills, feeding the kids, and, most pertinent to this issue – finding a job. It’s a full-court press of old school Marvel-style charm by way of “the world outside your window.” After years of stories revolving around multiverse-crushing stakes, it’s impossible to read Flash #772 without anything other than a big, dumb, sloppy smile on your face, as Wally navigates the intricacies of 21st-century job searching – and finding out he doesn’t have a clue as to how it all works. It’s awesome, and the return of the relateable hero – something of a lost art at DC, and a welcome return commitment to – well, not its roots, but a grounded approach to superhero storytelling that all-too-frequently feels like a quaint afterthought from the past.
Which is why it’s mildly disappointing that writer Jeremy Adams decides to, instead of leaning into these day-to-day vagaries, give Wally an easy out in the form of Mr. Terrific, who miraculously swoops in and gives him a job doing supercool science-y things at his private tech company. Not only does this move completely subvert the awesome tone of the issue’s first half, it’s a deus ex machina that leans into DC’s superfantastical realities in the easiest way possible. Forget the fun to be had with watching a superhero try to juggle a full-time mechanic job with his superhero gig and his family; here’s a science lab instead that focuses on the Speed Force (because of course it does) and has a built-in exit where he can come and go as he pleases as Flash-y emergencies arise. Sigh. Such a missed opportunity.
Still and all, though, it’s wonderful to see the West family dynamic back in play for “Job Hunt.” Linda, Jai, and Irey have been sorely missed (a secondary loss to Wally being sidelined for so long), and with their return, it’s more than clear that Adams understands how to write a fun, multifaceted family in the grind of the day-to-day trenches. He also brings an outstanding human element – and even a whiff of tragedy – to Heatwave, of all people. Mick Rory may have gradually morphed into something resembling a good guy on Legends of Tomorrow, but on page, he’s still the salty old blue-collar bad guy he’s always been. And with the blow he’s been dealt with a seeming death sentence via cancer and the desperation it brings makes him as relatable in his own way as Wally. Even though Heatwave doesn’t have nearly enough page time to do his subplot justice, the mere fact that he’s being framed in such human terms is a welcome hearkening back to Geoff Johns’ superb Flash tenure, which made a specific focus of humanizing the hero’s foes.
Artists Will Conrad and Alex Sinclair are a sight to behold, and fit Adams’ down-to-earth script like a glove. Conrad in particular has just a smidge of Bryan Hitch-style realism that works synchronously with Adams’ script, and keeps Wally’s, Linda’s, Mr. Terrific’s, Jai’s, Irey’s, and Heatwave’s stories with two feet planted firmly on terra firma. Welcome back, Wally West. You’ve been missed.
Despite a deus ex machina that subverts the script's initial man-on-the-street fun, Flash #772 is a welcome return to grounded, "this-could-be-you" superheroics. Welcome back, Wally West!
The Flash #772: A Terrific Deus Ex Machina
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 7/107/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9.5/109.5/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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