Wally West is the Flash. Or at least he was, for a solid 25 years before The New 52 happened, and then he eventually returned to the mantle two years ago. The Flash #800 is an anthology that celebrates this beloved character – and a damn good one at that, but also a good jumping-on point for readers looking to get into the character.
There are five short stories here, four by prolific Flash creative teams of the past, and one by the new creative team taking the reins with Dawn of DC in September.
Kicking off this issue is a story by the creative team behind the current Flash run. “Don’t Come to Central City,” written by Jeremy Adams, with art by Fernando Pasarin, inks by Oclair Albert, colors by Matt Herms, and letters by Rob Leigh. What serves as a bookend to their run also doubles as a fantastic introduction to the character itself.
In this story, we see a group of villains getting together and talking about why out of all the cities they try to rob, they avoid Central City specifically. It’s a fun story that sets the Flash Family apart from the rest of the DC Universe in terms of how they deal with their bad guys and does so effectively, with very much of a ‘Saturday morning cartoon’ episode vibe in the best way possible. Pasarin, Albert, and Herms’ art adds to that energy, with some really fun action, while Leigh’s lettering, with the emphasis on certain terms, really brings that all together. It’s a fantastic ending to the run, and one I will remember.
Following this, Mark Waid, Todd Nauck, Matt Herms, and Rob Leigh come together to take us on a blast to the past with a story that takes place early on during their tenure on the Impulse book from the 90s. Even though it takes place there, you don’t need additional context to jump on as long as you have some passing knowledge of Flash lore.
This story follows Bart as he tries to save Wally and Max Mercury from the Mirror Master. It’s a fun tale – one that takes us back to when Wally was still a younger Flash who couldn’t particularly stand Bart – which, just like Bart, goes at a breakneck pace, and it’s all the better for it. Reading it does make me wish Waid and Nauck would come back for another Bart run because this story is just so much fun.
The third story, by Joshua Williamson, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Ivan Plascencia, and Rob Leigh, is a Barry and Iris’ centric story narrated from Wally’s perspective.
Considering Wally’s history with the two, and Williamson and Giandomenico’s phenomenal run on the character, it only makes sense that this story is told this way. This is as much of an exploration of where Wally’s core strengths – his pillars come from, as much as it is a display of Barry and Iris’ love for each other. It’s short and sweet, and a reminder of a run I miss dearly.
Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins return for a tale featuring Zoom, aka Hunter Zolomon, with Luis Guerrero on colors and Rob Leigh on lettering once again. In a book that’s all about celebrating Wally West and his impact, this one feels slightly out of place.
The reason this story feels out of place is because it’s barely a story about Wally, and rather, one about Zoom through and through. The story gives you a short introduction to the character before jumping in to a story about him breaking free. Which seemingly feels like set up for more to come. Kolins and Guerrero’s art is fantastic as usual. There’s a glorious two-page spread in there that made me look in awe. A fun joint, but nothing too special.
Finally, at the finish line, we get our first look at the new Flash run, by Si Spurrier, Mike Deodato Jr., Trish Mulvihill, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, and all I can say is: Wow. That ruled.
Right as the story turns on the ignition, it hits you with some awesome paneling, the kind of stuff I’ve been wanting from a Flash story since forever. Wally and Linda finally get a night alone out on the town after forever, but in classic Flash tradition, everything goes awry, with Wally having to run off to save the day. There’s some interesting setup here for what’s to come, coupled with Spurrier writing a really smart Wally to boot – which I’ve been missing since the Waid run. Deodato’s pencils with Mulvihill’s colors look stunning, with such a wide range of colors that really make every page pop.
I do wish the art was more kinetic, specifically for a Flash book, but it looked amazing nonetheless. I loved Otsmane-Elhaou’s letters too, especially how they never followed a sense of uniformity, sometimes being in front of the panel borders, sometimes behind, sometimes not straight up, with an array of fonts to denote different tones. There’s so much thought put into every single panel here, and it’s glorious. I can’t wait for September.
The Flash #800 issue is awesome. It’s a very well-earned celebration of this character and his supporting cast in the best way possible, with most of the stories being worth your time. Definitely pick this one up, even if you’re not into the character – maybe this will be the one to get you into him!