As attack after attack on the Fraction fails, the Flash family gets a huge boost from its oldest and youngest members, Jay and Irey (with passive and hilarious assistance from Jai) in review of The Flash #794!
Jeremy Adams kicks off the pivot into the final part of this seven issue arc “One Minute War” in our review of The Flash #794 with an intensely character & action-focused issue. Irey gets her new codename in a nicely constructed culmination of pieces sown throughout this arc. From the little girl thinking of her grandmother’s wisdom, to her confrontation with the terrifying Miss Murder, everything culminates in the funny but inspiring “Thunderheart”. Though the three-syllable name is a bit less snappy than “The Flash” or “Surge”, there’s still a really good sound and thematic association for the name. Hopefully it’ll be one of the lasting legacies of Adams’ run (in addition to the many, many warm and exciting memories from the adventures and relationships Adams has so expertly written).
The Story and My Thoughts
In a nice bookend to the first image of the book, Irey standing alone. ON the other, the book closes with the image of grandpa Jay standing alone with a gigantic Fraction gun. He’s ready to come to the rescue just like Irey did in this issue. There’s a real sense of generational heroism and connection in this book reinforced by this issue choosing to spend so much time on both Irey’s and Jay’s struggles. Neither is shown to be weaker or less admirable, but their differences and voices are maintained quite strongly. Adams is definitely pulling from classic comic and movie moments with that final scene of Jay – a real Dark Phoenix Saga Wolverine “My turn” feeling to the way Jay is standing and his words!
In addition to developing and giving so much time to shine for Irey and Jay, Adams also including a really tough balancing act. He has to play Wally’s death and his family’s reactions as heartbreaking without making the book feel too tragic. There’s a real sense that our heroes will triumph in the end. Plus, the hilarious joke of having Jai involved in the war by being a human kinetic bomb to be thrown at the bad guys over and over again to great effect is comedic genius. It really helps lighten the gloom.
Barry coming up with a plan (involving math, in an inspiration to teacher and math fans everywhere) to save everything feels absolutely perfect coming from him – though two worries result. First, of course, is the Flashpoint worry – will using time travel cause even worse problems? We know from the One Minute War Special (Zone!) that the Fraction won’t be fully eradicated. However, it’s unlikely that the Flash Family will just let the Fraction miss Earth. They won’t allow them to countless other worlds. Second, time travel as a solution to Flash storylines can feel a bit too easy. But Adams has setup and paid off dozens of plots in satisfying ways throughout this run. I think this storyline, the One Minute War, will be no exception!
The Art Continue to Impress
In addition to the great character and action work Adams puts in through the writing, Roger Cruz and the art team provide fantastic art once again! It’s firmly in the “meat and potatoes” realm of comic book art. However, Cruz’s designs & layouts are once again very appealing and clean. It comes with a great sense of motion you always need from a Flash comic. Hopefully once he recovers from the great feat of illustrating the majority of a twice a month arc, Cruz can return to The Flash as another of the regular artists for the book.
To Buy or Not to Buy – The Covers
As always, we end our review of The Flash #794 with a look at the covers. Once again, the main cover by Taurin Clarke gets the highest recommendation. One, it is part of the series of covers for this arc (and run). Secondly, it’s a great image of Irey crouching by her dad. She’s ready to “flash” into action as Thunderheart. It is a completely appropriate cover for the issue in which she picks her new codename. Clarke’s image also gets a lovely textless foil variant for the 1 in 50 incentive.
Cover C by frequent variant artist and interior artist for the One Minute War Special George Kambadais is runner up. It features Flash, Impulse, and Kid Flash. It also has the Fraction ships attacking as digital clock numbers on the skyscrapers in the background count down from 60. It’s a brilliant & funny rendering of the concept of the One Minute War. It includes some of the key characters in the issue. If only one of them were Irey, it would probably steal the top slot from Clarke!
Cover B by Marco D’Alfonso features the Flash facing off against some unknown tentacle monster. He’s in a number of fighting poses taken so quickly they superimpose over each other. It’s funny, but as it’s not really related to the interior or story idea. It gets a lower rating in “purchase or not”. Eleonora Carlini’s 1 in 25 variant features a desperate looking Flash seeming to try to outrace the arcing lightning surrounding him. It’s a dynamic and expressive image. But like D’Alfonso’s, has nothing to do with the main story. Lastly, Jerry Ordway provides a Shazam: Fury of the Gods movie-tie-in cover featuring Shazam against a lightning filled sky. It’s very nice. If you’re collecting all of the Shazam promotional covers, it might be your pick!
Editor’s Note: If you missed out on the review of part 4 of One Minute War, you can find it here.