Comic Reviews

Review: The Flash #800 (and 799)

In our review of The Flash #800 (and #799), we bring Jeremy Adams’ spectacular run to an end. Adams does this with a heartfelt adventure to save Wally and Linda’s son. He continues this celebration of 800 issues with a classic villain tale. The issue concludes with four other short stories by classic and upcoming Flash writers.
The Flash #800 – The Story and the Art

Before beginning our review of The Flash #800, we need to look at issue #799. In The Flash #799, Jeremy Adams both wraps up his magnificent Flash run in a way that is reminiscent of Bryan Q. Miller’s ending to Batgirl: Stephanie Brown. Both of them had more planned for their heroes. And yet, both of them still managed to craft an ending to their run which celebrated the best of the journey they’d taken the character on, the character’s history before their run, and promised infinite beautiful stories in readers’ imagination. Adams did this in two specific ways in #799. First, he introduces two more heroic children characters – the kidnapped children of Mr. Terrific. Wally and the team also rescued other heroes. Hopefully, this is a tease that they will be a part of the Super Kids featured in issue #797.

Second, there’s the gap in time between Wally defeating Granny Goodness & saving his tiny son Wade and him showing up at home again. This Wally, signified by his shaggy hair and beard, indicates that the team had many additional adventures to explore later. And if they aren’t – again, fans love those kinds of gaps where the fan-fiction impulse can run completely wild.

Artists Tom Derenick and Fernando Pasarin are not my favorite pencillers for the run. However, both do completely serviceable artwork for this story. Pasarin in particular really captures the brilliant mayhem of Gold Beetle and her new wrestling friend gleefully defeating a skyscraper sized gorilla and robot duo.

This was not the best story in Adams’ run. Two issues aren’t nearly enough time to let the emotions of a brand new baby, the terror of the kidnapping, the many revelations of Granny’s evil, and her defeat sink in and have their proper weight. This is especially true after Adams’ carefully paced adventures he sent Wally & his family on for the past two years. However, as the sketches of a story required to wrap up all the threads left after One Minute War, and featuring Wally as the hero and man we’ve come to know and love over those same two years – it continues to uphold the high-quality Adams have poured on the entire run.

 

flash 800 manapul cover
The Flash #800 wraparound variant cover by Francis Manapul (Credit: DC Comics)

 

And to wrap it up, we have the five stories of The Flash #800. Unlike some of the other anniversary issues, the extended page count allows each writer space enough to craft a story. Each one highlights a different aspect of the Flash characters instead of a full-fledged plotline. It works pretty well. Waid’s Impulse story revisits his exploration of Bart, Max Mercury, and Wally as Bart’s heroism conflicts with his quickly distracted one track mind. But it also showcases Wally, Bart, and Max very nicely as they struggle against the Mirror Master’s trap. Classic Impulse artist Todd Nauck recaptures the style and linework that made the book so recognizable back in the day.

Joshua Williamson re-teams with brilliant artist Carmine Di Giandomenico. Di Giandomenico drew most of the first half of Williamson’s Flash Rebirth run for a Barry and Iris date night story. It gives them the happy ending that One Minute War set them on. It also drags in Wally and Linda and their family as part of Barry’s love for his WHOLE family in a beautifully drawn, tenderly written little scene. Geoff Johns leans into his darker side for his Hunter Zolomon story. He teams up with longtime Flash collaborator Scott Kolins, who is known for his thick lined, vivid style.

Si Spurrier’s preview story for his forthcoming run, starting in September, features Spurrier’s trademark thoughtful and poetic worldbuilding. There’s a zany collaboration with artist Mike Deodato, Jr., with creative panels and exciting lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. If you’re into a man struggling with the infinite responsibility of the Speed Force, dark horror threats, and trying to balance his life as husband and father, this is for you. It looks like Spurrier is going to give it a strong try. He’ll be supported by a really intelligent art team.

But it’s Adams’ opening short story, a Flash-centered version of the brilliant Batman the Animated Series episode “Almost Got ‘Im.” Several villains tell stories of why Wally West and his family make Central City the least popular city for villains to visit.

 

flash #800 panel
Jeremy Adams’ presented his own version of “Almost Got ‘Im.” (Credit: DC Comics)

 

Fernando Pasarin’s work is at its absolute best here. Few, if any of his unfortunate over-rotated necks or oddly large heads, his always detailed linework and intelligent paneling support Adams’ strong use of structure, humor, and emotion. It leads to a beautiful splash page ending it all on Wally West, the super heroic Flash. The Waid, Williamson, and Spurrier stories definitely stand out as enjoyable and interesting. The Adams story, however, gives a sense of closure to his run. It highlights the structural strengths that Adams’ TV and film writing honed, and his love for these characters and what they mean in and out of universe. It’s a warm handshake and hug goodbye, and I’ll miss this run so, so much.

The Covers

For issue #799, Taurin Clarke’s main cover reflects Wally’s battle against Granny Goodness perfectly, though the Parademons aren’t prominent in the story (the same image is used for the 1-in-50 foil incentive variant). Mike Perkins and Mike Spicer’s cardstock variant portrays a generic Flash in a very nicely rendered pencil style. Ethan Young and Edwin Galmon both portray Ace as Kid Flash, the former racing with Wally, the latter by himself running down skyscrapers for the 1-in-25 incentive. The Taurin Clarke main cover continues to be recommended for those who like the covers to reflect the interior, and Clarke’s painted style continues to look quite nice as a collector’s item.

For The Flash #800, a huge wealth of covers faces the collector. Taurin Clarke’s final cover for the series proclaims the issue as “A Celebration of Wally West”, and features Wally running forward while the Titans, his Kid Flash version embracing Barry, his family, wedding, and a few other vignettes in a nice flashback style behind him. Clarke’s rendering feels a bit rubbery, as it can get, but is still a very nice #800 celebration style cover, and a nice ending to his run of covers on this excellent book.

Nine additional covers greet the collector for the 800th issue. It tempts this hardcore “only one copy” collector to break that policy because of the artistic brilliance on display. It starts off with Michael Cho’s bold lines in faux Silver Age style. The cover depicts Wally followed by Barry and Jay in a lovely historical fashion. Jeff Dekhal’s dramatic digital painted style features Wally racing a cheetah, lightning flaring around him beautifully. Simone Di Meo’s gorgeous raindrop variant shows Wally racing between the raindrops. His face and symbol reflect in the water frozen in time – a really exciting effect. David Nakayama shows Wally leaping above the reader in his trademark shiny style. Otto Schmidt features a funny and sweet cover of Wally with a stopwatch while super-powered Linda racing around him.

Jonboy Meyers’s The Flash Movie variant shows the Ezra Miller Flash running towards the reader. It features the movie logo and title prominently.  For an additional 2 dollars, you can get the absolutely gorgeous Francis Manapul foil variant. It features Wally, Linda, Jai, and Irey getting ready for a race. It has the truly lovely foil details instead of a simple foiled effect that DC often goes with.

 

flash #800 movie variant
The Flash #800 Movie variant by Jonboy Meyers. (Credit: DC Comics)

 

Javier Rodriguez provides the 1-in-25 incentive variant. It has Wally racing through a red technological tunnel. It’s a really nice effect relying heavily on flat negative space instead of heavy rendering. Finally, Matt Taylor’s 1-in-50 incentive variant features an almost tie-dyed effect Flash broken up by geometric circles and lines. It’s a very cool artistic piece. Taurin Clarke’s main cover gets the nod for collection continuity. Despite the price increase, Francis Manapul’s foil variant is well worth the money. It features Wally plus his family who have been so brilliantly developed by this run in a thoughtfully designed foil cover.

Big Time Collectibles ordered three retailer exclusive foil variants. They are all versions of the Flash lightning bolt symbol – an online buy for the collectors. A pale-yellow sketch variant is also available for convention goers who want artist commissions!

In Closing

For someone who passed on the 100 page The Flash #750, The Flash #800 is both a lovely collector’s item and a heartfelt goodbye. It is also a hello from to the incoming creative teams. Well worth having for both those jumping off at the end of Adams’s run and those jumping on for Spurrier’s. Though I wish the new creative team well, I am sadly the former. And for those who will collect the book through thick and thin, of course you’ll get this issue. Hopefully it will stand out as one of the special ones. It certainly deserves to.

Editor’s note: If you want to read our previous review of The Flash, please check it out here

The Flash #800

Overall Rating

4 Stars

The Flash #800 is both a lovely collector’s item and a heartfelt goodbye and hello from the outgoing and incoming creative teams.

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