The Flash #800 is published by DC Comics, featuring stories from several creators. “Don’t Come to Central City” is written by Jeremy Adams, pencils by Fernando Pasarin, inks by Oclair Albert, colors by Matt Herms, and letters by Rob Leigh. “The Max in the Mirror” is written by Mark Waid, pencils and inks by Todd Nauck, colors by Matt Herms, and letters by Leigh. “Flash Family” is written by Joshua Williamson, pencils and inks by Carmine Di Giandomenico, colors by Ivan Plascencia, and letters by Leigh. “Blitz Back” is written by Geoff Johns, pencils and inks by Scott Kollins, colors by Luis Guerrero, and letters by Leigh. “Between Love and You” is written by Si Spurrier, pencils and inks by Mike Deodato Jr., colors by Trish Mulvihill, and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. The eighth centenary issue celebrates Wally West through a variety of stories.
Every part of this anthology brings a different plot, as some of the greatest writers in the history of the Flash return. In “Don’t Come To Central City”, the conceit is comically similar to a Batman: The Animated Series episode, in which Batman’s villains play poker whilst talking about getting beaten by the Bat. Here, villains discuss why operating in Central City is so dangerous. It’s humorous and eye-opening to get this discussion on a city that often falls by the wayside due to the popularity of the others. And for the current, outgoing writer of The Flash, it is a nice love letter to the city and the characters he’s been the custodian over. From there, the book alternates between a current, carefree adventure to a blast into the past.
What is noticeable within the book is the tone gets darker the deeper you get into The Flash #800. Reflecting on the past and Adams’ run, the first chapters are framed with love and joy. But the last two in particular are dark and ominous, carrying many mysteries and questions about the future of the character when Spurrier takes over. It is extremely satisfying to see figures such as Waid and Johns returning, with very different tales. Waid’s is fast-paced, focusing on Bart Allen, whilst the Johns’ story brings a character that may have been forgotten back into the forefront of Flash comics. The entire spectrum of tones that could be experienced in a Wally West comic is here.
The creators do a great job as a team at covering all the bases with regard to the characters. The focus of much of the anthology is Wally, which is understandable due to him being the primary Flash. And his heart and soul are on display for all to see. Even the villains in that first story can’t do anything but praise him for his compassion and desire to talk instead of fight. But other characters are paid due respect. Williamson’s passage is about Barry and Iris, told through the narration of Wally as a soliloquy. It gives him just as much love so that it doesn’t seem like Barry is being shunned or sidelined. And Johns’ desire to centre his story on one of Wally’s most dangerous foes works perfectly within the theme that he’s reaching in the script itself.
The art is glorious, as some legendary figures return to The Flash. Pasarin has been consistently fantastic as one of Adam’s collaborators for the run, approaching The Flash #800, and the montage that ensues is the best platform to demonstrate those talents once more. There’s a variety of characters, settings, and action, and yet Pasarin makes all look incredible. Elsewhere, Nauck has a signature style that is exceedingly positive and energetic, a brilliant match for Bart. Di Giandomenico has a gorgeous style, with a real talent for demonstrating love through facial expressions.
Kollins is another master of his craft, and the thick line weights increase the sense of drama and intensity. And Deodato Jr. brings quite a gothic, sinister atmosphere to the final part. The colors are also indicative of the tone and mood of the stories at hand. Early on, they are extremely bright and exuberant, reflecting the joy back out of the comic. Then towards the end, there are more shadows and gloom as an uncertain future lies ahead. Both Leigh and Otsmane-Elhaou are excellent with letters.
The Flash #800 brings an era to a close and fires the starting gun for the new one. The transition happens through the course of the comic, signaling a shift in the tide. That tonal difference is one that will be fascinating to see if persists on a more consistent basis. Because that has been the biggest takeaway from the Adams run. It’s been so positive and energetic and refreshing to read in a sea of dark and heavy books. This one issue is a celebration of Wally West, but the whole series has been bathing him in glory. It is extremely satisfying to see some legendary creators make a return. Spurrier has big running shoes to fill.
The Flash #800 is available where comics are sold.
The Flash #800
The Flash #800 brings an era to a close and fires the starting gun for the new one. The transition happens through the course of the comic, signaling a shift in the tide. That tonal difference is one that will be fascinating to see if persists on a more consistent basis.