The Flash #5 is published by DC Comics, written by Si Spurrier, art by Mike Deodato Jr, colors by Trish Mulvihill, and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. Wally’s son Jai is constantly in trouble, and his emerging powers draw characters to him and him to other characters.
One of the most intriguing characters so far within this run, Jai’s powers are completely different from other speedsters, so much so that he isn’t really one at all. But he is connected to them, which is what activates the structure of the comic. Jai teleports between being near his dad and outside the principal’s office, where a mysterious figure has found him. Through Jai, two stories are told, which is an amazing concept implemented by Spurrier. This issue has a plot about a young boy trying to figure out what is happening in his life. And then all of the other main plot threads unfold at the same time, with Flash, Terrific, Gorilla Grodd, and the breaking of physics as we know it.
The comic takes many steps to explain what is happening on its own terms. Not all of it lands, but it has to be commended for trying to capture the wackiness of this run and put it into words. But it also becomes an incredibly sweet story about a son afraid of letting his father down, and the personal side of this comic is phenomenal.
The script within The Flash #5 is absolutely outstanding. Jai has seemed underused within the run so far, and that is actually slightly reflected in the story. The first time he is seen, he is sat outside the principal’s office, likely forgotten about in that scenario, too. And he is going through so much that he doesn’t understand at all. His powers are so volatile and unpredictable that it is extremely frightening for the young kid. The narration shifts from Wally to Jai, changing the sound and tone of the comic. It becomes unsure and anxiety-ridden.
The portrayal of Wally is also really interesting. Through Jai’s narration, he is presented as this perfect father, but that is teeing the man up for potential failure. He is an exceedingly good man, but there is a side to him that his family and his children have never seen. It is because they are who he finds happiness and safety within, and his mission to protect them is paramount. Whilst Jai encounters his dad a lot within this chapter, they only have one conversation. And whilst it has possibly seemed like Irey takes all of her dad’s focus, and Jai may feel that as well, it is clear that he is devoted to both of them.
There are more of the mysterious characters that have existed in this series; they just seem to appear. The one that finds Jai is fascinating and is pivotal for putting Jai’s powers within a box and trying to label it. Then comes the celestial beings that showed themselves much earlier in the series. How they respond to Flash’s interference is vastly different from their last meeting.
The art also tries to comprehend the ideas that Spurrier comes up with, and much of the time, it is successful. The quiet periods when Jai is on his own are really well done, with a beautiful portrayal of isolation. But every time the comic returns to that time, something is different. The little creatures that emerge from Jair are like insects, causing an involuntary reaction of fear. Then, when the book jumps to Wally, there is a different location and scenario happening there as well. He is joined by various characters, all in a multitude of moods and emotions.
The middle of the comic has a fight scene with a huge character within a tiny space, and the execution of that moment is terrific. The terror created as the lack of escape routes is established is staggering. And with the Speed Force acting up. Spurrier and Deodato have found new ways to create that momentum and lightning spark that the Flash is famous for.
The colors are interesting. Jai isn’t in a costume for this issue, which naturally dulls his appearance. But he has a green jacket on that makes him stand out. The occasional explosions of colors that emanate from Jai’s powers or from the Flash are part of what appears to overwhelm the youngster. The lettering is rather toned down from the more experimental methods, but Otsmane-Elhaou, at his least adventurous, is still incredible.
The Flash #5 balances the series out. With the last issue all about Irey, this chapter shifts to Jai and spreads the story across the family. Wally’s lack of awareness of what is happening to both of his children is massively present in both issues. The comic has excellent character development. Wally is a great and extremely loving father, which is never questioned, but his absence is also causing a rift within the family.
The last part of this book is the ultimate demonstration of what Wally would do for his family. The reality-bending parts of the comic are not the easiest to understand, and they aren’t supposed to be. But at the very core of the comic is a family, and the complications within that family can strike a pang of guilt and sadness into everyone’s heart.
The Flash #5 is available where comics are sold.
The Flash #5
At the very core of the comic is a family, and the complications within that family can strike a pang of guilt and sadness into everyone’s heart.