DC Comics celebrates another milestone this week, as the publisher celebrates more than 75 years of The Flash with the 700th issue of the character in comic books.
The Flash 39
Written by Joshua Williamson
Pencils and Inks by Carmine Di Giandomenico
We’re getting a few different celebrations for various character landmarks the last few months, like the 800th issue of SUPERMAN, and now The Flash gets a Marvel Legacy-type one-time renumbering to celebrate 700 issues of The Flash over five volumes since Jay Garrick’s creation back on 1940. The legacy issue of The Flash does a better job of noting the importance of the event, with an in-story reason to allow Barry Allen to recap some of what’s been going on with the character, going back a few years.
Once Reverse Flash told Iris West that Barry Allen is the Flash, having been mentoring her nephew, Wally (no, not that one, the other one), things have been tense between the two, just as they were getting close to building a relationship together. Here, she finally seems willing to listen to Barry, who she demands tell her everything about what it’s like being the Fastest Man Alive. And even though Barry promised to tell Iris everything, he realizes that some of what’s happened over the years – Flashpoint, mainly – may make him sound a little bit crazy. But he does try to open up a bit more about his life as The Flash, even bringing her up to the Justice League Watchtower.
The Watchtower is really getting a bunch of VISITORS lately. Security must not be as tight as we think.
As Barry tries to tell Iris the basics of being the Flash, she scoffs, telling him that she’s a journalist and that she’s figured out enough of it on her own. Her skills as a journalist are contradicted within a couple pages, when Barry says he doesn’t know how to tell Iris about her OTHER nephew named Wally. At this point, the Titans, alongside the original Wally West, have been on several high-profile missions. And Iris never bothers to ask, “Hey, who’s the OTHER guy in the Flash outfit? The one with the red hair that kind of looks like he’s related to me?”
All this talk is really just a set-up for the next story arc, as the issue ends with all of Central City frozen in time and The Flash coming face-to-face with his opponent for the next arc – Gorilla Grodd. That would have been an amazing moment, especially the way Williamson built up the final few pages, had the reveal not been ruined by Grodd’s presence on the actual cover (not the 700th issue variant above). Grodd wants in on the Speed Force, and he’s going to take Barry down in order to get it throughout the next few months.
A fun issue from The Flash creative team. I just wish the publisher wouldn’t give away key story moments on the cover, especially when they had a perfectly good variant to celebrate the 700th legacy issue to try and draw in readers.