After a wonderful run on The Flash, Joshua Williamson closes his tenure on not just on Barry Allen in the Flash, but on Wally West as well. Since the beginning of Rebirth, there has always been some conflict between Barry Allen and Wally West. Memories, leadership, values, they’ve all been on the line. Partnered with artist Eddy Barrows, inks from Eber Ferreira, and colors from Adriano Lucas, Joshua Williamson creates a masterful story that puts to bed all the conflict between the two Flashes in a race against The Batman Who Laughs.
Picking up from Dark Nights: Death Metal 3, The Batman Who Laughs is desperate to get the Mobius Chair from Wally. Luckily, help arrived in the form of some friendly faces: Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, and Wallace West. Together, the four speedsters try to outrun death itself. Unfortunately, even together (and with the help of a familiar equation), running won’t solve this problem, not when that’s as far as the plan goes. It doesn’t take too long for Barry and Wally to butt heads again over the best course of action.
Luckily, after a quick timeout, we come to two conclusions: Flashes don’t fight, and moving forward isn’t always the answer to our problems. See, the premise of the story is a race against death, but it was never said which direction our speedsters were headed. One thing Joshua Williamson understands about the Flash is just because they can run really fast doesn’t mean they run away from their problems. A notion Wally West certainly shares. What separates him and Barry is that while Barry would prefer to move forward and let the fight come to him, Wally has no problem running into the danger to face conflict on head-on.
What makes this issue truly a love letter to Wally West is how much Williamson understands the importance of separating him from Barry. Ever since Barry Allen returned from the dead, Wally West has been in his shadow. He’s been pushed to the side, stripped of his family, and put on a shelf to be forgotten. Tragically, one of the most important characters in DC history has to endure so much suffering, both on and off the page. All of this is flipped on its head in this wonderful issue. He isn’t in Barry’s shadow, or anyone’s. They all run together.
Wally West is about family, its who he is, and was something Mark Waid knew when he wrote his series as Flash. He formed a “Flash Family” a while back, and it’s what was a key difference between him and Barry for years. But Joshua Williamson changed this during his tenure on Flash. Barry formed a family too. And now that all water is under the bridge, isn’t it time to make one big Flash Family? Without getting into specifics, it seems that more than three flashes came to help Wally today.
Now, the story alone isn’t what made this issue a love letter to Flash fans. It can’t be stated enough how wonderful Eddy Barrows art is. He perfectly combines the attention to detail a Flash book needs with life and beauty that makes it all come together. It’s almost a nostalgic form of art that’s reminiscent of some Pre-New 52 art. On the thread of life in the story, Eber Ferreira also brings the story to life by making everyone look just as beautiful. There’s something that Ferreira does that ensures as detailed as characters are, they don’t become so defined that the foreground and background become unimaginably contrasted. Additionally, both of their detailed art styles can pop even more so through the colors by Adriano Lucas. This issue really was a super team of talent that makes this issue nothing short of perfect.