Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Jay Garrick: The Flash #4 Review


Written by: Jeremy Adams
Art by: Diego Olortegui
Colors by: Luis Guerrero
Letters by: Steve Wands
Cover art by: Jorge Corona, Sarah Stern
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: January 16, 2024

Jay Garrick: The Flash #4 sends Jay and Judy to STAR Labs Detroit to uncover why Professor Hughes was the last person Judy saw before she disappeared from Time.
Is Jay Garrick: The Flash #4 Good?

If you're going to retcon a character's origin, somebody get Jeremy Adams to teach a class because this is the right way to do it. Jay Garrick: The Flash #4 takes a pause to recount how Jay Garrick became the Flash with a retcon that alters Professor Hughes's involvement without changing any of the facts from Jay's point of view.

When last we left Jay and Judy Garrick, they borrowed Mr. Terrific's mental machine to help restore some of Jay's memories to find out how she was displaced from Time. Reliving the fateful day when Joan Garrick was kidnapped, the machine helped Judy recall that the man behind the mask of Doctor Elemental was none other than Professor Hughes, the scientist who was partly responsible for Jay acquiring his powers.

Now, Jay and Judy head to Professor Hughes's STAR Labs office where Mr. Slate, the branch manager, is waiting to hand over Professor Hughes's abandoned journals. Through an issue-long flashback, we learn Professor Hughes was obsessed with creating superpowers in normal humans. Hughes's experiments became more dangerous, leading him to "force" Jay Garrick's accident that gave him Speed powers. Unable to recreate the accident after years of trying, Hughes concluded that Jay had a latent meta gene that the accident awakened. Hughes becomes obsessed with recreating the meta-gene for himself and his mysterious benefactors.

If that sounds like a lot, it is, but Adams moves the story along at a briskly steady pace to keep the information flowing through the art and the words working together. You don't feel bogged down by walls of exposition, which is a hat tip to Adams's plotting.

What's great about Jay Garrick: The Flash #4? Adams sets up a retcon that doesn't change Jay Garrick's origin in any way that matters while setting up a new villain with close ties to Jay's history. New readers will get Dr. Elemental's motivations without a hitch and a fresh take on Jay Garrick's origin story. Longtime JSA/Flash fans will appreciate that Adams's retcon maintains the heart of Jay's origin.

What's not so great about Jay Garrick: The Flash #4? Professor Hughes's motivations are clear, but they lean towards flimsy. You can clearly see he's obsessed with (re)creating superpowers, but the source of his obsession isn't much more than "because he wants to," which comes off as one-dimensional.

How's the art? Diego Olortegui turns in a solid artistic performance. This isn't an action-heavy issue, so the visuals rely on dramatic moments, a lot of facial acting, and a fair bit of panel montages. Olortegui takes the script and makes it visually satisfying.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Jay Garrick: The Flash #4 takes a breather to recount and retcon Jay Garrick's origin story. However, Jeremy Adams pulls off the best kind of retcon by changing the facts you don't see while keeping the original story intact. Of the three Golden Age imprint titles, this one is shaping up to be the best.


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