The Flash's One Minute War may have its first tragic casualty

The Flash #790 art
The Flash #790 art (Image credit: DC)

Forgive the pun, but things just don't slow down for the Flash family. From a multiversal search for Barry Allen to the announcement of a new West baby, DC's clan of speedsters raced through 2022 (we'll stop soon) like doom was at their heels. Now, however, it appears that inevitability has finally caught up with them, in an issue heavy enough to stop them dead in their tracks.

Okay, we're done now. 

The Flash #790 cover (Image credit: DC)

The Flash #790 is written by Jeremy Adams, drawn by Roger Cruz, inked by Matt Banning and Wellington Dias, colored by Luis Guerero, and lettered by Rob Leigh. The first in a multi-part series, #790 hits stores January 10, kicking off the long-anticipated One Minute War, which will see the entire Flash family battling an alien species of speedsters called The Fraction. 

As you might have already guessed, we're going to be getting deep into SPOILERS very soon, not only for Flash #790 but, potentially, for the entire One Minute War arc. Granted, some of this will be speculation but, hey, we've been right before. With that in mind, proceed with caution.

The latest issue of Flash begins aboard a spaceship belonging to the aforementioned Fraction. The Fraction is a team of galactic colonizers, using powers akin to the Speed Force to invade and subjugate planets all across the cosmos. They do this by deploying powerful alien technology which causes time to stop for everyone in their target world.

a page from The Flash #790 (Image credit: DC)

Unless, of course, some of that world's citizens have experience in warping time.

As #790 progresses, we catch up with the various members of the Flash family as they go about balancing regular life and superherohood. The West family, for example, is hosting a barbecue, while somewhere across the world, Max Mercury tries to break past the time barrier for futures unknown. All this stops when, out of the sky, a spinning monstrosity makes its way to Earth. 

Most humans on the planet are unaware of this occurrence, trapped in a suspended flow of time as destruction reigns around them. For speedsters, though, the Fraction's invasion happens in real-time, and the heroes' first priority is to get innocent lives out of the way. But time is literally against them, and as the Fraction's weapons land, there are bound to be casualties. 

Before the alien weaponry cut through Earth's atmosphere, Barry Allen has just been proposed to by Iris West in a high-rise restaurant. Upon impact, Barry was able to rush the frozen Iris down to the street, where he believed she'd be safe. And he may have been right, had landing been the weapons' only purpose.

a page from The Flash #790 (Image credit: DC)

With the weapons in place all around the globe, the Fraction turned on the massive machines of death, activating pinwheeling beams of gargantuan size and leveling entire city blocks in their midst. Unfortunately, no speedster is fast enough to avoid this, including Barry, who scans the area for Iris and balks at what he sees. Sticking out of some rubble is her unmoving hand.

Barry tears through the debris in a fraction of a fraction of a second, but all the speed in the world doesn't change what he finds there. Flash #790 ends on a note as hard-hitting as the falling technology of the Fraction, with Barry clutching Iris's apparently lifeless body.

a page from The Flash #790 (Image credit: DC)

Despite the heaviness with which this issue ends, there are bound to be some fans who doubt the impact of Iris's apparent death. Admittedly, superhero comics don't keep characters dead for long, but if our guesses are correct, the Flash family will have to deal with Iris being gone for at least the foreseeable future. Put on your speculating hats, readers, it's time to theorize.

Though Iris's passing will shock anyone reading #790, we have been warned for months that the One Minute War will have serious casualties. After all, the solicitation for February's Flash #793 describes the "deadly impact of the Fraction's arrival." But perhaps the best evidence that Iris will be gone for a while comes from the cover of #795, which we've included here.

The Flash #795 cover (Image credit: DC)

As you can see, the image features Wally and Linda in the background, clearly in mourning. And in the foreground is Barry, looking despairingly at a tiny object in his right hand. Zoom in and be prepared for a heartbreak: he appears to be holding the engagement ring Iris was about to give him at the restaurant, before the impact of the Fraction's weapons.

Of course, we'll have to wait until the next issue of the Flash to learn more about Iris's apparent death, and hey, maybe we're 100% wrong! Fortunately, none of us will have to wait too long to find out; the Flash title hits comic shelves not once, but twice a month for the next few issues, with #791 dropping January 17. Until then, keep an eye on Newsarama; we'll be sure to have Flash updates in no time.

‘No time,' get it? Alright, now we're actually done.

Want more action and adventure from comics' speediest, snappiest saviors? Check out Newsarama's list of the best Flash stories of all time

Grant DeArmitt
Freelance writer

Grant DeArmitt is a NYC-based writer and editor who regularly contributes bylines to Newsarama. Grant is a horror aficionado, writing about the genre for Nightmare on Film Street, and has written features, reviews, and interviews for the likes of PanelxPanel and Monkeys Fighting Robots. Grant says he probably isn't a werewolf… but you can never be too careful.