WARNING: The following article contains spoilers from The Flash #777, on sale now.
Irey West and her brother Jai have been slowly readjusting to normal life now that they have returned to the DC Universe proper. In The Flash #777 (by Jeremy Adams, Fernando Pasarin, Matt Ryan, Jeremy Cox, Rob Leigh) Irey recently befriended another girl named Maxine Baker, the daughter of Animal Man. While this may seem like a positive thing, Maxine's behavior has been a negative influence on Irey. What's more, Maxine's own past is riddled with turmoil due to her very strong connection to the Red.
Irey recently met Maxine at school. The two bonded over their shared hair color and the fact that they were both new. However, Maxine exhibits untrustworthy behavior that Irey, unfortunately, seems to admire. For example, Maxine convinced Irey to help her try to steal ice cream from the school cafeteria. When they were caught, Maxine told a lie to get them both out of trouble. Despite clearly being wrong it only reinforced Irey's admiration for her new friend.
This bad behavior seems to inspire Irey to disobey her parents. When she wanted to sleep over at Maxine's house, the Flash's daughter was more than eager to agree. Due to it being a school night, the idea was shut down. This did not deter Irey, though. She snuck out at night, using her powers to evade her mother's notice so she could meet up with Maxine.
This is incredibly concerning considering who Maxine Baker is. She was first introduced in Animal Man #1 (by Grant Morrison). As the daughter of the hero Animal Man, Maxine possesses a similar kind of lineage to Irey, whose father is the Flash. In fact, the two are extremely similar in that regard as Maxine also exhibits the potential to surpass her father in terms of raw power. Maxine herself has an incredibly strong connection to the Red, the force that connects all animal life in the universe. She was intended to be its avatar, making her potentially one of the most powerful beings on the planet.
However, she has had repeated encounters with the Red's natural opposite: the Rot, the force of Death. It has repeatedly tried to corrupt or kill her. While Maxine managed to evade danger thus far, it is concerning that her behavior seems so negative. She's already placing undo influence on Irey, making her act out in ways she normally wouldn't. Now though, Maxine could potentially draw Irey into an altogether different kind of danger that not even the Flash is prepared for. The young girl already seems to want to share her true nature with Irey, but her new friend might not be prepared for all the good and bad that comes with that.
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