13 Jun 2012

Wednesday New Comic Day - the Flash

The 'new 52' Flash by Manapul
I loved the Flash. Not Barry Allen, he was too old for me. I mean Wally West. The first apprentice to break into the inner circle of the Justice League and graduate to equal status. He had a wife, ended with kids... Wally was special. He was the Flash for so long, yet the looming shadow of Barry Allen was a great back-story and motivator for Wally in his early days.

I liked Wally

Mark Waid introduced the idea of the 'Speed Force' and made Wally's connection to it special back in the 90's. Since then the Speed Force has stayed with the Flash mythos. If you care the Speed Force is an energy source that the various speedsters of the DC universe tap into in order to go really fast. If you can break the 'speed barrier' you can be anywhere at anytime or omnipresent for the fans of the English language.



Allen was the ghost of the past. The hero placed on a pedestal. Set up to always drive Wally forward. Jay (the golden age, original Flash) offered Obi-Wan advice to those that would take up his title. Later the Speed family expanded with Jonny and later his daughter Jessy Quick. Max Mercury 'the yoda' of the group, who understood the speed force better then anyone else. Bart Allen, the Impulse, named as such by Batman, as a warning to the Flash and the rest of the League. (per Impulse #50)

I loved Bart.

Not in the way I love my wife, but in the same way I love my dog. You twisted sick fucks!

Bart was the warning and the final call for Wally to grow up. He had his sidekick, he was responsible for his own family much like Batman had Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, and etc. No longer in the shadow of Barry but now truly the Flash by his own deeds. Bart's single synapse weakness and picture though bubbles made the series so much fun to read and provided great character for the young easy going lad. Humbros did a great job with the art in that series. The stories were great, yet... something happened after the last 'good' Flash cross over; Dead Heat... Impulse slowed down and got serious.

Impulse was changed, growing up to become the Kid Flash and later transformed into the Flash after Wally left. DC was grasping at reaching in their old bag of tricks and nostalgia to garner sales, the Impulse identity was cut free. Imagination was fired once again. I stopped reading about Impulse. It was dumb now. Impulse was unique and evidence that DC was willing to make new great ideas... Kid Flash proved all of those new faithful were dumb for believing. Bart's time as the Flash was cut short by getting killed off due to poor readership and lack lustre story telling. Wally to come back and I left the character. They tried to do more with Wally, but the brazen disregard to follow up and put their best foot forward with such an iconic character in their roster made me walk away.

Then the gentile fine sir who brought back Hal Jorden as the Green Lantern in the tactfully done Green Lantern Rebirth, Geoff Johns did the same with the Flash. This is black mark on the man's record with in my eyes. It was done well, but it wasn't needed. It's that waste that forces me to look at the creative success of Johns only to squint and look disapointed not at him but at DC for wasting his time. Barry Allen was not needed to fix the Flash, writers and DC comics editorial staff had to fix their mess. Instead Johns was given the opportunity to sort out the shit pile that had become of the Crimson Racer. It was a waste of an event, made more pointless by the 'new 52' reboot.

Yet...

New 52, has a great set of Flash stories. Barry Allen is done, well and Flash was reset. Harder them most of the other characters, with larger changes to his timeline and the rest of the Flash family gone missing. I'm going to ignore Kid Flash in the Titans book, yet I'll garner a peek here and there due to Mr. Booth when I get some time, but the urge otherwise is lacking. Flash, Barry Allen, is modern and quick and fun to read. So far for me the favourite of the 'New 52' books with its changes and redux style.

So let's look at Flash numbers 1 through 8.

--Art--
Buccellato and Manapul worked both ends of this book. Ironman football, and now Ironman comics have not been successful since the days of Image comics. When the industry expected late prints, flashy art and numerous collectors' first issue. Alas these gents do it and they do it right.

I love the splash of colour Buccellato brings. The new costume is well used, the lighting running along the 'new 52' armour lines, like some sort of aerodynamic flow for the lighting trail. Plus the way the suit comes on is very nice, even if you wonder where the hell a CSI technician got the fancy sci-fi piece of gear. Awe well, it's a comic book about a guy running really fast who's best super hero buddy is a space cop with a magic ring and green flashlight suit.

--Story--
Barry Allen is done well. The pacing is done so well readers will find the overarching story not as slow as it really is. The secondary characters are becoming very well defined getting a lot of the attention. This shows evidence that the focus of the Flash comics during this tenure of owners will be on relationships, community and human aspects. The first story arc is somewhat odd in expectation but a nice refreshing twist to the Barry Allen history to establish things in this new Flash world. Buccellato and Manapul have a hard task ahead of them and they are taking advantage of the blank canvas with the characters. They have to start from scratch; they need to build a foundation for the rest of the series for the long term and include it within big picture of the DC universe.

I'm so glad they kept the Speed Force in the mythos. That explanation to the source of the Flash's super speed make the idea of a guy running fast less dumb and more of a source of collected possibilities. His unique powers of phasing through objects and running on water seem less simpleton and more like practiced skill sets with his pretty basic power.

--Rate--

Eh, 4 ... pause... BINGO! (use Canadian accent)

Flash (#1-8) so well paced, with great art and the story has some good goes with the characters makes it beyond what I was expecting. I still feel raw about all the continuity shifting and the major treatment Flash has received. Makes sense with the Flash being the Catalyst for the 'new 52' but still I wanted more. There is something missing, and while I can't tell you what that something is, I know it's not there.

So far I like Batman better, a great book and brilliant in every way. Flash is what I buy every month without waiting... the best does not always need to be the favourite. Flash has possibility; so far the hands that Barry Allen has been placed in are treating him well. Possibility when touched upon is fantastic. The touch so far is gentile; I can't wait for the foreplay to end.

Dozer's Ratings
1 - Failed expected standard - Avoid, protect yourself from it
2 - Below expected standard - Borrow
3 - Met expected standard - Borrow or Buy if you're a fan
4 - Above expected standard - Buy
5 - Exceeded expected standard - Must Buy