January 21, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Comic Review: The Flash Volume 8

The "Flash War" is not what it sounds like. Dang.

Hey, I got another five graphic novels finished, so I have another five comic reviews for this week.  Where shall I start?  How about the next trade for The Flash?  I generally enjoy the heck out of that one.

Well, the 8th volume in this Rebirth-era relaunch was subtitled Flash War as Barry Allen and Wally West may finally come to grips with who the Fastest Man Alive really is.

So yeah, a Flash War!  Barry vs Wally!  That’s what this has to be, right?  The two race around and try to stop each other for some reason?  What else could it be?

Well, not that it turns out.  See, both Barry and Wally had a Professor Zoom/Reverse Flash.  Barry’s was Eobard Thawne.  He was dealt with a few trades earlier.  Wally’s was Hunter Zoloman, a fellow who didn’t quite get speed powers so much as something that looked like speed powers.  Hunter’s thing changing heroes’ lives to make them more tragic heroes under the belief that tragedy made heroes better.  This time around, he has a slightly different plan.  Part of that involves reminding Wally he used to have two kids.  The rest involves Wally believing he can get the kids back if he breaks the Speed Force or something.  Barry knows this is a bad idea, and that this will not bring the kids he himself doesn’t really remember back.

So, the “Flash War” is really just Wally running as fast as he can around the world to bring back the kids while Barry runs after him, shouting that it doesn’t work that way.  Various other heroes show up and try to get the two to slow down because it turns out two guys circling the globe and plowing through things is bad for everyone.  And then Zolomon reveals that, surprise surprise, it wasn’t quite what he said was going on.

I have long held that the Flash is a character that works best when he’s just having lighthearted adventures, and writer Joshua Williamson got that…at first.  There is still some fun to be had here, like a group of time traveling law enforcement types who are also future versions of the Flash’s Rogues, though only Commander Cold gets any decent page time.  Another speedster returns, though not much is done with that, and Barry and Wally do eventually work together to save the day.

The problem for me is this series seems to be inventing reasons to make other speedsters hate Barry.  This is the series that went full-on with the whole “Barry is a liar” thing because he was reluctant to give out his secret identity to those closest to him.  Is there a good time to do that?  I don’t know.  But the volume ends with Kid Flash mad at Barry AGAIN, and this time it seemed kinda dumb to me.  This is also the story that leads directly into the Heroes in Crisis crossover, and I won’t be reading that any time soon.  I think it’s a good idea to show heroes need therapy, but then I heard how the story treats therapy and thought “Nope!”

The point is, this volume felt a lot like the book is, pun intended, running in place.  Barry and Wally’s argument was repetitive, Kid Flash seems like he just needed an excuse to hate Barry again, and whatever fun I got out of this one was relatively minor.  I mean, it didn’t suck, but it didn’t exactly make me wanna rush out and read the next one…even with that mysterious cliffhanger at the end involving Commander Cold’s remaining teammates.

7.5 out of 10 “Wait, you brought that guy back for just one page and did nothing with it?” moments.

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