Friday, August 14, 2009

Flash - oh oh - he's the saviour of the universe

Dum de dum dum.

I bought some Flash trades the other week so will share my thoughts with you all. I will also mention Wonder Woman #34 and JLA Year One.

The Flash, the Fastest Man Alive: Lightning in a Bottle
Yup, it's the Bart Allen Flash. I've been meaning to get this for ages but my shop didn't have it on the shelf and I was loathe to commit to spending more money. Then I saw it in another shop and just thought the hell with it, let's buy.

I don't care what anyone says I like this run. Bart may be all grown up and a bit darker but he's still got that innocence and naivety about him. This trade deals with Bart's feelings towards taking up the mantle of the Flash, given all that has happened during the crisis. He has a lot of nightmares, a lot of friends in danger moments, a true asshole of a flatmate and a lot of support from Jay, Joan and STAR labs.

The art changes quite a lot, which is a pity, because issue #3 is absolutely stunning and now I wish the whole run was done the same way. HeartBart uses a couple of images from this issue on their banner. To be fair, it's not just number 3's art which is great though. The inker for issue #1 is also pretty fabulous and does a brilliant Jay Garrick.

If you're a Bart fan you should buy this. If you're an art fan you should buy this. I don't think anything I say will convince casual fans or Wally fans to try it. The story isn't terrible, I don't get why everyone hates on it so much. Is it because it's not cheerful and jolly? Do people object to Bart being used this way? I object to the end of the run, but that doesn't make it a bad story.

The Flash: the Human Race
Upon my joy at finding the above Flash trade in stock I also noticed a copy of The Human Race on the shelves. I dithered for a few moments then decided i'd get this too. I was then
served by the least likely people to be working in a comic shop ever. It was very bizzare, but that's another story. Onwards..
This trade is about Wally outrunning death, or the Black Flash as we come to know him. It starts with some intergalactic giant gamblers coming to earth and insisting that a representative of ol' Terra run an everlasting race, or earth will be destroyed.
Wally signs up to the task then finds he is being forced to run against his childhood imaginary friend, Krakkl, who lives in Radioland. I won't spoil the story as I'm sure you all can guess the end result. It's the details and how they get there that makes this so interesting. To whet your appetite, I shall say that there are entire worlds out there who are running, nonstop.

The second half of the trade deals with the Black Flash actually stalking Wally. He doesn't get him, but there are some casualties along the way. There's a big deal made about Wally and Linda's relationship and Wally grows a terrible little goatee.

The final story is Flash of Two Worlds, and is told from the point of view of a young Titan. We find out about a bridge that goes nowhere and see how Jay and Barry first met. I believe this is a retelling of a silver age book that detailed the first cross universe meeting of the Flashes. But I could be wrong.

JLA Year One
One of my favourite trades. Written by Mark Waid this has some really great characterisation. Aquaman is shown adjusting to surface life, and mumbling because sound doesn't carry so well over water. Dinah grows into herself as a hero and a person and finds out some uncomfortable truths about the JSA. Barry is calm, laid back and torn between a desire to do good and not screw things up with Iris. Hal is an arrogant womaniser who manages to calm down and work well with others. J'onn J'onzz is oh so lonely and mistrustful of earth folks, but also truly heroic.

There are a few cameos by Green Arrow, Superman and Batman but this book is very much about the greatest group of heroes and all the other 'stars' of the DCU recognise their combined worth and efforts. There is of course an apocalyptic battle at the end, which is pretty good fun.

Over all this is a really good intro to the heroes and the JLA. Shame it's not canon anymore.

Wonder Woman 34
So, I finally bought a Gail Simone penned Wonder Woman issue. I think Simone is a good writer, but I find her very wordy and my experience of BoP is that she works best when read as trades, not as individual issues. However, this issue had Black Canary in. So I bought it.

I liked it. I still find Simone wordy (and that's not at all a criticism) and so it takes me twice as long to read her books. She can however write Dinah very well. Hell, she gives each character a distinct character. God, I shouldn't be impressed by that, it should be the standard, but then again, there's a lot of hack writers out there. Dinah was quite clearly having fun playing dress up with Diana. I believe that Dinah has wanted to do that for a long time and was waiting to see how far she could push it. There were some nice world building bits about Themysciran opera and the indignities of being carried fireman style over the ocean thrown in.

I will definitely be buying the next issue. I think y'all should do. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how it should be done.
But maybe in a less wordy manner.


wiec? said...

oh i love Gail Simone's writing. her Secret Six series is one of my favorites. wordy yes but her humorous dialoge and story pacing is beyond great.

my advise is buy the issues as they come out put them in a drawer unread and save them. wait until you have an 3 or 4 issues and an hour or 2 of free time on a rainy day and read them one after the other. that's the way i do it.

i never read her BoP stuff. i should find the trades.

Saranga said...

I plan to get the Simone Wonder Woman trades when they come out in paperback and I can afford it.
It's cheaper and takes up less space than buying the monthly. And easier to read on the train.

wiec? said...

you're right it is cheaper. but i get so many titles by trade that certain things i just need to buy as they come out. this way i can kill 2o minutes and put the issue away.

and i have a lot of catching up to do reading the Blackest Night stuff that came out this week. haven't had a chance to yet. i'll read your reviews after. don't want to spoil it.

Saranga said...

You're in for a treat!