Friday, April 11, 2014

Flash #94

Reckless Youth Chapter Three: Just Do It!

Mark Waid Story
Carlos Pacheco Guest Pencils
Wayne Faucher and Jose Marzan Jr. Inks
Kevin Cunningham Letterer
Gina Going Colorist
Ruben Diaz Assistant Editor
Brian Augustyn Editor

Once again Carlos Pacheco is filling in for Mike Wieringo, who did draw this cover with Jose Marzan Jr. Sadly, there's no Bart on it, but it is a pretty striking image of Flash caught in a death trap right before he got caught up in the Zero Hour event.

Last issue ended with Kobra's lieutenant teleporting away from Wally's house and Bart chasing after him at full speed. But instead of crashing into the wall, Bart just disappeared. Wally then realizes that Bart inadvertently vibrated through the wall, so he runs outside to catch the frightened kid who has no idea how or what just happened.

Once Wally helps Bart calm down, he returns the conversation to Kobra. Argus, who has awaken, explains that Kobra is a military tactician bent on global domination with limitless resources and tens of thousands of followers. Argus then takes off to find out more about Kobra, and Bart finally succumbs to his exhaustion and falls asleep.

Wally then pours Iris a cup of tea, and they briefly discuss their families and how much she knows about the future. Wally then asks her if she knows who came to visit him when he was a kid to give him some words of encouragement when he most needed it. But Iris doesn't know what he's talking about. Bart then wakes up from his nap and starts eating everything in sight and complaining that he's bored because there aren't any holovisions, omnicoms or matter converters. Iris and Linda both point out that Bart is acting just like Wally did at that age, except Wally can't vibrate through walls. Bart's very excited to learn that he can do something the Flash can't do, and I'm rather perplexed that the Flash lacks this ability. I thought the ability to vibrate through objects was essential for somebody who can run around the world in a couple of seconds. When he ran to Spain a couple of issues ago, did he have to meticulously dodge every building and tree along the way?

Iris reminds Wally that Bart is so impulsive because the only life he has ever known has been in a virtual reality, and he still sees everything as a game. We get another shot of Bart growing up in that simulator, and it made me think that Bart's suit must be able to grow with Bart. We've never seen him wear anything else, and it makes sense that 30th century technology would be able to make something to adapt to the rapidly aging Bart. Anyway, Iris begs Wally to teach Bart how to recognize danger and soon. She admits she doesn't know everything about the future because of a mysterious, destructive force messing up the time stream — the same force that separated Iris and Bart on their journey back to 1994. As she tells this to Wally, nobody notices Max Mercury eavesdropping from outside.

Argus then calls Linda and tells her he's connected Kobra to an old textile factory. Wally takes off to check it out, telling Bart to stay home. He soon discovers the factory is actually just a hologram covering up a huge hydroelectric plant/secret base crawling with Kobra soldiers. Wally wanted to just silently observe, but his plans are ruined when Bart suddenly shows up and starts beating up the ninjas. Wally's forced to help Bart fight the bad guys, and they begin looking for the lieutenant. Instead, they find themselves in death trap set by Abra Kadabra, who is an old Flash rogue with a magician motif. But Kadabra is actually from the 64th century, and passes off his advanced technology as magic.

Abra Kadabra has gotten his hands on an industrial laser beam, which he is reflecting off a bunch of mirrors lining the walls, floor and ceiling of the room (just like on the cover). To save Bart, Wally lifts the 14-year-old boy over his head and throws him through the wall — luckily Bart instinctively vibrated through it. Kadabra then explains that he's not working with Kobra — he just stumbled across their base after he was nearly killed during his last fight with the Flash, and he decided to hide and wait for him to return. But before Kadabra can exact his revenge, he and the Flash suddenly find themselves in the 64th century, face to face with Waverider. Waverider is a rather ambiguous gold guy with flaming hair and rainbows. But most importantly, he's a powerful time traveler, which makes him DC's go-to guy for continuity-altering events like Zero Hour.

So that was another masterful issue by Mark Waid. Bart, who still isn't officially called Impulse, is acting plenty impulsive, and I quite enjoy it. Things with Kobra continue to heat up, and we got to see a classic Flash rogue. Sadly, the art in this issue was the weakest it's been so far. It wasn't bad, but a little on the sloppy side. Pacheco's pencils needed two inkers, and Gina Going made quite a few coloring mistakes. Wally's hair went from yellow to orange several times on the same page, and Bart once looked like he was wearing a sleeveless shirt. But those minor quibbles don't detract from the excitement of Bart coming into his own as a full-fledged character and the lead-in to Zero Hour. I am very impressed with how seamlessly Waid was able to set up and transition into this major crossover. He started dropping hints about it in issue #91, and he made Flash's trip to the 64th century feel very natural.

Next time, before we can start Zero Hour, Bart has to make a cameo appearance in New Titans #114.

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