Thursday, July 10, 2014

Flash #100

Terminal Velocity: Overdrive The Quick and the Dead

The long anticipated centennial celebration, presented by:
Mark Waid, Writer
Salvador Larrocca, Penciller (pgs. 1-17, 22, 34)
Sergio Borjas, Inker (pgs. 1-17, 22, 34)
Carlos Pacheco, Layouts (pgs. 18-21, 23-33, 35-38)
Oscar Jimenez, Finished Penciller (pgs. 18-21, 23-33, 35-38)
Jose Marzan, Jr., Inker (pgs. 18-21, 23-33, 35-38)
Tom McCraw, Colorist
Gaspar, Letterer
Ali Morales, Asst. Editor
Ruben Diaz, Assoc. Editor
Brian Augustyn, Editor

The cover is by Mike Wieringo and Jose Marzan Jr. From left, we have Impulse, beat up, but on his feet, Max Mercury, somehow reunited with everybody, Linda Park, at wit's end with the disappearance of her boyfriend, and Jay Garrick, who had sat out the past couple of issues to recover his energy. Our heroes are surrounding a crumbling statue of Wally West in the midst of the destruction caused by Kobra. It's a really cool and colorful cover. And there's an alternate cover with a black background and big silver letters saying, "The Quick and the Dead," with a small red Flash figure in front. You really can't go wrong with either one, but my favorite has Impulse on it.

Our story begins with our heroes in a rather desperate situation. Linda, Pied Piper and Iris Allen are huddled around Bart Allen, who is still knocked out after getting blasted with a flamethrower and falling off a building. And Keystone City lies in ruins thanks to the earthquake Kobra has caused to power his forces across the nation. Iris, who knows a thing or two about speedsters, explains that Bart's heat-shield aura and vibrations protected him from the worst of Kobra's attack, but it'll still take a few hours before Bart is fully healed. So Linda turns to Hartley Rathaway to construct a device to take down Kobra.

We then see Kobra initiate Project Morpheus, which uses a satellite to send limitless power to his sleeper agents across America. And we see these Kobra soldiers battling Batman and Robin in Gotham City and Steel in Washington, D.C. Five minutes later, Hartley has a functioning sonic wave transformer that amplifies Bart's vibrations. The injured Bart is still determined to prove he's not a failure, and he gives Hartley's machine enough power to destroy Kobra's base. But only the building falls down, leaving the essential machinery surviving.

Meanwhile, Jay Garrick has been evacuating a collapsing hospital. But he soon collapses from exhaustion. The injured Jesse Quick helps him, and, using a crutch to stay steady, heads out toward the battlefield. And we see that Kobra's forces are battling Hawkman in Chicago and Green Lantern in New York.

Kobra and his men emerge from their collapsed building very angry. They quickly knock out Bart again and destroy Hartley's machine. Jesse then arrives and takes out a few Kobra goons. Linda picks up one of their guns and vows to go after Kobra herself, saying, "Wally's not the only one going out in a blaze of glory tonight ..."

We then cut out to the edge of the city, where Kobra's force field is preventing anyone from entering or leaving the city. The National Guard has shown up, led by General Augustyn (possibly named after editor Brian Augustyn). Max Mercury finally gets an idea, vibrating the ground enough to create a large tunnel under the force field. As dozens of people use the tunnel to escape, Max rushes through it to rejoin our heroes.

Linda, meanwhile, is in the middle of a big shootout with Kobra's forces. But Hartley gets knocked out, and Jesse falls soon after, leaving an increasingly deranged Linda alone. Kobra then triggers the final earthquake, and teleports all his forces away while he stays behind to take care of Linda personally. Meanwhile, Kobra's goons continue to wreak havoc across the nation, even overwhelming Superman in Metropolis with sheer numbers.

It doesn't take long for Kobra to disarm and corner Linda. And as he moves in for the kill, lightning strikes in the background. Linda's Flash ring begins to glow, as do Jay, Jesse and Bart. Suddenly, in a burst of light, Wally appears in front of Linda. He's pure energy once again, but is able to quickly punch Kobra so hard and fast that he goes flying out the city. Max catches Kobra, and removes his teleportation belt before he can escape. Wally doesn't say anything to Linda and rushes past Jesse, healing her leg, and heads straight for Kobra's machine. Wally destroys it in a fiery explosion and is seen no more.

Linda begins screaming for Wally, but Max holds her back, saying there's no sign of Wally. Bart asks what they did see, and Max speculates that they either hallucinated Wally's return or perhaps he was given one last moment to set things right. We then see all the Kobra goons lose their power and are quickly defeated by the various heroes across the nation.

Jesse tells the others how her leg was healed, and Bart confirms that he felt like they were bathed in some energy, or tapped into something primal. As the speedsters discuss what happened and what they should do without Wally, Linda is overcome with grief and runs away from the group. And she runs right into Wally, who gives her a big kiss. He then explains that he did go to the Speed Force and gained new powers that will take him some time to fully understand. He describes the experience like looking at the face of God, and Linda asks him why he left heaven. Wally simply says, "You weren't there."

Whew! Speed Reading begins with a note from Brian Augustyn telling us to take a deep, cleansing breath, and I definitely needed to after reading this issue. What an amazing ride Terminal Velocity was. This story is historically significant for introducing the concept of the Speed Force into the Flash mythology. And even if you set that aspect aside, it was still an amazing, exciting story involving the Flash family. And this was very important for the development of Bart's character, too. He has now proven that he can be trusted enough to have some solo adventures — with some supervision, of course.

As a whole, Terminal Velocity works very well. Of course, I do have my few little nitpicks. Mainly, I was sad that Argus and Johnny Quick didn't return for the finale since they were fairly important earlier in the story. I also got lost a few times with the action in this issue, which I mostly blame on the three different pencillers required to get this extra-long comic out on time. But I absolutely loved everything else, including the cameos by members of the Justice League. It was everything I'd expect from a #100 issue.

Brian's Blab-O-Mat mainly just thanks everyone who's worked on Terminal Velocity, and he calls it some of the best writing Mark Waid has done in his career. Augustyn then announces that Oscar Jimenez will be the new penciller but the rest of the team will remain the same.

B. Varkentine, of San Jose, Calif., says he enjoyed watching Impulse's lesson with the other speedsters, and he asks that Waid will be the writer on the new Impulse series.

Sadly, that was the only letter to mention Impulse, as these letters came out after issue #97, which had very little Impulse in it. There was a lot of love and excitement for Max Mercury, and a lot of displeasure and worry about Jesse Quick becoming the new Flash. Now on to the ads.

Superman #100. The Death of Clark Kent. Smashing Beyond! Jurgens, Breeding and Rubinstein.

More power than you can imagine ... more power than he can control. Damage. Tom Joyner, Bill Marimon, Don Hillsman.

Next time, it's finally here! After 10 months and appearances in 30 issues, Impulse finally has his own title! Join me for one of the most significant moments in Bart Allen's history with Impulse #1!

No comments:

Post a Comment