Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Flash #101

Going the Distance

The Flash team of
Mark Waid, Story
Jose Marzan, Jr., Inks
Gaspar, Letterer
Tom McCraw, Colorist
Alisande Morales • Assistant Editor
Ruben Diaz • Associate Editor
And Brian Augustyn, Editor proudly welcomes
Oscar Jimenez, Penciller!

This is the first Flash issue I've done where Mike Wieringo did not do the cover, and it shows. I am glad that the new penciller, Oscar Jimenez, got to do it so we could know what the inside pages would look like. But I consider Jimenez to be just a step below Wieringo, and maybe half a step below Salvador Larrocca.

Our story begins with the cleanup of Keystone City after the battle with Kobra. This takes place before Impulse #1, so Bart is still around to help with the rebuilding. We see Wally first rebuild a synagog, and he has a brief conversation with Max Mercury about his trip to the Speed Force and his increased power. Max warns him that he's no longer on the top rung, but at the bottom of a whole new ladder. Wally then pays a quick visit to his girlfriend, Linda, who surprises Wally by calling him a god. After his new burst of power, Linda is quite frightened and intimidated by Wally since he can do things she can't even comprehend.

Just as he helped rebuild Metropolis, Bart decides to try his hand at masonry again. I'd like to think he did a better job of laying the bricks evenly, but this time, he did it too fast, and the mortar didn't have a chance to set up. The whole wall quickly collapses, and Bart is whisked away by a speedster. Believing it to be Wally, Bart immediately begins yelling and cussing him out, only to see that it was Jesse Quick, back to wearing her old costume. She calls Wally a puppeteer, and he arrives right on cue, only to get the cold shoulder from the two younger speedsters.

Wally pulls Jesse aside and apologizes for lying to her, saying his ultimate goal was to make Bart act more responsible. Bart then zooms by them, rolling a big concrete tube down the street by running on the top of it backwards. Jesse admits that Wally's plan did work for a bit, but now that everything's back to normal, Bart has reverted back to his more carefree ways.

Bart begins welding steel beams at the top of a building, and in his rush, he almost knocks Wally off. Wally chews him out for not being more careful, and says he thought Bart should have learned that lesson after he was nearly killed by Kobra. Bart simply answers, "I got better." Wally then tries to apologize to Bart for lying, but he can't stop himself from criticizing Bart even during an apology. The two glare at each other for a bit, and Wally admits that their mentor-student relationship isn't working. Bart says he isn't listening, so Wally decides to go talk to Iris, who has suddenly disappeared.

As Wally hunts for her, he decides to try vibrating through objects — something he's never really been able to do. This time, he accomplishes it, but anything he vibrates through instantly explodes. Wally eventually finds Iris standing outside the home of her adoptive father, Ira West. Ever the Looney Tunes fan, Iris is wearing a Sylvester and Tweety shirt today, and is afraid to shock her elderly father with the news that she isn't dead. After talking to Wally, she decides to hold off on talking to her father for a while.

In the meantime, Iris has decided to remove herself from the Flash family and live in isolation for fear of revealing something from the future. She tells Wally she only spent the past two weeks with him because she was worried that he wouldn't come back. But now that he is back, she knows what will happen and doesn't want to risk changing anything. Wally offers to try to take her back to the 30th century, but she doesn't want to risk that, either. As she walks away, Wally asks about Bart, and Iris says Max will take him in. She knows this is Bart's destiny, and she doesn't dare stand in the way of his path of greatness. With that, Iris leaves, saying she'll probably write a book about her life with Barry Allen. And unknown to her, Ira did see her through his window.

Wally returns to rebuilding the city, and through some experimentation, he learns he can lend his speed to objects already in motion. This inspires him to reconnect with Linda by running with her. With his new power, she is able to keep up with him and experience what it's like to be the Flash.

This was a nice, house-cleaning issue that is necessary to help decompress after big events like Terminal Velocity. I liked the theme of repair. Flash needed to repair his city and his relationships with Jesse, Bart and Linda. However, I do wish this issue could have come out before Impulse #1. I also likewise wish we could have seen Wally tell Bart that he has to go live with Max. Heck, I would have loved an entire issue devoted to this conversation and the move to Manchester.

In Speed Reading, B. Varkentine, of San Jose, Calif., says he was happy to see Bart finally get it through his thick skull that sometimes a plan of attack is required. He also speculates that Bart will not return to the 30th century since he and Iris are both wanted by the Science Police.

Jeff DeMos, of New York City, N.Y., notes that Bart's VR impulsiveness and arrogance is becoming overshadowed by our sympathy for a young man who doesn't know what trees and flowers are. Jeff says that Bart's obnoxiousness is defensive, and underneath is a scared kid.

Joey Marchese, of Clark, N.J., speculates that this series was renamed from The Flash to simply Flash in order to imply that anyone else could be a Flash. If you'll note, now that Terminal Velocity is over, the series is again called The Flash, which I think signifies that Wally West is the one and only Flash. Joey also says that Impulse and Jesse Quick make a good team, but Jesse wouldn't be able to handle a solo title on her own.

William Brackeen, of Jonesboro, Ark., quotes Advance Comics as saying Jesse will be a supporting character on Impulse. But this rumor was false, as Brian Augustyn points out in his reply.

There aren't any new ads in this issue, so we'll end our journey here and reconvene for Impulse #2.


  1. "Bart then zooms by them, rolling a big concrete tube down the street by running on the top of it backwards."

    I don't know why, but I always imagine this panel with ten-pin bowling sound effects (complete with strike).

    1. I love it! This would have been especially great in an Impulse cartoon.