Sunday, March 15, 2015

Flash #132

Emergency Stop Part Three: Fashion Victims

Grant Morrison & Mark Millar • Writers
Paul Ryan • Penciller
John Nyberg • Inker
Gaspar • Letterer
Tom McCraw • Colorist
Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt • Asst. Editor
Paul Kupperberg • Editor

Our cover by Steve Lightle is part of the Faces of the DC Universe event for this month. All the covers featured a closeup on the main character's face, and I think the result was pretty nice. I think it's fun to have different trends like this for the covers every now and then.

We pick up right where we left off last issue. The Suit has captured Max Mercury, beaten down Impulse and Jay Garrick, and freed a bunch of random and weird-looking super criminals, whom you've never seen before and will never see again. Wally, still suffering from two broken legs, has figured out how to create a new suit for himself made entirely out of Speed Force energy, which can prop him up and enable him to run like normal, despite his shattered bones.

Wally arrives in his new, golden suit just in the nick of time, and Jay quickly fills him in. The original Flash asks Wally to call in the JLA, but Wally says he'll only do that as a last resort. He then touches Jay and transfers some excess Speed Force energy to him, telling him to share it with Impulse while he battles the Suit. The sentient super villain costume uses Max's speed to break down a tree into a bunch of large, sharp spikes, which he launches directly at Wally. Flash simply vibrates through the spikes, and, as what happens with everything he vibrates through, they explode. Wally then gives the Suit an extra boost in speed, causing it race out of control around the world.

Jay catches up with the recovering Impulse and gives him a share of the Speed Force energy. Jay notes that the last time he moved this fast, Hitler was still alive. Impulse excitedly puts this extra speed to good use by first retrieving Jay's trademark helmet from one of the random prisoners. Impulse says, "Don't you know this hat ends up in a museum?" and tosses it back to its proper owner.

Back to the main fight, the Suit quickly recovers from its trip around the world and manages to whip up a low-level whirlwind, which slices through the legs of Wally's energy suit. Wally's broken legs give way, and he crashes on the bank of the river. His suit begins repairing itself, but the Suit is faster. So Wally tries to stall by calling out to Max, asking him to fight off the Suit. His plan works, and Max is able to make the Suit hesitate for just a second, which is more than enough time for Wally to flick a grain of sand through the Suit at super speed. This attack doesn't hurt Max, but it does create a small tear in the fabric, which Wally is able to grab hold of and quickly unravel the super villain.

Max is a bit beat up, but otherwise OK. He explains that the Suit didn't kill him because he was able to feed it Speed Force energy instead of letting it drain his own life energy. He also tells Wally that the Suit is actually an electrical field creature that was broadcast from another world and killed the original wearer of the suit and took control of it. Jay checks in with Wally and Max, saying he's already rebuilt the prison and has Impulse on cleanup duty, which does not compute with Max.

But while our heroes are busy talking, none of them notice that the entity has reformed the suit and attached it to Jay. Wally begs the Suit to release Jay and take him instead. The Suit can't resist the proposal, and releases Jay, wrapping itself around Wally. Bart then finishes putting all the prisoners back in their cells, and reunites with everyone to see Wally in terrible danger. He shouts, "I'm thinking a million things but they're all dumb! Think of something really smart, Max!"

So Max tries talking to the Suit, reminding it that Wally's legs are broken and the other speedsters can take advantage of that. Bart points out that the Suit's not listening, but that soon becomes irrelevant. Wally manages to use his vibrating trick to cause the Suit to explode and apparently trap its entity in the Speed Force. With the day finally saved, Bart congratulates Wally by saying, "Not bad for a crip." And he asks if he can keep his extra speed.

For Max' sanity, Wally denies Bart's request. All the heroes run home, but when Wally gets to his house, he finds the Mirror Master there waiting for him.

So this wasn't too bad of an issue. I've never been a fan of Wally making things explode by vibrating through them, but I did enjoy the creative use of this power here. And I thought Impulse and Max were handled well here, too. I was disappointed to learn the Suit was actually an electric entity from another world. I liked it so much better as just being a highly advanced costume that became sentient on its own. Maybe the whole entity thing would have worked better had we been given more than just a quick mention about it from Max. And although I guess you could call me a Grant Morrison fan (I love his Multiversity series), I feel like there's a time and a place for some of his wildness. I guess I should give Mark Millar some of the blame, but all of the lines about the Speed Force feel very much like Morrison. Talking about condensing pure Speed Force into three-dimensional space is just a bit too much for me.

Only one letter in Speed Reading mentions Impulse, and it brings up a pretty good point. Frequent writer Doud Ohmer, of Covington, Ky., asked why Wally didn't call in Bart, Max and Jesse for a recent adventure. This is a frequent problem with all superhero stories within a shared universe. Once it's established that a group of heroes can and will come together to face a specific threat, then it feels very strange when they don't reunite for the next, seemingly bigger threat. Even in this storyline, it felt weird that Wally didn't also include Jesse Quick, and he had to have a couple of throwaway lines about not wanting to bother the JLA. And I don't think anyone's been able to find a completely satisfactory solution to this problem. Well, let's get on with the ads now.

Meet the root of our evil. Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero for Nintendo 64 and PlayStation.

Eat. Burp. Eat. Burp. Eat. Burp. Puke! These guys know how to party. Rampage World Tour for PlayStation and Sega Saturn.

Don't be left out in the cold. Batman & Robin. Own it on video. In this case, you'd be better to stay out in the cold.

Always chillin' the turf! Always Coca-Cola.

Sigourney Weaver. Winona Ryder. Alien: Resurrection. Also starring Ron Perlman before he played a vampire in Blade II, voiced Slade on Teen Titans, and took the lead in the Hellboy movies.

He who unwraps the Twix gets both bars. It's not just safe, it's the law.

Little Red Riding Hood just wet her pants. Chequemate C-3D Imaging.

Next time, we'll return to the main series with Impulse #32.

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