Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Life Story of the Flash

Written by Mark Waid & Brian Augustyn
Art by Gil Kane, Joe Stanton & Tom Palmer
Lettered by Gaspar Saladino
Colored by Lovern Kindzierski
Separations by Digital Chameleon
Cover painting by Glen Orbik

This original 96-page hardcover was one of the crowning achievements of Flash Month, although it technically came out after that celebration period ended. Regardless, this is a beautifully packaged presentation of the biography Iris Allen wrote about her late husband, Barry Allen. I'd say this book is an even split between pages of traditional comic book panels and pages filled mostly with text and a few pictures. Altogether, it's a very impressive package. Although I'm not the biggest fan of the cover. Barry's Flash logo is way too big and fake-looking.

This book is a comprehensive retelling of all the major moments in Barry Allen's life, and I highly recommend it for all Flash fans. But this blog is focused on Barry's grandson, so let's skip ahead to page 92, where we're unfortunately treated with one of the worst images of Impulse I've ever seen.

The only negative I have with this book is the uneven art, and this is biggest example of that. It looks like Impulse's hip is broken and his neck has been removed. There's no way around this — it's just an awful, awful drawing. Anyway, Iris spends a whole page recapping Impulse's origin — how he was born, grew up too fast, was taken back to the 20th century and then moved in with Max Mercury. We should all know this by now. But the really interesting part of the book is the epilogue, where Iris writes about things that haven't happened yet. Here, I will directly quote Bart's grandmother:

"I will comfort Impulse when he learns a harsh lesson about life that will cost him a friend but gain him a lifelong companion. I will watch his greatest thrill come in the form of a very special gift from his timelost mother, and I will worry the day his greatest challenge arrives in the form of his own dark twin." Spooky!

The really neat thing here, is that this book also exists in the comic book universe. After Iris secluded herself in a cabin in the woods, she spent her time writing this biography. And we'll get to see it make its rounds in the pages of The Flash and Impulse.

The Life Story of the Flash has been reprinted at least twice in paperback, and is available digitally through Comixology. Anyone curious about the pre-New 52 Barry Allen needs to check this out, even with the freaky-looking Impulse in the back.

Next time, we'll begin the publication month of December 1997 by wrapping up the Emergency Stop storyline in The Flash #132.

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