Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Flash #146

Chain Lightning, Chapter Two: Time Like a River ...

Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn Story
Paul Pelletier Pencils
Vince Russell Inks
Gaspar Saladino Letters
Tom McCraw Colors
L.A. Williams Asst. Editor
Paul Kupperberg Editor

Our cover by Steve Lightle follows the same format as the first chapter of Chain Lightning. But this time, we have a couple future Flashes in the foreground. The girl is Sela Allen, whom we'll meet in this issue, and the guy is Jace Allen, whom we saw last issue. I'm not really a big fan of the abstract, futuristic background, but whatever.

Our story picks right up where Chapter One left off, with Jesse Quick suffering at the hands of one of the future Cobalt Blues. Jace Allen is able to help her, and together they take down Cobalt Blue (I hope you don't mind if I skip over all the pseudo-science). Jesse then tells Jace about the prophecy that the blue flame will burn for a thousand years and consume two Flashes before destroying Barry Allen in the 30th century. Jesse reveals that before all the speedsters went journeying through time, they each took a shard of Cobalt Blue's gem to help them hone in on the future heroes they need to protect. Jesse breaks her shard in two and gives the other half to Jace so he can help her warn other Flashes.

Wally arrives in the 853rd century not to warn anybody, but to recruit John Fox. On the planet Mercury, John is battling a villain of pure information called Wetware. Wally helps John defeat it, then gives him a shard of the gem. Wally hasn't told anyone where he next wants to go, but he reveals his secret to John because he knows John won't try to talk him out of it. John is surprised by Wally's choice, and worried for his safety, but just as Wally hoped, John does not attempt to dissuade him.

Max Mercury arrives in the year 2231, and he is dismayed to see that Central City has basically turned into Newark, New Jersey. Max quickly finds the current Flash, who has beaten Cobalt Blue to death. This Flash recognizes Max, saying he hasn't seen him in months, but then he realizes that Max is younger than their previous meeting. For Max, this is the first time they've met, but rather than getting caught up in the time travel paradox they've just discovered, Max demands to know why this Flash went so far with Cobalt Blue. The Flash says Cobalt Blue killed his wife and crippled his daughter. Max tells this Flash that he needs to turn himself in, and the Flash readily agrees, saying his life is over, anyway.

But while they were talking, a young boy picks up Cobalt Blue's gem, and is instantly consumed by the magic and hatred it contains. This young Cobalt Blue lashes out at the Flash, and kills him with the blue flames. The boy turns on Max, who does his best to avoid the attacks and talk the kid down, to no avail. Suddenly, the red girl from the cover appears and introduces herself as Sela Allen.

We then get a quick glance at Malcolm Thawne in the present day. He's still in Wally's vibrational prison, but he has surreptitiously gained control of his gem, which is also in the basement of the Central City police station. Returning to the main action, we see Impulse rushing into his mission, hoping that he'll get to see his beloved cousin, XS. However, poor Bart is in for a disappointment. He ends up on a city in the clouds, but instead of meeting Lando Calrissian, he finds the largest Flash you'll ever see.

Bart quickly apologizes for staring at the huge Flash, who claims his sister is even bigger than him. He calls Bart Bigfoot, and asks him to help him up, which should be pretty tough for Bart, since he's no bigger than this guy's foot. And, sadly, that is the end of Impulse's involvement in this issue.

Jay Garrick didn't go nearly as far into the future as the others, and he hopes he can find the older Wally, who shouldn't be too old to be the Flash at this point. Instead, Jay runs into Wally's teenage daughter, Iris. He buys her an ice cream cone and begins to tell her about Cobalt Blue. We then see that Wally's secret location was the 25th century to meet Cobalt Blue's most notorious descendant, Eobard Thawne, aka Professor Zoom.

This issue was mostly setup, but it was still pretty exciting. Readers of Mark Waid's Kingdom Come will recognize this Iris West (although she was just a background character in that Alex Ross epic). And I love how Bart, the smallest of them all, got paired with the largest imaginable Flash. Luckily, I know they'll have more fun next issue.

I only have the digital version of this comic, so there's no letters or ads this time. Next time, we'll take a break from Chain Lightning with a pretty amazing special — Impulse: Bart Saves the Universe.

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