Friday, November 20, 2015

The Flash #147

Chain Lightning, Chapter Three: Shooting the Rapids

Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn, Story
Paul Pelletier, Pencils
Vince Russell, Inks
Gaspar, Letters
Tom McCraw, Colors
Frank Berrios, Assistant Editor
Joey Cavalieri, Editor

When editor Paul Kupperberg left, he took L.A. Williams with him, giving The Flash a sort of "whitewash" on the editorial front right in the middle of a big event. But I'm sure Waid, Augustyn and company handled this transition just fine. Our cover is by Steve Lightle once again, keeping to the trend of Chain Lightning. In the foreground is Eobard Thawne, aka Professor Zoom, running alongside a shocked Impulse, the current Flash, Wally West, and some future robotic Flash. The cover looks pretty nice, but I still would have preferred to have Pelletier draw it — I really like his style.

This issue begins with a recap page that I'm sure will do a much better job than I ever could, so here's what it says.

What Has Gone Before: Malcolm Thawne — twisted twin brother of Flash's predecessor, Barry Allen — has sworn vengeance against all Flashes past and present using a fiery gem of frightening and unpredictable power. According to its mystic prophecy, the gem's sinister magic will span the next thousand years and doom the entire Allen legacy, consuming two Flashes before finally slaying Barry Allen during his time in the 30th century.

To prevent tragedy, Flash has sent himself, Jay Garrick, Max Mercury, Impulse, and Jesse Quick through time to save all future Flashes from the Allen-Thawne feud and to spread the message of danger.

In order to defeat the Cobalt Blue of the 25th century, however, Flash must first face another threat: the psychotic Professor Zoom, Barry Allen's archenemy ...

And that takes us right to Wally's encounter with Eobard Thawne. But to Wally's surprise, Eobard has been recruited by the police to help them battle the Cobalt Blue of this era, who is actually Chardaq Allen. Chardaq was the Flash, but he lost his powers during a battle with Savitrix. Later, he began studying the Cobalt Gem in an attempt to better understand the Allen-Thawne feud. But Chardaq got too close and was consumed by the gem's power and hatred, vowing revenge against all Allens, even though he is one, himself.

Chardaq's son, Simogyn, works for the police, and he believed they could recruit Professor Zoom and keep him in line by monitoring Eobard's thoughts telepathically. Wally tries to warn them that this is a stupid idea since Eobard can move faster than thought. And before he can stop him, Eobard grabs ahold of the Cobalt Gem.

We then check in with Jay Garrick, who is in the not-too-distant future with Wally's daughter, Iris. They easily defeat the Cobalt Blue of that era, and Jay takes Iris to the Flash Museum to show her how to use the Cosmic Treadmill. He gives her a large shard of the Cobalt Gem, saying it'll help her find other Flashes throughout time, and that she should break the shard into smaller pieces to give to them. With Iris all set on her mission, Jay returns home to the 1990s.

Back in the 25th century, Eobard can't quite take the gem from Chardaq, although he does see a vision of the centuries of the Thawnes' anger toward the Allens. Wally takes advantage of this enraged Professor Zoom, and he tricks him into going after Simogyn Allen. Just as Wally hoped, Chardaq's love for his son overcame the gem's hatred, freeing him from its grasp. Wally instructs the police not to touch the gem, then he notices with dismay that Eobard has taken off. Flash follows Professor Zoom to the Flash Museum, but is too late to stop him from using the Cosmic Treadmill. Wally sees that Eobard traveled into the future, and he decides to follow him.

Meanwhile, Max Mercury teams up with Sela Allen to rescue a young boy who accidentally touched the Cobalt Gem. Sela is a being of pure speed energy since her body is in a comatose state, still recovering after being ravaged by Cobalt Blue. Since she can't hold a shard of the gem, Max leaves her behind, wishing her luck and promising to meet her again.

We then see how Impulse is doing with the hilariously enormous Thondor Allen. Thondor explains that he's "horizontally challenged" because he's a fifth-generation Jupiter colonist, and all of them have evolved to this size because of the heavier gravity. Thondor also admits he's terrified of Cobalt Blue, who is actually 10 different people in this era. But fearless Impulse quickly takes out the 10 enemies by shoving Thondor into them like a large bowling ball.

Bart's plan worked, knocking out all the Cobalt Blues, but it did get Thondor wedged into a wall. Bart tries to pull Thondor out, who tells Bart he really is impulsive. Bart says everyone tells him that, but he doesn't get it. They're then joined by the Flash of the year 2591, who came to warn them of Cobalt Blue, but sees he arrived a little late. Impulse asks him to pry Thondor free, while he heads off to find his cousin, Jenni Ognats.

We then get a quick montage of Jesse Quick, Jace Allen, John Fox and other Flashes traveling to different eras and battling different Cobalt Blues. Back in the present day, Malcolm Thawne is preparing to escape the Speed Force prison Wally put him in. Malcolm is just about to attack Wally's girlfriend, Angela Margolin, when Jay arrives in the nick of time and takes the brunt of the blast from the blue flames. Angela is knocked down, and as she loses consciousness, she sees a furious Jay reach out to attack Malcolm.

The final scene of this issue is a word-for-word repeat of the closing scene of The Flash Secret Files and Origins #1 from way back when. Wally has followed Professor Zoom to the year 2980, where Bart's other grandpa, President Thaddeus Thawne, has just killed Bart's dad and aunt, the Tornado Twins, Don and Dawn Allen. In a strange, secret ceremony, President Thawne and his followers celebrate the end of the Allen line and the reconstitution of the Cobalt Gem. Wally spots Eobard preparing to steal the gem, and he realizes that Eobard saw this is the gem's final destination — an era without any other speedsters to provide competition. So Wally prepares to stop Eobard, worried about the ensuing fight.

This is a pretty epic story. There's a lot going on and it can be pretty confusing, but it still is pretty awesome all the same. Most of the fun simply is seeing different versions of the Flash. On a whole, this story is a bit intense and serious. Luckily, we have Impulse to provide the comic relief, and his two pages with Thondor Allen were wonderful. I wish we had about 37 more adventures of the tiny Impulse with the massive Thondor.

There aren't any letters to the editor in this issue, but there are a couple of new ads:

He's saving the world ... like it or not! Anarky.

Batman Nosferatu. For the city's ruling class, the laughing man sees death, and only the bat can stop it.

The Justice Society of America PVC set.

Can Alex Elder run away from his troubles? Inquisitive minds want to know ... Crimson by Brian Augustyn and Humberto Ramos. I haven't read this series yet, but I guess I should since it's by two Impulse creators.

Krypton. Galactus. 'Nuff said! Superman/Fantastic Four.

Next time, we'll wrap up April 1999 with Impulse #47.


  1. I wish there were a like button, as this blog is really one of the best places to check up on a regular basis. Thank you so much for doing this, and I look forward to reading more!

    I do have a question, though. Once you finish all of his pre-Flashpoint appearances, are you planning on continuing with the "Bar-Torr" character that they reintroduced him as in the New 52 universe? Just curious.

    1. I was just wondering that myself. I guess I kinda have to, even though he's technically not Bart Allen. Of course, that's still quite a ways off for me. Hope you continue to enjoy the ride until then!