Friday, December 18, 2015

The Flash #148

Chain Lightning, Chapter Four: Undertow

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

Our cover by Steve Lightle follows the standard Chain Lightning pattern with the Flash running alongside various speedsters. This time, we do know all of them. From left, we have Wally's daughter Iris from the future (aka Kid Flash), John Fox and XS. It is nice that they had this consistency throughout the event, but I am getting kind of bored of it after four issues. Plus, I really wish Paul Pelletier could be doing the covers, since I enjoy his artwork so much.

What Has Gone Before: Cobalt Blue — aka Malcolm Thawne, twisted twin brother of Flash's predecessor, Barry Allen — has sworn vengeance against all Flashes past and present. Using a magic gem of incalculable power passed from generation to generation, Thawne's own descendants will target Flashes for the next thousand years — unless Wally West and his allies can move through time to stop them. According to the gem's mystic prophecy, its sinister sorcery will consume two Flashes before finally murdering Barry Allen before his time. Already, one such Flash has been possessed ... but who will be the other ... ?

We pick up right where we left off last issue, with Wally and Professor Zoom in an intense standoff to  steal the gem from its last known location, the clutches of President Thaddeus Thawne (Bart's other grandfather). Zoom and Flash have a very fast battle, so fast, in fact, that nobody else can see them moving. Zoom vibrates his hand through Wally's side, slicing him up, but Wally knocks Zoom out with a light-speed punch. Wally then mimics Zoom's vibrating hand technique to destroy the Cobalt Blue gem in President Thawne's hand, and takes Zoom away before anyone notices. President Thawne doesn't understand why the gem suddenly exploded, and his followers assume he intentionally destroyed it, and they seem to turn on him. Meanwhile, Wally takes Zoom back to his time and throws him back in his cell.

Back in 1999, Wally's girlfriend, Angela, is revived by a couple of fellow officers. They show her that Malcolm Thawne is now in a vegetative state, and Angela says the last thing she saw before blacking out was Jay Garrick lunging at the villain. One of the cops says that if that's the case, then they're going to have to bring Jay in, even though he is a superhero.

We get another montage of the various Flashes running throughout time to help other Flashes battle other Cobalt Blues. Wally visits the Tornado Twins, Don and Dawn Allen (Bart's dad and aunt), but find they've already been visited by Kid Flash and given shards of the Cobalt Blue gem. They try to keep Kid Flash's identity a secret from Wally, but it seems like he already knows she's his daughter.

We then check in with Impulse, who has finally reunited with his cousin, XS, who appears to be locked in a battle with another Cobalt Blue. Bart lunges at the young man dressed in blue and black, and begins to pound him into a paste before Jenni shoves him off the poor kid. Turns out, he wasn't Cobalt Blue at all, but a hero named Blazerr, who was trying out for the Legion of Super-Heroes. In Bart's defense, Blazerr does have the exact same look and power set of Cobalt Blue. But none of the Legionnaires are too happy with Bart's rude interruption.

Wally races along the edge of the Speed Force, where he sees that all the Cobalt Blues are accounted for, except one, who just so happens to be in the one time period Wally didn't want to visit — Barry Allen's time in the mid-30th century. So Wally heals his wound from the fight with Professor Zoom, and reluctantly races off to save his former mentor, knowing how hard it'll be to see him so soon before his death.

Since Brainiac 5 isn't around to vouch for him, Impulse is rudely booted out of the Legion of Super-Hero Headquarters. Bart tells Jenni that she's not safe, explaining all about the Cobalt Blues. But Jenni tells him she learned that the Cobalt Blue gem was destroyed shortly after she was born, meaning they're free from danger in this era. Kid Flash arrives just then, looking to recruit XS to help warn the other Flashes, and Bart complains that there's always someone "horning in on" his missions.

Kid Flash gives Impulse and XS each a shard, telling them to travel through time, but, per Wally's instructions, they are to avoid Barry Allen's time. Bart wonders why they should listen to Wally, and Jenni argues that they should help their grandpa. Kid Flash protests, but Bart shoves the two of them all the way to the Cosmic Treadmill in the Flash Museum, where he takes the three of them back to Barry's time.

The teenagers arrive around the same time as Wally, and their simple argument has grown into a full-scale fight. Wally becomes enraged and almost attacks them before he realizes the shard of the gem he's holding is feeding him hatred. He throws his shard down and tries to get the kids to drop their shards, but he's suddenly hit by a stampede of speedsters. And leading this charge is the possessed Jay Garrick.

All the Flashes and speedsters are now under the control of Malcolm Thawne, who explains that the gem is a conduit for now just his hatred, but also his soul. And before this story even started, Malcolm put a part of his soul in Jay, subtly influencing him to suggest the idea of distributing the shards to the other speedsters. The possessed Flashes all beat the snot out of Wally, and Malcolm gloats that Wally is outnumbered 25-to-1. But then a voice tells Malcolm to count again. And that voice belongs to none other than Barry Allen himself.

This story is big, complicated, and totally awesome. Jay Garrick is possessed! All the Flashes are under control! And Barry Allen is back! Yeah, some parts of the story have gone a bit long and repetitive, but it is still a lot of fun to see all the different versions of the Flash. And it was very nice to have Impulse reunited with XS, as well as being reminded of the Legion's eternal hatred of Bart. It's all in good fun, though.

I only have the digital copy of this issue, so that's it for today. Next time, we'll get another fun guest star in Impulse #48.

No comments:

Post a Comment