Friday, April 8, 2016

The Flash #152

New Kid in Town

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

The Flash has (once again) mysteriously disappeared, opening the door for a new Flash. Our cover represents this, not just with the new guy in the new suit, but even the font of the issue's title has changed. I think the suit's pretty cool, but I can't stand that new font. I think they were trying for a blur effect, but it just looks blobby and stupid to me.

Our story picks up days after the events of Chain Lightning, and no one has seen Wally West since then. Jay Garrick is picking up the slack in Keystone City when he suddenly encounters this new Flash, who is obviously not Wally because he's older and has a more advanced control of his powers. He seems to be a hero, although he is a bit rough around the edges. Jay asks this Flash if he's one of the futures Flashes they met during Chain Lightning, but he says no and blows Jay off.

Jay doesn't take too kindly to this, so he decides to put the foot down — by calling in some big feet. Impulse is the first to arrive, kicking up some dirt to stop the new Flash in his tracks. Max Mercury and Jesse Quick are right behind him. Jesse, who did her doctorate on all known superheroes, doesn't recognize this new guy, and Max says he'd like to see who's under the mask. Impulse immediately jumps on this Flash's shoulders and tries to take off his mask. The Flash hurls Impulse off him, and assures the others that Impulse will be fine since he'll land on his hair. Max and Jesse try to flank the Flash, but he escapes before they can catch him.

Jesse admits she actually misses Wally and wonders where he's been since they last saw him in the 30th century. Bart suggests that Wally's looking for Linda, but nobody knows who he's talking about. Bart's shocked that nobody remembers Linda, Wally's girlfriend who was on TV and played video games with Bart. Jesse jokes that Max needs to remember that Bart is a growing boy and if they don't let out his mask every now and then, it gets too tight. But Max reminds the others that Bart was raised in a virtual reality and still occasionally has trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy. Bart tries to remind everyone of Linda wielding a big gun during their fight with Kobra, but this only makes her sound more like a fictional video game character. Jay takes a more tender approach and asks Bart if Linda has a last name. But Bart doesn't know it, probably because he never paid much attention.

We then catch up with Linda Park, whom we haven't seen since she mysteriously vanished on her wedding day and was erased from everyone's memory. She is being held captive by a shadowy figure, who has somehow removed her from time itself. He explains that he altered things so Linda's family and friends always believed she vanished before she even met the Flash. He has now placed Linda in a special room, surrounded by swirling flashbacks of time. The shadowy figure says that beyond his stronghold is death unimaginable, which Linda considers better than living out her days forgotten by everyone she knows and loves. So Linda hurls herself into the time stream, even though her captor warns her that she's condemning herself to oblivion.

Meanwhile, the new Flash defeats Dr. Alchemy in a slightly harsher manner than Wally probably would have. He then visits the still upset Jay and says he wants to work with him — taking over Central City, while Jay protects Keystone City. The Flash then removes his mask in front of Jay, but his back is strategically turned toward the camera. He tells Jay he can't explain everything right now, and takes off again. But even if we don't see this Flash's face, we do see that he has constructed an odd lightning-shaped obelisk in front of the Flash Museum, which he vibrates into from time to time. And inside is boxes and boxes of personal effects belonging to Wally and Barry Allen. And although Jay now knows what this Flash looks like, he's still determined to keep a close eye on him.

It's always nice to return to the world of Waid, Augustyn and Pelletier. They just make high quality comics that look great and read well. And it's really nice to finally get back to Linda's storyline. I love how Impulse is the only one who remembers her and that nobody believes him because he's, well, Impulse. This plot line will be fun to follow. However, the main plot line of Wally disappearing once again is a bit redundant. This is at least the third time Mark Waid has sent Wally away to defeat a villain. The first we saw was against Kobra, but Wally's absence was brief. The second time was against Savitar, and just like here, Wally was replaced by an alternate Flash. In that case, it was John Fox. Here, I don't really care that much because I feel like we've already seen this story.

For some reason, this issue does not have the Speed Reading letters page, which is quite a shame, since I'd imagine there were a lot of great letters about Chain Lightning. We also don't have any new ads, so this is where I take my leave.

Next time, we'll see how well Bart and his friends escaped from the D.E.O. in Young Justice #12.

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