Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Flash #155

Payback Unlimited

Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn, Story
Paul Pelletier, Pencils
Jose Marzan, Jr., Inks
Gaspar Saldino with Ken Lopez, Letters
Tom McCraw, Colors
Joey Cavalieri, Editor

This isn't too bad of a cover by Steve Lightle. But for the umpteenth time, I will say Pelletier should be doing the covers. Replicant's arms do look a bit pixelated up around the cutout for the stupid-looking Flash logo, and I don't think that was intentional. In any case, we really don't care about this "ultimate rogue" because he has nothing to do with Impulse.

Sadly, Impulse has very little to do in this issue. But we'll still give it the full coverage it deserves! We come on a rare scene of just Impulse hanging out with Jesse Quick (Max Mercury is nowhere to be seen). Jesse comments on how they finally got the answer they were looking for, in regards to the new Flash, but she's no happier. Impulse says Jesse's never happy, and he's never heard her laugh. And come to think about it, I'm with Bart on this one. When has Jesse ever been happy?

Jesse gets Bart back on topic, reminding him (and us) that the last time they saw the Wally they knew was fighting Cobalt Blue in the 30th century. Then, boom, a dark stranger shows up, takes Wally's place, then reluctantly reveals himself as Wally, but older. Jesse asks where he's been for 10 years his time. Bart tries to say, "Maybe he's been busy," but Jesse cut him off, assuming Bart was going to bring up Linda again, who Jesse still thinks is Bart's imaginary friend.

Bart hadn't thought of that, but now that Jesse's brought it up, he decides to go straight to the source and ask this Wally about it. Bart interrupts a tender moment between Flash and Angela Margolin, simply asking, "Where's Linda?" Flash gets pretty upset with this, and calls him Brat. Bart corrects him, but Flash says he was named by a dyslexic. He grabs the teen and angrily says, "Understand one thing. Never ... never ... ask me about Linda." Unfortunately for Flash, though, his new girlfriend heard this conversation, and now she's asking who Linda is.

And speaking of Linda, she is currently standing in front of her own grave, flanked by two different Flashes. One is violent and psychotic, but the other seems like the good old Wally we all know and love. After a brief skirmish, this good Wally manages to escape with Linda, who confirms that he is the real Wally since he remembers her disappearing on their wedding night.

Linda explains that she was kidnapped and taken out of time so everyone would forget her. She escaped, but ended up in this alternate world where she was killed by Kobra, which drove this version of the Flash (who she calls Walter West) mad. Wally explains that he went into the Speed Force (again) to defeat Cobalt Blue. And coming out of the Speed Force, he was once again drawn to Linda like a lightning rod, somehow breaking a dimensional barrier to undo the damage caused by Linda's kidnapper.

It doesn't take too long before Walter finds them and gets into another fight with Wally. One advantage Walter has is that he trained under Savitar before killing him, which gives him a few new tricks. As Walter moves in for the death blow, Linda calls out to him, getting him to refrain from killing Wally. Suddenly, Walter and Wally are trapped in separate glass jars, and Linda realizes her kidnapper has returned. And that kidnapper is none other than Abra Kadabra.

It's all starting to come together. While there are many similarities to other Mark Waid Flash stories, this one brings in the fun added twist of introducing our main character to an Elseworld or What If? version of himself. And I appreciated Impulse's boldness in his brief scenes here. Altogether, this was another great comic from this creative team. Even though I skipped over all the parts with Replicant, he is actually a pretty neat villain.

Next time, Impulse and Young Justice will have a bigger role in Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #5.

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