Waid returns, makes fans happy

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I know it has been out for a week now, but since I won’t be attending the Comic-Con this year, I thought I’d get caught up on a few reviews I’ve been meaning to get to. Up first is All-Flash #1 that features the returns of Wally West and Mark Waid to the series. It’s also a sad moment as Bart Allen leaves us, but as Zoom would say, “That which hurts us, makes us stronger”. Is that the case with Wally and this issue?

allflashcover.jpgI think DC had the ultimate screw-you-fan boy-moment when it decided to kill Bart Allen. Fans (myself included) had been screaming for the return of Wally West and the ousting of Bart Allen as the Scarlet Speedster. They answered by killing Bart, much to the shock of Bart supporters, causing fans (myself included) to scream, “Why’d you do that!?” This lead DC to respond the only way it could, “Because you said you wanted Bart out and Wally back, you didn’t say not to kill Bart.” By the way, that is the same logic those crafty Djins use to taint our wishes – to this day Charisma Carpenter still won’t return my calls.

Whether or not DC planned on killing Bart over a year ago or not, the sudden death and reintroduction of the original Flash title, complete with volume 2 numbering, surprised many outside of DC. In All Flash #1, there are seven different artists contributing pages, which leads me to believe this was a surprise to many inside DC as well.

As far as art goes, there are some very stunning pages, and some pages that looked like they were rushed trying to get to the printers. Regardless of when each page was turned in, the contributor’s styles fit in with the portion of the story being told. In the case of Karl Kerschl, his art represents the “current time”, while the other artists end up illustrating various moments in Wally’s life since his return. If I had to give thumbs down on any of the art, I would have to give it to Bennett, Jose, and Acuna. There is such a sharp contrast between Kerschl’s art and that of Bennett and Jose, that their art seems stiff, with some of the facial features looking “off” on the first two pages of their work. Perhaps that is what they were going for, because after those two pages, everything settles down and the art looks just fine. I also give thumbs down on the art of Daniel Acuna because it just doesn’t sit well with my personal taste (remember kids, if it reminds you of Greg Land, it isn’t good). That and the face of Wally’s daughter (?) looks like it was simply copied and pasted from the father figure.

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On the flip side, I love, love, love the Karl Kerschl pages. The lines and movement are so fluid and the art style reminds me of something straight from a Don Bluth animated film.

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Man, I would love seeing a six-issue arc featuring nothing by Kerschl’s styling like he is doing here. I think what makes me split on the art in this issue, was there were simply too many artists working on it. If the duties had been split between Kerschl, Churchill and Rapmund, I would have been more than happy.

As far as the story goes, this is classic Waid. Everything from the inner suffering Wally experiences at the loss of his cousin (and his own possible involvement), to the quiet moments he spends talking with his Aunt Iris, everything comes off smooth and doesn’t seem forced at all.

That being said, All Flash #1 gets lost as a bridge issue between Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13, and Flash #231. Call me superstitious, but I would rather have had this issue be Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #14 as it really is the epilogue to that series.

In this issue, Wally, mad as hell, takes off after Inertia, and when he captures him, he runs faster and faster around the world with the little punk in his arms. Inertia taunts Wally, telling him no matter how angry he is at Intertia, Wally won’t kill. During this exchange, Wally flashes back to how he emerged from wherever he was – others have it wrong, Wally and family weren’t dead, and they weren’t in the Speed Force – with the location not being important, to the moments following his return in the JSA/JLA Lighting Saga crossover event. With all of the “discarded scenes” from the other series, this could very easily have been an issue of Countdown.

Instead of killing a Thaddeus Thawne, Wally does something we haven’t seen (I believe) since Waid left the series previously – he drains so much of Inertia’s energy that Thaddeus essentially becomes a living statue; moving so slow it will take 100 years for him to blink his eyes. Once again, the superheroes don’t do the logical thing, making Inertia’s return a sure thing in the future.

There are two other interesting moments that came out of this issue. The first is the implication that events have changed enough that Iris begins to lose her memories of the future – that or she’s keeping it close to the chest so as not to pollute the time-stream further. The second is the nice page by Bennett and Jose that show all of the Rouges who had a hand in killing Bart being taken down by the Suicide Squad. If this is them, then it answers the question of which organization took down Piper and Trickster in the pages of Countdown.

The Good

  • Waid returns
  • Kerschl art
  • Solid story

The Bad

  • Too many artists for one issue
  • Not a stand alone issue
  • Not a jumping on point for new readers

As I mentioned, I’m split about this being a stand alone issue. If it had been part of the Flash: The Fastest Man Alive, then Bart Allen’s death would have had more impact, and there would be a greater sense of resolution in the story. Instead, I have a feeling many readers are going to skip this issue and then bitch and complain when Flash #231 arrives next month saying they don’t know what is going on, wonder about the fate of Inertia, and so on. Still, it is great to have Mark Waid back on the series that made me a dedicated Flash reader, and I hope he sticks around for a long time to come. Because of the nature of the issue, my complaints and praise of the art, and my devotion to Mark Waid, I’ll give All Flash #1 a solid 4 out of 5 Stars.

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Parting Shot

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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9 Comments

  1. Brent F.
    July 23, 2007 at 7:36 pm — Reply

    Flash: The Fastest Man Alive ended at issue #13. I believe All Flash was meant to be the prelude to the return of Wally’s series in August.

  2. pedantic peasant
    July 23, 2007 at 8:52 pm — Reply

    Matthew:

    There was something I wanted to say after reading Flash 13 and the following Countdown issue, but I was away and had not read the issues. So I’m going to take the opportunity here:

    I am an occasional Flash reader at best, so this doesn’t have the emotional impact for me that it does for you. I agree in general with your analysis, and I hate the fact that Marvel and DC both have embraced “reality” in comics to mean more brutality and deaths of heroes and those close to them (often random and pointless deaths).

    Now regarding Bart, you have said (again)
    think DC had the ultimate screw-you-fan boy-moment when it decided to kill Bart Allen. Fans (myself included) had been screaming for the return of Wally West and the ousting of Bart Allen as the Scarlet Speedster. They answered by killing Bart, much to the shock of Bart supporters, causing fans (myself included) to scream, “Why’d you do that!?” This lead DC to respond the only way it could, “Because you said you wanted Bart out and Wally back, you didn’t say not to kill Bart.”

    I agree it was thoughtless, crude and stupid. But it is not their “ultimate” moment. That, I submit, continues to be their treatment of Jason Todd.

    I think you’ve stated here that Todd is not one of your favorite characters. That’s as may be, but I’d like to take one minute to remind you of the “true origin” of Jason Todd.

    Back pre-crisis, Jason Todd was the son of circus performers whose parents were killed by Killer Croc. Dick Grayson — still in his Robin outfit and in his early 20s — takes him to Bruce, who takes him in. Jason wanders around Wayne Manor, having difficulty with grief. Then one day, home alone, Jason finds a hidden catch in a closet and discovers one of Dick’s old Boy Wonder costumes and Jason puts it on and hauls Batman’s ashes out of the fire at the last minute.

    Bruce tells him he can’t be Robin, cause that’s Dick’s identity. He puts together a different costume, but they can’t decide on a name. That issue, when Batman needs help, he calls for Robin.

    That same month, Dick quits being Robin, to become Nightwing 3-6 months later, and gives Jason the costume.

    Jason is a great Robin for a couple years, and then with the Crisis, DC retro-fits Jason to fit with their darker more serious world. And so Jason Todd becomes a street kid who tries to steal the wheels off the Batmobile — and Batman decides he’s “cute” and adopts him. PLEASE!!!!

    Fans hated the new Jason — the writers didn’t help any, changing the young, shiny, impulsive Jason into a dark, sulky, know-it-all. And so you eventually got DC’s cowardly “Dial in to kill Robin” campaign.

    Just like your comments on Bart, they cowardly decided to kill the character rather than fix their mistakes.

    While these are very similar, I believe the treatment of Jason is (slightly) worse because they didn’t kill him because he had been one character and switched costumes. They killed him because they changed his story and person and people didn’t like it. He was (so far as I recall) a generally well-liked character before they lobotomized him and changed his history.

    I do feel for Bart — hopefully we are correct in the cluse of the JLA/JSA crossover and Bart and XS will be working together in the future in the future.

    Thanks for letting me get on my soapbox.

    Keep up the good work!

  3. July 23, 2007 at 9:10 pm — Reply

    Brent: That’s the point – this didn’t need to be a stand alone issue. It could easily have been part of The Fastest Man Alive or Flash #231.

    Pedantic: You might want to check your authors. While Matthew does contribute a lot of reviews for this site, he didn’t write this one. ;)

    Cheers
    Stephen Schleicher
    Executive Producer
    http://www.majospoilers.com

  4. pedantic peasant
    July 23, 2007 at 11:10 pm — Reply

    Sorry Stephen

    I clicked on the review link from Matt’s pasg, thought they were all his reviews

    -pp

  5. Tremaine
    July 24, 2007 at 1:03 am — Reply

    Yep, those facial muscles on the cover scream…..something…

  6. July 24, 2007 at 7:07 am — Reply

    Tremaine: It’s a heck of a lot better than the originally solicited cover, even if he still looks like he’s dumping out.

  7. Tremaine
    July 24, 2007 at 10:30 am — Reply

    Really?, wow. Cant imagine that horror, I know I never judge books by the covers, but that picture made me ALMOST not buy it at all

  8. July 24, 2007 at 11:02 am — Reply

    Tremaine: Check this link and view the shat that was the solicited cover

  9. Tremaine
    July 25, 2007 at 7:10 pm — Reply

    Dear god……………he’s constipated

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