Spit on your wife and see what happens
I’m glad Wally and Linda are back. I’m sad DC had to kill Bart to do it. With the latest installment of the adventures of the 3rd Flash, Wally, Linda, Jai, and Iris are confronted with their first major conflict, but the family outing isn’t going so well. Does Flash #232 suffer the same fate?
Previously in The Flash: In a weird time twist, Linda and Wally’s miscarried twins are reborn, just in time for Tom Welling Prime to cause all sorts of problems for heroes everywhere. With the help of his nephew, Wally snatched TWP and the three sped off to places unknown – but not before Linda and the twins jumped on for the ride. With funky things going on in the time stream, the original Legion of Superheroes returned to present day to play out the Lightning Saga as they did many years before, only to unwittingly bring Linda, Wally, and the aged twins back from the other side of the galaxy. Trying to settle in, we learn Jai and Iris have two very different powers – Jai can become a muscled mayhem, but has power crashes that require a food recharge, while Iris can phase through matter. When Wally takes the twins to investigate a ferry accident, they are confronted by watery monsters from the deep, who snatch Wally leaving the kids to fend for themselves.
That’s some really good parenting. I’m sure social services would be very interested to learn that Jai and Iris, well underage by any superhero standard, have been left alone to fend off these beasties. As they don’t know how to swim, they can’t attempt to rescue their dad, which means they better head back home. There’s only one problem; they don’t remember how to get home.
I love the fact that the kids have physically aged during their time away, but mentally they are still way too young to be on their own. The one thing that might sway the social worker from dragging the kids off to foster care is that Linda and Wally did teach the kids the police are their friends and to go to them if they have a problem.
As they approach one of the officers in the police station and tap him on the arm, he turns to dust – the water monsters are back and have the kids surrounded. Not only have they appeared at the police station, but Cthulhu wannabes are popping out of every source of water in Keystone City, from the fountain in the park, to a puddle of water in the middle of a busy street.
Fortunately the kids are saved by a streak of red. Wally grabs the kids and rushes back home. The look on his face is grim, and he doesn’t utter a word all the way home. When you think about it, as the fastest man alive, a man who can circle the planet in mere seconds, running a half mile to your home doesn’t leave much time for conversation. It’s enough to spook the kids and when they tell Linda, Wally does something quite unexpected.
Let’s see, of the dozen or so ways to ensure you aren’t going to get any special lovin’, spitting a mouth full of nasty river water into your wife’s face is not one that I would have used.
Here is where things get really fuzzy for me. Linda is somehow able to read Wally’s memories and see exactly what happened to him all because of the unanticipated spit-take. When the alien’s on “Flash World” gave Linda a crash course on Technobiology, nothing was ever said about Linda gaining powers, or getting a boost in her mental capacity to deal with the technology. I’m not saying Linda isn’t smart, she’s just never shown signs of having meta powers. Either this is something Mark Waid is intentionally holding back on explaining, or there is really something strange going on.
Through the memory flashback, we learn that Wally was taken to the world of the water breathing creatures and told Earth was going to be attacked for some kind of atrocity or other. It’s all pretty vague, but the bottom line is if these creatures aren’t stopped, they are going to zap the water out of every living thing thus turning humans to dust.
The water idea gives Wally the idea to take one of Captain Cold’s early freeze guns from the Flash Museum and build a gigantic version of it at STAR Labs. I like that Waid is referencing a type of gun Cold used in the first meetings with Barry Allen in The Coldest Man on Earth from Showcase #8 (1957). Buying those DC Showcase Presents volumes does pay off!
I also like the explanation for how Wally can build the huge device in a matter of minutes. He learns through trial and error, essentially teaching himself to become a scientist. The only thing that keeps him from becoming the next Nobel Prize winner is his mind tends to forget everything he learns – presumably because his mind can’t make and retain those synaptic paths needed for long term memory retention.
When the switch is flipped, water throughout the city does freeze, but not before the big bad is able to make it through the portal and begins to zap the water from Wally’s body causing him to collapse and pass out.
- A good second chapter to this five part series
- Plenty of action
- References to Silver Age tales
- Where did Linda get mind reading powers?
- The art
- Too much talking at a time when the city is in crisis mode
Overall, I thought this was a very solid story. Waid serves up the important information, while giving readers a tease as to things that still need to be answered. I’m a little concerned that while the creatures were still attacking the city, that the family West had time to chat and eat a well balanced meal, but that is a minor nit-pick to a story that flowed well.
The only thing that still bothers me about this issue is the art by Daniel Acuna. I’m sorry, it’s just not my cup of tea, as I find it very distracting when trying to read a great Waid/Flash tale. I don’t know if it is the paint job without solid “cartoon” lines, or that Acuna uses photos and gives them a painterly effect for backgrounds. I think he nails exaggerated expression and poses, and his art does capture the emotion of the character, but at the end of the day I am just turned off. Other readers may like it, and if that’s you, then more power to you friend. Acuna is only around for two more issues, then Freddie Williams II jumps on board for the final chapter. I’m going to miss Williams on Robin, but considering Flash is a fave of mine, I’m sure I’ll get over it. The story is very good, and if it wasn’t for the pesky art issue I have, I would score Flash #232 higher, but I can only give it 3.5 out of 5 Stars.