Or, “Whatever Happened To That Flash Kid?”

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How many people think that “Wonder Woman Dipped In Honey” is going to bring us the hits like “Russian Ballerina In Leather Panties” did so long ago?  I’m sure, somewhere, there’s an entire newsgroup dedicated to things like that.  Maybe “rec.arts.comics.superheroines.food.fetish?”  Either way, several months ago, at the end of the Lightning Saga, Wally West returned from the dead and and to League membership, but then took a spontaneous leave of absence.  If you read ‘Flash,’ you may know where he’s been, but it may be a surprise as to why he has yet to return…

JLA1.jpgPreviously, on Justice League of America:  The team reformed,  bringing together a wide variety of heroes from the various League eras, even graduating former Teen Titan Speedy-slash-Arsenal to the big (you should excuse the expression) leagues, with an costume reminiscent of his adoptive dads, and the gawdawful sobriquet of “Red Arrow” (Ugh.)   There was a frankly incomprehensible seven issue kickoff, a couple of interesting things in between, another run which somehow managed to make the greatest heroes of the DCU fighting their greatest villains dreary, then a two issue ‘Salvation Run’ crossover that pretty much did nothing but fill space.  I’m not trying to be mean here, but for a group of the greatest superhumans the world has to offer, they haven’t fought a lot of League-level threats, you get what I’m saying?  Either way, The Flash’s return seemed to imply a return from DOA to JLA, but the man in the scarlet onesie has been missing in action ever since, and no one in the League has really thought to ask why…

This issue starts with a familiar refrain…  “Here’s my day so far.  Shower and shave.  Get the kids up and ready for mayhem.  Cook breakfast.  It’s my day.  Linda had to do dishes, though.  Dress for work.  Escort duty on a prisoner transfer from local to federal authority.  Okay, it was just the Turtle, but still.  All that before 8:30, by the way.  Sound like a busy day?  Please…  My name is Wally West.  I’m the Flash, the fastest man alive.”  I miss classic Mark Waid.  Flash has to take down a huge forest fire, by drawing all the oxygen away from it, explaining the science as he goes.  Flash fact!  It’s gorgeously drawn by Ethan Van Sciver, and really sets the pace for what we’re about to see. Flash realizes, too late, that his actions have endangered a planeful of firefighters, only to have Wonder Woman catch it with her bare hands.  “I’ve got you,” says Diana, “Everything’s all right.”  When she says that, you have to believe it, too…

Diana pulls Wally aside, and they head for a quiet spot to talk.  Wally suspects that she’s here to tell him he’s slacking off on JLA duties, but Wonder Woman just analyzes his words, making him realize that HE’S the one feeling like he’s abandoned the team.  She tells him that Superman was upset that he didn’t respond to the emergency signal a few months ago, and Wally asks what Batman said.  ” ‘Recruit Jay Garrick over from the JSA.  He’s slower, but we can count on him to show up.’ “  Ouch.  For both Wally AND Jay.  Before she can talk him into coming back, Black Lightning calls with news: The Queen Bee is back in action, and in their area.  Wonder Woman and Flash quickly take stock of the situation, and he sweeps the compound in seconds.  The fast guy and the strong girl sweep in and crack some skulls, and Diana uses her lasso of truth to bring all the Queen Bee’s kidnapped science guys back to their senses.

Queen Bee sends her drones in to attack, and Wonder Woman walks right through them like Sherman through Georgia.  She warns the Queen that she can’t win, and she can’t escape, but Zzazzala (Heh) doesn’t listen and teleports herself a couple of thousand miles away…  where the Flash arrives, disarms her and chucks her in jail in a split second.  That, by the way, is why you don’t $&*! with Wallace Rudolph West.  Wonder Woman is glad to see him return, and gives it to him straight.  “No lecture, Wally.  An entreaty.  The Justice League needs you.  Make some time for us.”  Wally promises he will, and races home to make dinner, but planning to head to the Hall of Justice for monitor duty later. 

This is a really good issue, actually.  Dwayne McDuffie’s experience writing Justice League Unlimited serves him well, as The Flash is completely in character, and (much more difficult) so was Wonder Woman.  The art was, frankly, spectacular, with Van Sciver going the George Perez “lighting and blur” school of drawing super-speed while giving us a beautiful, regal, powerful Princess Diana.  Maybe I’m just stunned after so many issues of blahblahblah, but it’s my favorite JLA issue since #11 (which, now that I think about it, was also a focus on two Leaguers, Vixen and Red Arrow ((ugh))) and a solid 4.5 star effort all around.  I’m hoping that we can get a couple of issues of McDuffie doing what he does best before the next big crossover hijacks the book…  I am not, however, holding my breath.

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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9 Comments

  1. Yuta
    May 2, 2008 at 6:50 am — Reply

    I’m surprised that no mention was made of the fact that: a) Neither of them were ever captured and b) Neither of them were ever covered in honey as the cover illustrates. I know covers often don’t depict accurately what happens on the inside but I would have loved to see Flash and Wonder Woman giving Queen Bee a honey swirly and it would have been a little closer to story.

  2. Mike
    May 2, 2008 at 8:20 am — Reply

    “another run which somehow managed to make the greatest heroes of the DCU fighting their greatest villains dreary”
    Couldn’t agree more. McDuffie has yet to impress me on the book and I was getting worried since I really like his stuff in the animated and comic form, especially the FF run he just finished. This issue looks like a step in the right direction and hopefully will continue.

  3. May 2, 2008 at 12:08 pm — Reply

    The issue that I took with this book was the way they portrayed Wally. WW pretty much told him that he was a disappointment and was not living up to his obligations, and Wally rolled over and took it. She essentially treated him like he was a child and had missed a homework assignement.

    In my opinion, I think that Flash should have been allowed to say what he would have said in his own book, my family comes first. As it is, it is as if they are trying to set Wally up for his Kingdom Come persona, being everywhere at once.

    To me? A fill in story when one wasn’t needed. With the limited amount of time these writers have now to tell their stories, I would think that every little line would be used to advance a larger arc, not to let a confirmed bachelorette tell a family man that he isn’t living up to his obligations.

    For the record, McDuffie is one of my favorite writers. Milestone was one of the greats of it’s day and I rarely find fault with his writing.

    Now, if it is shown that this issue ties in to a larger story, I may change my mind, but until then…

  4. Infinity13307
    May 2, 2008 at 12:16 pm — Reply

    I have a question about this issue that I haven’t found the answer to yet. At one point towards the end of the issue, a caption box gives the impression that Wally is relating this story to someone else, explaining who Zazzala is and asks “What did you expect, Courtney?” I expected this issue to end on a shot of Wally recounting the story to the JSA or at least Stargirl (Courtney Whitmore) and maybe Jay Garrick (to justify why Stargirl was around), but there was no such ending of course. Do you have any explanation for this?

  5. Mark I.
    May 2, 2008 at 1:59 pm — Reply

    Infinity: I think it was an ill-communicated joke on McDuffie’s part, as in “What did you expect her name to be…Courtney?”

    Which could have been a funny joke, it just wasn’t structured properly. Oh well, better a badly-done joke in a well-done issue than the other way around…

  6. Ransom
    May 2, 2008 at 4:57 pm — Reply

    Am I the only one that noticed that this whole “Reroute the fire with oxygen-drawing and then Wonder Woman intervenes” happened in Diana’s own book? The last time this happened, she was talking about how Wally was going against nature. What gives?

  7. Brother129
    May 3, 2008 at 10:55 am — Reply

    Almost two years of this title and we’ve only had about 2 or 3 really good issues. If this was Bendis on Avengers, we’d be screaming from the hills…

  8. nu
    May 3, 2008 at 5:32 pm — Reply

    im pumped about the upcoming issue about red tornado. so far everything that we have learned about him has been interesting. i hope they talk about the red inferno (mentioned in 52) and the red volcano (as seen in DCU #0) sometime soon.

  9. May 3, 2008 at 9:25 pm — Reply

    Almost two years of this title and we’ve only had about 2 or 3 really good issues. If this was Bendis on Avengers, we’d be screaming from the hills…

    I prefer to think of my bitching as constructive. :) Bendis takes forever to get places, but his decompression is much more successful than Meltzer meandering nothingness. The first 7 issues of this book are pretty much incomprehensible.

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