“Girl, Youâ€™ll Be a Woman Soon” – Like by the end of the issue
Even though Mark Waid said returning to the Flash after his long run was a huge mistake, there is one thing you have to give him credit for; adding the children as a plot device that would have repercussions down the road – hey, just in time for a new crisis!
Iâ€™ll be upfront and say the Flash Mob story has left me rather â€œmehâ€ since Spin first showed up to bring Wally West down.Â From the mass hysteria, to the appearance by Gorilla Grodd and white monkey Nzame, to the â€œforcedâ€ appearance by the old New Gods (Iâ€™m sorry, but this is not the Fifth World, no matter how many times Morrison tries to spin it), and finally to the hysterical mob burning the Flash Museum, this has been a story that I just canâ€™t get behind.
That being said, even a weak story can have some really great moments.Â Take, for example, the statement made by the Flash on television that heâ€™s not making any money as a hero. Ever since he made that deal with The Spectre oh so long ago, where everyone in the world forgot who was under the mask, all the freebies given by Central City have dried up, forcing Wally to get a job, and try to keep it while moonlighting as a hero.Â While Clark Kent has made a name for himself as a reporter, and Bruce Wayne and Ollie Queen are million-ba-billionaires,Â Wallyâ€™s plight really reflects the struggles of any hero who isnâ€™t independently wealthy, smart enough to set up their own industrial complex, or working for the government, and shows the thin line some heroes may walk between a life of heroism and a life of crime.
A nice moment in this issue comes during the burning of the Flash Museum.Â Instead of zooming around to put out the fire in an instant (something Wally could do easily), there is a great inner monologue as Wally struggles to decide wether he should save Inertia, who had his speed stripped to the point where he is a living statue, from being burned alive.Â Of course The Flash does the right thing, but still, that ultimate revenge moment shows the struggle Wally is still going through over the loss of Bart.
If characters are to mature they need to go through many challenges and struggles, nothing throws a wrench in the works like a kid or two.Â Geoff Johns took readers to the brink of family-hood, while Stuart Immonen, and Joey Cavalieri brought the kids back with a bang just before everyone was snatched into another dimension, seemingly never to be heard from again.
Which brings us back to Mark Waid.Â Since the â€œBart Allen as The Flashâ€ idea went down in flames forcing DC to bring back Wally, it also meant Waid had to bring Linda and the kids back, too.Â But instead of seeing the kids age naturally, Waid threw in a gimmick that has Iris and Jaiâ€™s metabolisms screwed all up to the point where they will experience rapid age growth and could grow old and die with no warning.
Since their return, we havenâ€™t seen a bump in age until this issue.Â During the kidnapping attempt (by Morrisonâ€™s repurposed Fourth World Gods) Iris experiences an age jump from pre-teen to teenager.Â Freddie Williams II has done a great job of portraying Iris as a pre-teen for many issues, and then showing the results of puberty after her first growth spurt.Â While the results of the growth spurt do help save Wally and Jay Garrick from Grodd, jumping a few years is nothing compared to the growth spurt Iris experiences at the end of the issue.
Love them or hate them, Waidâ€™s gimmick gives everyone an out should the readers, writers, or editorial big wigs grow tired of Wally as a family man. A simple series of keyboard strokes can cause the kids to grow old and die, or have them become the ultimate sacrifice in the Final Crisis, which could be a possibility since Tom Peyer did feature the New New Gods attempting to kidnap the West-lings.
Yes, all my ramblings about themes are an attempt to distract you from a rather boring story.Â Iâ€™m not saying Peyer is a bad writer, because he is able to weave all these themes into this issue, but you could replace Spin with any number of villains who have returned from the Prison Planet (not the Rogues of course because they are getting their own Final Crisis tie-in series soon) and the story would essentially be the same.
Williams art is solid as ever, but I wonder if he trying new things, because there is something different about his art on the Flash compared to what he was doing on Robin.
Question Yet to be Answered
- With Jesse Chambers the new LIberty Belle, could Iris inherit the Jessie Quick mantle?
- Will she continue to age over the next to issue to the point she is trying to outrun uncle Jay to the social security office?
- Will Jai age at all, or will he forever struggle under the shadow of his â€œolderâ€ twin sister?Â Will Linda Park West be able to cope with a daughter who appears to be her own age, or will she experience her own struggle forcing her to seek out someone who can grant her every wish?
- Who will be the next speedster sacrificed by Crisis editorial?
If writers are writing for the trade, there are two more chapters to this tale before we reach the end.Â Yes, there are potentially a lot of great stories that could â€œspinâ€ out of this arc, but this issue suffers from the six-arc blues, earning it 2 out of 5 Stars.