Way to tackle a tough subject Waid!


Any superhero comic is bound to showcase an alien invasion at some point, and Waid is more than willing to give service to that meme in his latest take on the Flash. Things looked pretty bleak for the Wests last issue, but with the JLA making an appearance, what better way for Waid to redefine the idea of the Flash Family?

flash233.jpgTitle: Flash #233
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Freddie E. Williams II
Colors: Tanya and Richard Horie

Even when things look their worst, the Wests are able to pull together and at least make an attempt to fight off the water-zapping aliens from another dimension. Last issue Wally built a huge freeze ray that only slowed the Cthulhu-like creatures, causing them to turn their attention from the air-breathers of the Central City to the air-breather called Wally West located in Star Labs. Fortunately, the slight delay gave Linda a chance to call in reinforcements before heading to Star Labs, where Jai and Iris attempt to help out their dad.

At first I was disappointed Waid pulled the JLA card to resolve the alien invasion. In his previous run, Waid would routinely rely on the speedster family to come together to solve the crisis on hand, but with most of the speedsters either dead or … well dead (Max Mercury, Bart Allen, Johnny Quick, Barry Allen), the Justice League seems like the best solution to put an end to the invasion. But it’s only after the issue has been read does one realize the new Waid run isn’t about big rubber monsters trying to kill everyone, but really is about the Flash family coming together.

In my last review I pointed out the problems of putting preteens in dangerous situations; at some point the social worker is going to pay you a visit and try to take away your kids. In the case of Wally and Linda, the social workers just happen to be the Justice League.

Even though the teen sidekick has been a staple in comics for years, the idea of addressing child safety has finally reared its head. The best line from the entire issue comes when Batman cranks his Bat Dickness meter up to 7 when he lectures Wally on putting kids in dangerous situations, with Wally shooting back the number of Robins Bats has gone through (it’s four by the way). And really, Bats isn’t the only pot in the room calling the kettle black.

While the writing could quickly turn into an after school special, Waid handles the awkward situation superbly and pulls on the heart strings of every reader with a child of their own when it is explained Wally and Linda don’t know when the next growth spurt will occur or how far the kids will age – they could even be dead by morning.

It is made perfectly clear, that the Wests are the new Flash Family. They are a strong family, they are sticking together come hell or high water, and not even the most powerful beings on the planet are going to change that.

I think any parent given a similar situation – Progeria being a real disease – would want their child living life to the fullest instead of sheltering them from the world. I know I would, and after reading the issue there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Granted, mine were the only eyes in the room, but still… I feel for the West family and their situation, and if Waid can pull that kind of emotion from a guy who only became a father for the first time in 36 years, then that is some damn good writing.

Damn good writing.

I’m hoping DC is doing everything in their power to keep Mark Waid on the Flash even though he may be busy as EiC at BOOM! Studios and helming his own creator owned titles. It would be a shame to lose Waid after the stellar job he has done in rebuilding the Flash title.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, next to Batman, the Flash is my favorite DC character out there. And what better way to narrow that gap between the two, than by bringing Freddie E. Williams II from Robin to take over the art duties. As I’ve already said, I was not a fan of Acuna’s work, and to see Williams step in here is a real treat. The original solicitation for this issue (and #234 and #235 for that matter) listed Acuna on art duties, so Williams showing up is also a bit of a shock. Perhaps DC really is listening to readers and made the switch to keep fans from leaving the title in droves.

While it may be a treat to see Williams on board early, the art does seem a bit rushed from what we’ve seen in the pages of Robin. It could also be the color job that tends to lean toward the Acuna style in this issue that puts me on the off side, but I’m willing to give Williams and Co. the benefit of the doubt due to getting in three issues earlier than expected.

The Good

  • The Flash family is a true family
  • The fate of Jai and Iris
  • Williams and Waid – Damn DC, way to hit one out of the park!
  • Batman

The Bad

  • Has Waid set us up for death of the twins?
  • Art seems rushed

I’m concerned that Waid may have created an out to get the Wests down back down to two, but for now I’m hooked on this story. If the twins are written out of the story I’ll be disappointed because I think a real nuclear family, as opposed to The Nuclear Family, is something that needs to be seen in the DCU. The Wild Wests is a six issue arc, and with the big bad escaping to fight again another day, this story is far from over. The team up of Waid and Williams II is perfect. Flash is going to go a long way with these two present, and it should be on your pull-list for the foreseeable future. The Flash #233 gets a big 4.5 out of 5 stars.



About Author

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...


  1. Maybe Jai will die and Iris will survive. The way how the current DCU coming along, if theyre trying to go for the “Kingdom Come” theme, Iris needs to be alive in order to be the female Flash when she grows up.

  2. Okay, I hate all things Wally and haven’t bought an issue in ages. I’m just wondering if they’ve covered the twins having more than one year’s life experience when they don;t have access to Iris’ VR childhood machine she used on Bart.

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