Tag Archive for 'Flash'

The Flash, Season 1

The Flash, Season 1 (5/19/15) CW (2014-15 ***1/2) Series created by Greg Berlanti, Geoff Johns, and Andrew Kreisberg, starring Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Jesse L. Martin and Tom Cavanagh. A potent mix of lightning, police lab chemicals and a massive particle accelerator accident transforms Barry Allen into the fastest man alive. There has always been something about The Flash as a character that appealed to me, going back to childhood when I read the comics. And I really don’t believe it was about wish fulfillment regarding his particular powers. Super-speed is cool and all, but I think the thing that made me a fan of The Flash was more about the tone of the character. There was just an inherent “fun factor” in the comics, and the creators of the CW show have done a fine job of capturing that. Hell, I just loved that the TV series had the balls to embrace the “Scarlet Speedster” mythos from the comics, almost wholesale. In addition to that, I also was in for a treat in terms of the show’s storyline, which featured heavy servings of time travel, running (pun intended) throughout. I’m very much looking forward to the second season in the fall. How long will The Flash continue to run (not sorry)? Unlike Barry Allen, I can’t peek into the future, but my guess is a long time. After only one season, it has already taken the place in my heart left vacant by the end of The CW’s Smallville (2001-2011), which ran (last time, I promise) for ten seasons.

The Flash, Vol. 1: Move Forward

The Flash, Vol. 1: Move Forward (11/13/13) Comics (2013 ***1/4) Written by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, illustrated by Francis Manaapul. Originally published in The Flash #1-8. The fastest man alive takes on a multiplicity villain named Mob Rule and comes to grips with the negative side-effects of his tapping into the Speed Force. I believe this is the first “New 52” book I’ve read. I’m not completely clear on the concept, whether this is a reboot of Barry Allen’s Flash or not. It was an enjoyable enough read, with plenty of action and a semi-interesting love triangle between Barry Allen, his girlfriend Patty and an intrepid reporter named Iris West. My one concern with the book was that several potentially cumbersome complications or questionable changes (like an enormous “cosmic” treadmill that can power the city and Captain Cold no longer needing a gun) are added to the Flash universe, and I can’t help but wonder if they won’t end up discarded later in the series.

Flashpoint

Flashpoint (5/26/12) Comics (2011 ***1/4) Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by Andy Kubert and Sandra Hope. Originally published in Flashpoint #1-5. Barry Allen finds himself in a twisted parallel dystopian universe where he has no powers and everything has changed for the worse. I think I must still have a bad taste in my mouth from DC’s Blackest Night. Flashpoint has one of those “large in scope” storylines that could have easily been turned into yet another Geoff Johns / DC Comics / “gotta collect all fifty issues across sixteen titles” event, and I was so very thankful it was not. The premise was fun and felt fresh, offering a look at several DC characters in a new, alternate reality kind of light, particularly Bruce Wayne’s father Thomas Wayne as an older, Clint Eastwood-inspired Batman.

The Flash: The Dastardly Death of the Rogues

The Flash: The Dastardly Death of the Rogues (5/26/12) Comics (2011 ***1/2) Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by Francis Manapul and Scott Kolins. Originally published in The Flash #1-7 and The Flash Secret Files and Origins 2010. Barry Allen has returned from the grave… or the “Speed Force” or something, and he’s immediately accused of a murder he’s yet to commit by a group of 25th Century law officers that bear a strange resemblance to the rogues. After reading five volumes of Jonathan Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four and FF, Geoff Johns’ writing was a welcome relief. The storytelling and characterizations were clearly and authoritatively presented and there was a good balance between punch-ups and ongoing drama. I did get a sense that Johns was still trying to figure out what makes Barry Allen tick, but overall the story was a nice, easy ride.

Blackest Night: Black Lantern Corps, Vol. 2

Blackest Night: Black Lantern Corps, Vol. 2 (10/10/11) Comics (2010 ***) Written by Geoff Johns, James Robinson and Greg Rucka, illustrated by various. This volume collects material originally presented in Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1-3, Blackest Night: JSA #1-3 and Blackest Night: Flash #1-3. Geoff Johns’ “Blackest Night” crisis event continues to touch everybody in the DC family. Please refer to my review of Vol. 1 for a description of where this book fits in the 7-book “Blackest Night” collection. One thing I didn’t mention in my previous review was that because several different writers and artists were involved in these “spotlight” stories, there was a bit of unevenness. In a book like this, however, the 3 story-arcs could be thought of as “chapters.” Honestly, there’s a fragmented-ness to the entire “Blackest Night” event, which interfered with my ability to really get into the story. At this point, I definitely feel that the “right” thing (as a reader) to do would be to get to the end of the set of books (only two more to go!), then turn around and re-read the entire thing. I’m not going to actually do that, mostly due to time constraints and the fact that I haven’t been enjoying this series nearly as much as I might have expected… from a freakin’ all-out zombie invasion of the DC Universe.

The Flash: The Wild Wests

The Flash: The Wild Wests (7/14/11) Comics (2008 **1/2) Written by Mark Waid, illustrated by Daniel Acuna and Freddie Williams II. Original published in The Flash #231-237 (2007-2008). Wally West, his wife Linda and their kids Iris and Jai return from the planet Savoth to defend Keystone City from alien invasion… as a family. As much as I enjoyed Acuna’s artwork, I wish I could say I liked the “hyper-accelerated growth kids” premise more. It seems Waid was intent on redefining Wally West / The Flash for seemingly the 105th time, and it just didn’t click for me. The core conflict was set up (presumably) to be between the dangers of superheroic battles with deadly threats and keeping one’s children (and innocence) safe. It’s too bad Waid couldn’t take a page from Robert Kirkman’s Invincible series, which has explored similar thematic territory, but of course that level of ultraviolence would be way too much for DC’s mainstream audience.

The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive: Full Throttle

The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive: Full Throttle (7/14/11) Comics (2007 **1/2) Written by Marc Guggenheim, Mark Waid and various, illustrated by Tony Daniel and various. Originally published in The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #7-13, All Flash #1 and DCU Infinite Holiday Special (2007). Bart Allen must be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice when he takes on his evil clone Inertia and the Rogues at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. As dramatic a volume as this potentially was, I simply wasn’t moved or particularly entertained; the art was fine, but the story offered no real punch. The truth is I never truly bought into the idea of Bart Allen as The Flash.

The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive: Lightning in a Bottle

The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive: Lightning in a Bottle (6/24/11) Comics (2007 ***) Written by Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo, illustrated (mostly) by Ken Lashley. Originally published in The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1-6 (2006-2007). When Bart Allen’s roommate gains powers and becomes a morality-challenged superhero, Bart must put on a clone of his grandfather’s scarlet and gold suit and take “The Griffin” down. Comic book continuity is a funny thing. Seems like just the day before yesterday when I was reading a wonderful Geoff Johns-penned Wally West Flash volume (The Flash, Vol. 7: Rogue War), but in the next book in my borrowed-from-a-friend stack, Wally is gone and the “impulsive” Bart has mysteriously aged four years into young adulthood. Clearly I’ve missed something along the way. The writing in Lightning in a Bottle wasn’t nearly as strong as Geoff Johns at his best, but it wasn’t terrible. And while Ken Lashley’s art was serviceable, my favorite art in this collection was rendered by Karl Kershl in issue #3. All in all, I’m not crazy about a grown-up Bart Allen as The Flash, but with only two books remaining in the stack I suppose I’ll stick with it and see where it goes.

The Flash, Vol. 7: Rogue War

The Flash, Vol. 7: Rogue War (6/23/11) Comics (2006 ***1/2) Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by Howard Porter and Livesay. Originally published in Flash # 1/2, 212, 218, 220-225 (2004-05). This volume begins with full-issue backstory explorations of villains Mirror Master and Heat Wave, then transitions into the titular war between active and reformed rogues, and ends with a return of Professor Zoom. As I read this book it was absolutely clear that Geoff Johns really hit his stride. This collection of stories was well written and thoroughly compelling. Highly recommended.

The Flash, Vol. 6: The Secret of Barry Allen

The Flash, Vol. 6: The Secret of Barry Allen (6/18/11) Comics (2005 ***1/2) Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by Howard Porter and Livesay. Originally published in Flash #207-211, 213-217 (2004). This storyline mostly runs in parallel with the superb Brad Meltzer-penned Identity Crisis. When Wally West learns that his uncle and hero Barry Allen slid down the slippery moral slope and “fixed” the psyche of supervillain The Top, Wally must try to do what he can to put things right, even if it comes at the expense of making his life considerably harder. There was plenty of evidence in this volume that after some period of struggle Geoff Johns finally figured out what made The Flash work as a character and as a book. It was also fun to see him continue to dig into Wally’s relationship with the rest of the DC universe, including a touching “best friendship” with fellow original Teen Titan Dick Grayson.