April 27, 2012

Geoff Johns’ Flash: All About Speed?

Category: Flash History, Opinion — By @ 11:20 am

Monday’s post about how Wally West’s dynamic character makes him harder to reboot than Barry Allen got me thinking about something Geoff Johns said to Hero Complex when he took over the book back in 2009:

But you look at what the theme of Flash’s book has been for the last 200-something issues with Wally West and it’s been about a man trying to fill someone else’s boots. It doesn’t really have anything to do with speed. I mean, it has something to do with speed, but it was not totally what the book was about. The new Flash that I’m doing is all about speed.

At the time, I found it disingenuous because Geoff Johns wrote six years of that run himself, and he could have focused more heavily on speed with Wally West if he’d wanted to. And I found it worrying because he felt Wally’s defining characteristic was wanting to be like Barry Allen. Not the journey of becoming a hero, not learning to be an adult, but specifically trying to be someone he’s not.

But now I find the quote even more annoying, and here’s why:

Geoff Johns’ Flash, from Rebirth through Flashpoint, is not all about speed. It’s not even about hope, as suggested in Blackest Night.

It’s about a man so driven by grief that he nearly destroyed the world. Not even through speed, but through time travel.

The great over-arching Flash story from 2009-2011 might have been more appropriate for Booster Gold or Rip Hunter. (Or maybe Green Lantern/Hal Jordan, considering that it sounds a little like Emerald Twilight and Zero Hour when you break it down that far.)

Oh, well. Time to chalk it up as one more missed opportunity from that run, and Move Forward.