So as I am the new kid around here I wanted to name my posts something that can identify them different to our glorious leader and I feel that right now being the new kid on the block sidekick is a good way to identify myself. Kelson is the guy that channels the speed force. I am impulse to his wally at the moment. I might change the name later but for now I think it is a nice way to let you know when I am speaking.
So this is the place that I will be looking at The Flash and his universe at the characters and events that have shaped each person that has worn the lightning.
Ignition: the end of one age, the birth of a new one.
So today I wanted to look at the Ignition storyline that begins with Issue 201 and what the story meant to the character of the Flash and the Flash universe in general.
Ignition is an interesting issue from the perspective of serialised super hero story telling. It is a great example of how you can make large scale changes to the status quo and still maintain the integrity of the character and honour the audiences expectations.
This is the reboot that I feel the people involved with “One More Day,” the Spider-Man story that was intended to create a new paradigm for the character. But where they failed with “One More Day,” Geoff Johns succeeded: execution. Geoff Johns took the subplot that ran through the Flash starting in the last half of Mark Waid’s run (the fear of loss) and used that theme as the reason for the changes made in this story.
Mark Waid had stated several times that his fear with marrying Wally and Linda was that if he did that then the next writer to take over the character would just kill her off.
This is interesting as when you look back at the 12 months prior to the wedding and all the way through till the end of Mark Waid’s run there is a fear that starts to touch the story. A fear at the loss of Linda. Linda and her well being have such a driving effect on Wally. This is articulated by Wally by stating that Linda is his beacon. The reason that he can return form the Speed Force.
It is such a driving force in the book that the first thing that happens after Linda and Wally are married is that Linda is taken away. I feel that this is Mark Waid’s way of dealing with this issue.
So then looking at Geoff Johns’ run on the book with Linda pregnant and the ordeal of losing the babies, it is the fear of loss again that drives Wally to change the world so that no one remember that he is the Flash.
In the process Wally and Linda forget that he is the Flash and Linda carries a resentment for the Flash as she remembers that he was responsible for the loss of the twins.
Ignition is a clever story, it uses the structure of a mystery to reveal the character and world of the Flash and is one of the best rouge reveals in the books history. It gave Geoff Johns a chance to integrate the supporting characters that he had been creating into Wally’s universe and linking them more closely with him.
While not many characters are introduced in this story it is the moment that these characters feel linked to wally in a more natural way and Geoff Johns goes so far as to give Keystone city a personality all of its own.
Something he did very well later with Coast City in Green Lantern.
This storyline and reboot is one of the most important stories in the series. Firstly it creates the new Flash Status Quo. Something that really draws a line in the sand between issues before #201 and all that came later. There is a reasonable case to site Ignition as the start of a new age for the Flash.
This is when Wally faces his greatest fear (the loss of those he loves) and creates something new. This is when Wally crosses the final threshold into adulthood, a process begun by William Messner-Loebs when he started as the writer of the Flash. Wally as an adult super hero. This is the milestone that creates that maturity.
When you think about it, the character of Wally has been shaped by loss in a way that few characters have in the DC universe I think that it is fitting that loss it the catalyst that creates the next stage in Wally’s life.
This age did not last long but while it ran it was one of the finest moments that the character has ever had.