Tag Archives: Alan Burnett

Speed Reading: Flash #247 Review Round-Up

Flash #247It’s been two weeks since the final issue of The Flash came out starring Wally West*, and the reviews of Flash #247 are in.

They’re very mixed, ranging from “skip it” to a “high note.” Several make favorable comparisons to the last time Wally’s series was canceled (Flash #230). Most see this final arc as little more than a placeholder, marking time while DC prepares Flash: Rebirth.

*Until the nostalgia cycle catches up to him 20 years from now. Or until the next sales crash. Or, if we’re really lucky, until DC launches a second Flash series in parallel with Barry’s.

Looking Back: The Flash in 2008

2008 was a busy, if tumultuous year for the Flash.

The Main Series

As 2008 opened, the Flash was just wrapping up the six-part story “The Wild Wests,” the relaunch featuring Wally West as head of the Flash family and introducing his super-powered twins, Iris and Jai. To put it mildly, it was not received well by fans, and former fan favorite writer Mark Waid quickly left the book.

Flash #243After a one-shot by Keith Champagne, Tom Peyer picked up the regular writing chores and Freddie Williams II stayed on for the 6-part “Fast Money,” which resolved the twins’ super-speed aging problem and gave us a glimpse of an adult Iris West II.

The series wrapped up with the year, as Alan Burnett, Paco Diaz, and Carlo Barberi brought us “This Was Your Life, Wally West.” The four-part story arc looked back at Wally West’s career as Kid Flash, then the Flash, and his relationship with his wife Linda and their children.

Rogues’ Revenge

Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge #1The Rogues’ Gallery were off-limits to start with, as they were off-planet for Salvation Run. Early in the year, DC released the news of Flash: Rogues’ Revenge, a miniseries that would spotlight them after they returned to Earth, going after Inertia for tricking them into killing the Flash. Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins would return to the speedster mythos for six issues.

By the time the series was launched, it had become Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge, and instead of six regular-sized issues it was three oversized issues.

Continue reading

Review: Flash #247: “Incubation” (Final Issue)

Flash #247

Well, if Wally West’s series had to end — again — at least he got a decent send-off. Flash #247 concludes Alan Burnett’s four-part “This Was Your Life, Wally West”. This story wraps up threads from the current run of the series, looks back on Wally’s entire super-hero career, firmly establishes his roots in the Justice League and Titans, and sets up a few beats that can be picked up for future stories with the characters.

It picks up immediately after the previous issue’s cliffhanger, resolving the threat to Linda before rushing headlong into battle with the Queen Bee. This month does feature another flashback, this time to the West family’s time on the planet Savoth, but it’s only two pages. It ends with a conclusion that’s not quite an ending, but a place to stop. DC isn’t burning any bridges here the way they did with “Full Throttle” and the end of Bart’s series.

It’s also much better than “Finish Line,” the four-parter that wrapped up Wally’s series the last time it was canceled, from Flash #227–230. It was better written, better researched, and actually made an effort to tie together the rest of the series. The only thing “Finish Line” has over “This Was Your Life, Wally West” is consistent art.

While the first issue of the arc was penciled entirely by Paco Diaz, and the second and third were penciled entirely by Carlo Barberi, this issue was done by committee. Barberi gets the cover spot, but is joined by J. Calafiore and Andre Coelho. I’m not familiar with either of their work, so I couldn’t tell who did which pages, but the shifts in style were jarring. Normally changes in artist don’t bother me, especially if their styles are similar or if the change is done for thematic effect. (An example in The Flash would be Race Against Time, in which each issue used one art team for Wally’s storyline and another for John Fox’s.)

Brian Stelfreze’s cover, on the other hand, has got to be one of the best Flash covers since the relaunch. (I’d also include issues #243 and #246, both by Freddie Williams II) The starkness of it, with the plain white background, the shadow of the grim reaper, and the Flash standing barefoot with his boots off, says everything that needs to be said about what he’s up against. Honestly, I think it would work better without the “Wally West — Finished?” caption, or even the title logo.

Spoilers after the cut: Continue reading

Review: Flash #246: “Infection”

We’re moving into the home stretch, with the second-to-last issue of the current Flash series. Part 3 of “This Was Your Life, Wally West” is written by Alan Burnett with art by Carlo Barberi.

The book was originally solicited with a more story-related cover by Brian Stelfreeze. Normally I prefer covers that have something to do with the story over iconic covers, but I have to say this is one seriously impressive cover by Freddie Williams II.

Carlo Barberi’s art continues to work surprisingly well with the serious tone of the book (I’d previously known his work only from Impulse), and the cast list is combined with the issue’s splash page.

The threats of the Queen Bee and power loss take a back seat to a more personal story: Wally West faces the possibility that he might lose the love of his life, Linda Park West. Much of the first half of the issue is a look back at Wally and Linda’s relationship, starting with their first meeting as reporter and story subject at the end of the “Porcupine Man” saga (Flash v.2 #24–28), working through their tumultuous courtship, interrupted wedding, all the way through to the worldwide memory wipe between Blitz and Ignition.

The flashback is well-integrated with the main line of the story, as it brings up several elements that factor into the second half of the issue as the Queen Bee case takes center stage again.

Oddly, I noticed my local comic store didn’t have any copies of this issue on the shelf. I meant to ask, but forgot, whether they had reduced their order, whether they’d sold more than usual, or whether they simply hadn’t finished putting everything on the shelf. (They were still sorting through customers’ pull lists at the point I got there.)

Spoilers after the cut: Continue reading

Review: Flash #245: “Invasion”

Last month I was pleasantly surprised to find the first issue of the four-part “This Was Your Life, Wally West” was quite good — in fact, the strongest opening chapter of a Flash arc in years. So does part two hold up?

For the most part, yes, with some reservations. Admittedly, I read it right after reading the conclusion of Rogues’ Revenge, which is a tough act to follow.

Carlo Barberi (Impulse, Casey Blue) replaces Paco Diaz on the art an issue earlier than expected. He’s dialed down his usual style to the point that it actually took me several pages to recognize it, but once I knew what to look for it was instantly identifiable. It works better for Flash than I expected, though he isn’t quite as effective as Diaz at making the deadly bee weapon genuinely scary. (They still appear as a credible threat, despite Amazons Attack.)

This issue brings in guest stars galore, both in the present day and in flashbacks, linking Wally’s two super-teams: the original Teen Titans, and the Justice League of America. Members of both (and the JSA) show up to help him deal with the new development revealed in part 1, while the Titans appear in a retrospective of his Kid Flash career.

It seems thematically appropriate to team up the Flash and Black Lightning: someone who got his powers by being struck by lightning, and someone who generates electricity. Similarly, Red Arrow, while serving as a literal link between the two teams, was once known as Speedy — a name that would have worked just as well for a young speedster as it did for an archer with quick reflexes.

Spoilers after the cut: Continue reading

Bits and Pieces: Interviews and More

First off, Newsarama interviews Alan Burnett, whose 4-issue arc on The Flash started last week. He very carefully avoids giving out any spoilers, but talks about how he got the assignment and his history with reading The Flash.

Former Flash writer Mark Waid, now Editor-in-Chief of BOOM! Studios, speaks with writer Rockne O’Bannon about his upcoming Farscape comic books at Newsarama.

Marc Guggenheim, the final writer on Flash: The Fastest Man Alive, talks to the Pulse about Spider-Man, where he applies the Chewbacca Defense to “One More Day” and the end of the Spider-marriage, and to CBR about Eli Stone. (Pulse link via Lying in the Gutters; Comics Should be Good riffs on the OMD comments)

Monday’s Heroes featured the show’s first on-screen speedster, Daphne Millbrook. It was also a very good premiere. Season 3 is off to a much stronger start than last year.

Todd Klein, who designed the first post-Crisis Flash logo in 1987, looks at dots and dashes in comic lettering, and how the typewriter gave comics the double-dash (--) instead of the more standard em-dash (—). Among his examples: the last issue of Flash Comics and the lead story from Showcase #4, the last and first solo Golden Age and Silver Age Flash stories.

Speaking of Todd Klein, last Spring he wrote up a 4-part study of the Flash Logo from 1940 through the present day: Part 1 · Part 2 · Part 3 · Part 4.