Tag Archives: Emergency Stop

Secret Identities on Trial

This week, The Flash: Emergency Stop hits the shelves. The trade paperback covers half of the year-long Grant Morrison/Mark Millar run from the late 1990s, and, according to solicitations, features the conclusion of “Three of a Kind.” This three-part crossover between Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and The Flash features the second– and third-generation heroes Kyle Rayner, Connor Hawke, and Wally West. Villains Heat Wave, Sonar, and Hatchet attack a cruise liner in which Dr. Polaris is being secretly transported, only to find the three heroes have booked a vacation on the same ship.*

Three of a Kind (Triptych)

The segment in The Flash v.2 #135 focuses on the villains’ trial, with flashbacks to the incident. At the time, Wally West’s identity was public knowledge, though he testified in full costume. This in itself is unusual given standard courtroom dress codes (a skin-tight bright red costume isn’t exactly conservative business attire, and tends to stand out a bit). But then Green Lantern takes the witness stand:

The Defense questions Green Lantern pleading the 12th Amendment to keep his identity secret. The Prosecution argues that the 12th Amendment is standard procedure for super-heroes testifying in court.

The usage is similar to the U.S. Constitution’s 5th Amendment, which states in part that “No person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” Two things can be gathered from these panels:

  • The DC Universe had a “Federal Authority of Registered Meta-Humans” years before Marvel’s Civil War (though after the first story with the Mutant Registration Act).
  • The DCU version of the United States Constitution has a Twelfth Amendment which, under some circumstances, allows witnesses to give an alias rather than a real name when testifying in court.

There’s no indication that it’s required to register, or whether it’s simply a good idea if you want legal backing. It’s not even clear whether heroes have to register under their real names. I can’t remember whether any other books made reference to this authority, but suddenly I really want to find and reread my back issues of Chase.

In the real world, the Twelfth Amendment dates back to 1803 (passed 1804) and changes the way the President and Vice-President are elected. Assuming the DCU’s US just has one more Constitutional amendment than we do, their Twelfth would be just about as old, which leads to the question: Why did they need to amend the supreme law of the land to allow masked heroes to testify 130 years before the Golden Age of super-heroes?

Thinking about it, though, DC does have super-heroes whose adventures take place in earlier eras, especially in North America. Not just heroes of the Western genre like Jonah Hex or Bat Lash, but classical super-heroes with masks, costumes and powers. Max Mercury’s origin dates back to the early 1800s, for instance, and Miss Liberty (an ancestor of Jesse Quick/Liberty Belle) fought in the American Revolution.

Might the early United States in the DC Universe have decided it was worth letting some of their more colorful national heroes remain pseudonymous even in legal proceedings? It’s certainly possible.

Whatever the circumstances of its passage, it sheds some light on the otherwise nonsensical fact that Barry Allen kept his mask on and his identity secret from his arrest all the way through his trial for manslaughter in the case of Professor Zoom’s death, dissected in great detail by Bob Ingersoll.

The Flash's Mug Shot (Flash v.1 #326, October 1983)

*It’s a little more complicated than that, of course.

No Black Flash Trade Yet

Contrary to previous reports, it turns out that “The Black Flash” isn’t getting the collected edition treatment just yet. Now that DC’s December solicitations are out, they’ve officially solicited the January 21 release of The Flash: Emergency Stop. It’s confirmed at a $12.95 trade paperback covering Flash vol.2 #130-135 — only half of the Grant Morrison/Mark Millar run.

So what does that include?

  • “Emergency Stop” — Flash vs. the Suit, with a time travel mystery.
  • A one-shot fighting the Mirror Master.
  • A one-shot focusing on Jay Garrick.
  • The third part of the “Three of a Kind” crossover with Green Arrow and Green Lantern.

See also my overview of the whole run.

The surprise here isn’t that it’s only half the run. 6 issues is typical for a collection these days, and since the whole run is 12 issues, that makes it easy to cover the whole thing in two books.

The surprise is that with “Three of a Kind,” they included 1/3 of a 3-part story. At least it should flow reasonably well, since it was told with its own framing sequence, but it’s still an odd choice.

Update: “The Black Flash” will appear in Flash: The Human Race, shipping in June 2009.

Flash Comics for December 2008 – Updated

The preview of DC’s December 2008 solicitations is are up at Newsarama and CBR. Here are the Flash-related books listed so far.

Update: Full solicitations are up. Read on!

The Flash #247

Written by Alan Burnett
Art by Carlo Barberi & Drew Geraci
Cover by Brian Stelfreeze

“This Was Your Life, Wally West” concludes! As Flash stands alone without his powers or family to support him, only one question remains – is this end of the Fastest Man Alive?

On sale December 24 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Notes: Surpisingly enough, the solicitation doesn’t actually say that it’s the last issue.

Team books and events appear after the cut. Continue reading

Emergency Stop: Full Run?

Rumor column Lying in the Gutters seems to think that the upcoming Emergency Stop trade paperback contains the entire Morrison/Millar run on The Flash from 1997. And considering that Amazon is currently quoting a list price of $60(!), I certainly hope so! For that price — heck, even for the discounted price of $37.80 — it ought to be both complete and a hardcover!

It’s still listed as shipping in January, so with any luck we’ll get more solid information in DC’s next round of solicitations.

On a related note, the first real substantive post I made on this blog was a summary of the Morrison/Millar run. I don’t remember what price Amazon was quoting back then.

The Black Flash to be Traded

Here’s a quick update on the earlier post about the Morrison/Millar run getting the trade paperback treatment. Collected Editions reports that “The Black Flash” will be included in The Flash: Emergency Stop.

This is a good move, as it’s the story from that period that has added the most to the mythos. The Black Flash, the personification of death for speedsters, has shown up in two pivotal arcs: “Mercury Falling” in Impulse, and “Full Throttle” in Flash: The Fastest Man Alive. It was in “Full Throttle” that Inertia and the Rogues killed Bart Allen, just a short time into his career as the fourth Flash. The consequences of that event have spun into Countdown, Salvation Run, the current “Fast Money,” and the upcoming Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge.

Incidentally, several months ago the Black Flash made an appearance in Something Positive as the only Flash villain that Davan MacIntire likes. The presentation almost makes it look kindly as it carries a dying Flash away. (Warning: while that particular strip is “work-safe,” the webcomic and the commentary often feature adult language, situations, and offensive humor.)

Morrison/Millar Run on Flash to be Collected

Updated: See end of post! Back in 1997, Mark Waid took a break from writing The Flash so he could work on JLA: Year OneFinal Crisis scribe Grant Morrison and Civil War writer Mark Millar stepped in for a year, co-writing issues #130-138, with Millar writing #139-141 solo.  At the end of the year, Waid and Brian Augustyn returned with the epic “Chain Lightning.”  To date, none of the Morrison/Millar run has ben collected.

The stories had a much more sci-fi take on the character than had been seen since the Silver Age, and included:

Emergency Stop (#130-132): The Flash finds his own dead body, sent back in time from the future, and has to solve his own murder.  Introduced The Suit, the ultimate super-villain costume that came to life, draining those who wore it.

Flash Through the Looking Glass (#133), battling the Mirror Master.

Still Life in the Fast Lane (#134): A spotlight on Jay Garrick, the original Flash, as he fills in for an injured Wally West.

Three of a Kind (#135): Part of a crossover with Green Lantern and Green Arrow, in which the youngest members of the Justice League try to take a vacation…only to find a trio of super-villains is on the same cruise.

The Human Race (#136-138): Wally must compete in a galactic race against his childhood imaginary friend, Krakkl of the planet Kwyzz.  If he loses, Earth is destroyed.  If he wins, Krakkl’s homeworld is destroyed.

The Black Flash (#139-141): Death comes to everyone, even speedsters… but this time, Death takes the wrong target.  Introduced the Black Flash, who featured prominently on the cover of last year’s cover for Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13 (remember those Dead Flash Covers?).

Now, eagle-eyed Comic Bloc poster Lee H has spotted The Flash: Emergency Stop on Amazon, coming in January 2009.  There’s no official word yet, and the Amazon listing doesn’t include a page count, so it’s not clear how many of the issues will appear.  We may find out soon, however: tomorrow DC will announce solicitations for September, and they usually include upcoming collected works as well.

Update (June 20): Collected Editions reports that the book does include “The Black Flash.” Whether that means the entire run is included, or just the first and last arcs, remains to be seen.

Update: It turns out that the 12-issue run is being split across two trades, Emergency Stop and The Human Race. “The Black Flash” appears in the latter.