The current Weekend Hashtag Project on Instagram is #WHPtakebackflash. The idea is to use the flash on your phone camera…but the double meaning was too good to pass up.
Sorry I missed the regular “Out This Week” column, on a week that actually featured a new Flash issue no less. Since that’s already covered (and reviewed!), I’ll just focus on the digital backlist: Impulse #88 by Todd Dezago, Carlo Barberi and Terry Austin.
Reality has been restored to normal, but one thing remains from the time when Impulse held the cosmic powers of Bedlam: He knows where (and when) his mother and his best friend Carol went after the events of Dark Tomorrow. He speeds into the 63rd century to find they’re playing the most dangerous game show on an alien world…but the ringmasters have decided a speedster would be an even better star for this deadly reality series!
This is the second to last issue of Impulse. Within a few weeks, the entire series (minus annuals) will be available digitally.
Flash comics out this week:
Justice League #22: “Trinity War part 1! The death of a hero ignites a violent war among the Justice Leagues! It’s League vs. League vs. League as an impending darkness approaches the DC Universe. Continued in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA (2013- ) #6.”
And in digital backissues, DC seems to be alternating Flash and Impulse now as they add to their back catalog at ComiXology.
Impulse #73. Part 1 of “Dark Tomorrow,” Bart pursues Carol to the future where he finds that someone close to him has created an army of super-speedsters who answer only to the President of Earth – a President named Thawne.
New Flash comics this week include:
Flash #19: Trapped in Iron Heights without his powers (as a result of Dial H #11), Barry Allen has to fend off the attack of the Outlanders. All he has are his wits…and the Rogues’ confiscated weapons. Brian Buccellato and Marcio Takara, cover by Francdis Manapul. Preview at Uproxx.
Justice League Dark #19: The House of Mystery is under seige—can special guest star The Flash help Justice League Dark battle this unexpected threat? Jeff Lemire & Ray Fawkes, Mikel Janin. Preview at BuzzFeed.
Teen Titans #19: Which new member of the Teen Titans reveals his true colors? Scott Lobdell, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira. Preview at CBR.
Meanwhile in digital back issues:
Flash #128-129: “Hell to Pay” parts 2-3. The dead Rogues have returned to earth — or rather, their reanimated bodies have, and without their souls to keep them in check, they’re laying waste to Keystone City! Only Wally West can stop them, but he’ll have to make a literal deal with the devil to do so.
Impulse #67: After the events of “Mercury Falling,” heroes gather to celebrate the life of Max Mercury. Todd Dezago, Ethan Van Sciver & Andrew Hennessy.
Impulse #68: Impulse “rescues” Adam Strange from a Zeta beam and ends up on the alien world of Rann. Part one of a two-part “Green Lantern: Circle of Fire” epilogue. Todd Dezago, Battle & Buzz. (I meant to review this story for The Indigo Tribe’s Circle of Fire event, but didn’t have enough time after I reviewed the Green Lantern/Adam Strange issue.)
I’d like to add that Impulse #67 was the best fake-out I’ve ever seen in the era of online solicitations and spoilers everywhere. DC didn’t write a fake solicitation or block out parts of the cover art. All they did was post the artwork showing Max Mercury (I’m such a digital packrat that I still have it) and state that heroes gathered together to honor him. Then the next two issues put Bart off-planet on Rann for the Green Lantern/Adam Strange guest spot, so there was literally no way to know whether Max would survive “Mercury Falling” until the conclusion hit the shelves.
In the land down under, The Flash must face the consequences of his choices. Superman and Wonder Woman have brought their campaign for a new world order to Australia and are confronted by a new hero. But what connection does this would-be champion have to the Scarlet Speedster?
Digital backissues include:
Flash #125: Lead-in to “Hell to Pay.” Rejected by Keystone City, Wally West protects the coastal city of Santa Marta, California, where Major Disaster plans to create a massive earthquake. Meanwhile, Keystone’s mayor finds that kicking the Flash out might not have been the best idea when the Rogues return from the dead. Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn, Paul Ryan & John Nyberg.
Impulse #63-64: “Mercury Falling” continues. Can Impulse pull together what it takes to save the dying Max Mercury? Or is inertia keeping him from unleashing his full potential? Bart says goodbye to his oldest friend in these issues. Todd Dezago, Ethan van Sciver.
Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out just what is more dangerous in the DC Universe – to be a Robin or to wear a lightning bolt on your shirt? There seem to be a lot of beloved characters falling by the wayside lately, and it bears some examination. After all, Jason Todd, Stephanie Brown, and now Damian Wayne have all died while wearing the symbol of Robin. It hasn’t been the safest role to take on in the DCU…although I would make an argument that running fast seems to attract even more trouble.
In the latest print issue of Smallville Season Eleven we find the conclusion of the story arc that features Bart Allen, the Impulse of the Smallville-verse. In this story, Clark and his good friend Bart are reunited in a globe-hopping battle against the Black Racer, the enemy of Flashes past and present. In the end, Bart saves the day…but sacrifices himself to do so. All we are left with are Clark’s plans to build “a big statue” to Bart, and another Flash that has left some form or other of DC continuity.
This adds to the demise of the Wally West of Earth 16 in “Young Justice”, and the deaths and disappearances of Flashes over the years. Let’s take a partial toll here:
- Barry Allen died saving the Earth in Crisis on Infinite Earths, remaining basically “dead” until Flash Rebirth.
- Jay Garrick and the rest of the JSA died over and over again soon after CoIE while in a continual time loop, fighting the battle of Ragnarok. This is where they stayed for several years until they were brought back into DC continuity.
- Wally West has been in and out of the Speed Force, presumed dead more than once, killed in the Flashpoint series without ever having taken on the mantle of Flash, and now does not even exist in the New52. He was killed once again on Earth 16 in Young Justice as noted above.
- Bart Allen was pummeled to death by the Rogues while serving as the fourth Flash, being brought back to life some time later. And, as noted above, his Smallville-verse self just took a one-way ticket (presumably) into the Speed Force.
The toughest part of all this for me is the way the actual deaths are being handled lately. Bart’s passing in Smallville felt forced…it wasn’t truly necessary. Yes, he got rid of the menace…but how did that help Clark and the rest of the Smallville gang? Believe it or not…exposure to Speed Force energy somehow cleansed Clark of the tracking radiation Luthor was using to follow Superman’s every move. This allowed Superman to resume acting as Clark Kent without being found out by Luthor.
In other words…Bart’s sacrifice was made so that he could act as a “spot-remover” to some radiation that was creating an inconvenience for Clark.
I have supported (and continue to support) the New52 volume of The Flash, as it represents some of the finest scripting and art in the DC lineup today. I’m not the guy that would ask “Where’s Wally?” for the thousandth time to Dan Didio at a con. I do like most of what I see from DC – I’m a DC guy and have been for over 40 years of collecting. I’m just sad to see the plot device of killing off speedsters used so much. It seems that being a Robin or a Flash means you are wearing a red shirt in the metaphorical sense as well as in the literal sense…and both roles are simply too valuable to the history of the DC Universe to continue to be treated in that way.