Tag Archives: Mike Baron

This Week: Digital Flashback – Flash (Wally West) #13-14

Among this week’s ComiXology releases are The Flash vol.2 #13-14, in which Wally West, still early in his solo career, battles Vandal Savage and a host of Savage’s pawns given super-speed by the drug Velocity 9.

This completes the Mike Baron run on the character, except for the 1987 Flash Annual #1 (a stand-alone story mixing the Flash with movie-style martial arts as Wally accidentally develops the “death touch”). Since ComiXology already had the first four issues of the William Messner-Loebs run (including the recommended “Adventures of Speed McGee” three-parter), this also completes the first 18 issues of the series, and the Vandal Savage/Velocity 9 story that spans the transition between writers.

» The Flash (1987-2009) at ComiXology

This Week: Digital Flash Back Issues – Wally West #7-12 & Adventure Comics #461-466

DC and ComiXology have added six more issues of the 1987 Flash vol.2 starring Wally West, all at the 99-cent price point.

These issues introduce Red Trinity and Blue Trinity, two teams of ex-Soviet speedsters, as well as Chunk, who would go on to become a regular supporting cast member. Issue #12 begins the Vandal Savage/Velocity 9 story that straddles the transition from Mike Baron to William Messner-Loebs.

70 issues out of 249 (including #0 and #1,000,000) are now available digitally, including the complete first year. Mike Baron’s run is almost complete, with just two more issues to go. It’s not clear whether DC has a regular schedule for these digital back-issues, but the last time they added to this series was January’s addition of #1-6. This suggests that they’ll be adding six issues every few months, starting at the beginning and working forward, filling in around the issues released as part of the Flash 101 promotion last year.

» The Flash (1987-2009) on ComiXology

They’ve also added six issues of Adventure Comics from its 1970s run as an anthology book. Issues #459-466 featured eight Flash solo stories starring Barry Allen. During the heavily serialized Bronze Age, these were throwbacks to the more goofy done-in-one Silver Age stories. I didn’t even know about them until I read one of Mark Waid’s interviews in The Flash Companion, then I started tracking them down on eBay. I’ve read the lot of them, and wrote about the stories here a couple of years back. ComiXology has Adventure Comics #461-466 online at $1.99 each.

Only a handful of the Silver/Bronze Age Flash series are available, most posted during the Flash 101 sale mentioned above.

» The Flash (1959-1985) on ComiXology
» Adventure Comics on ComiXology

Mo’s Flash Volume 2 Reviews: Review Three

Flash #5, October 1987

Story overview:
The issue starts out in Syracuse, New York and Tina McGee is telling Jerry, her husband, that they are getting a divorce. Jerry doesn’t like this and takes it out on Tina. Jerry abuses Tina and runs off to Volton Labs, division 8, where he works. He injects himself with a steroid which we learn is making him angry and abusive. It’s his 29th injection of steroid B-Q19 and he says that he is “now ready to proceed with stage three of Project Ubermensch. The story now cuts to Long Island where Flash is putting together a TV set with full surround sound stereo. He gets a call from Tina and she tells him what has happened between her and Jerry. Note that both her and Flash don’t know about Project Ubermensch. Flash runs to Tina and on his way explains how he met her and all that jazz from issues #3 and #4. He gets to her at a fine dining spot called the Blue Swan where Flash has 2 meals. Tina explains to Flash that Jerry has been taking steroids (she doesn’t know what they do) and that they make Jerry paranoid, dangerous, and crazy. She says that Jerry can find her in the city and she wants to leave, but is afraid he’ll follow them out. Wally runs her to his place and shows her around. While this is happening, Jerry puts on a suit and we learn that the steroid gave him super speed and he is pretty damn strong. He acts completely paranoid and starts his hunt for Tina and Wally. Note that Wally’s secret identity isn’t so secret. Cut back to Long Island where Wally’s father is at the door. He explains to Wally that he and Wally’s mother were experiencing some difficulties and they used up the $500,000 that Wally gave them when he won the lotto. Tina shows Wally an editorial in the newspaper that cancels his town’s liability service since he moved in. Tina and Wally go to a very nice place to eat (he has two filet mignons and a lobster), Wally’s Pops stay in Wally’s house sleeping. In the restaurant Wally spots the president of the city council who wrote the editorial in the newspaper. They have quite the heated discussion about the editorial and all. Once home, Wally and Tina go to sleep in their respective rooms. Tina comes into Wally’s room saying that she only feels safe in his arms and some more lovey dovey jibber-jabber. They hear a few CRASH-BOOM-THUMPS and the house’s alarm system rings. A fist comes through the wall of the room Wally and Tina are in and it turns out to be crazy Jerry McGee—all steroided up; fast and strong. Flash lays a few punches on him when Jerry runs off with Tina. Angry, crazy, and blind Jerry with Tina in his arms makes a ‘SPLANG-WHUMP’ into none other than a Texaco Fuel Depot. And BOOM!

It amazes me how much story they fit in comics back then. At quite a few points in the story, I could see the issue ending right then and there, and it didn’t! I’m guessing this is because I’m used to today’s shorter storied comics. This issue really stresses Jerry’s psycho – craziness. It has him beating up complete strangers for looking at him in his ridiculous yellow and purple suit. I mean if you saw a random person in an outlandish yellow/ purple suit, who wouldn’t look? Jerry’s paranoia is almost to the point of no return. Things I noticed throughout the issue:
•No offense to Jackson Guice, but the anatomy in this issue is really well, an issue (I know, I had to).
•Flash’s symbol is a lot higher up on his chest throughout the issue, even noticeably on the cover.
•No offense to any colourists from 1987, but to me it looks like colourists had a heck of a easier job than they do today.
•Lots of BAM-POW-THUD-CRASH-WHACK-POP’s in this issue.
•This is more of a general Flash Vol. 2 so far thing I noticed—there’s a lot of jumping out of/being thrown out windows.
Overall, I really like how this story is going and it’s definitely believable.

Writing: Five out of five stars. Believable, and fun.
Art: Four out of five stars. Anatomy really annoyed me at some parts.

Favorite Quote:
“But, dad! I thought that money would help you and mom!” “Well I suppose it did for a while…. But now that it’s gone…” “But DAD! That was $500,000!” –Wally West, Rudolph West, page 15.

As usual, more after the break!

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Mo’s Flash Volume 2 Reviews: Review Two

Flash #3, August 1987

Story overview:
This issue is not a good day for Wally. First, he gets a speeding ticket (oh the irony, Flash getting a speeding ticket) and he says ‘I’m not going to let this ruin my day.’ He gets home to his mansion and there’s a note for him from Fran. It reads:
Dear Wally –
I have moved out. It was a mistake to move in with you. Things are happening too fast. I still love you, but I need some time to myself.
I’ll be in touch!
♥ Francine
Wally’s response is once again: ‘I’m NOT going to let this ruin my day. Flash has an appointment with a few doctors at S.T.A.R. Labs in Utah the next day about this speed, which can’t even pass the speed of sound. There are rumors going through the Lab about a mechanical monster that is near the Labs. Flash hears of them but of course disregards them. His main doctor is Professor Schmitz and his nutritionist is Tina McGee. Flash wakes up for an early jog when he passes a huge mechanical robot monster in the desert not too far from S.T.A.R. It attacks him, so instinctively he runs back to S.T.A.R. and the robot follows. It starts attacking everyone outside of the building and during the attack Professor Schmitz loses a finger. Everybody is forced inside by security, only to be locked in by the robot that controls all the computers in the world. It calls itself Kilg%re and announces its control of computers and play to rid the world of humans through S.T.A.R. Labs’ computers. The National Guard eventually breaks in and Kilg%re’s message is spread upon every television and computer in the USA telling everyone to flee the country or die. Flash, Tina, Professor Schmitz, and two of the National Guard are in a car driving back to the local town when flash notices that Professor Schmitz’s finger grew back.

Overall a very good issue. I liked the “This is not going to ruin my day” motif throughout the book. I feel like in Flash books, a lot should happen fast and this issue does just that. Very action packed, a lot of high paced crazy robot fighting goodness. The Flash getting a ticket for speeding in his Porsche is pretty funny… oh the irony. Kilg%re’s is a little bit iffy, it seemed very far out. I definitely liked how it ended, very cliffhanger-y. It makes you question whether Professor Schmitz is completely innocent, something I for one took for granted.

Writing: Five out of five stars. Loved it. Pacing, action, and cliffhanger all were nicely excicuted.
Art: Four out of five stars. Anatomy and consistency were a little off.

Favorite Quote:
“That does it! Everyone into the building right now!…”-Security Guy, time passes, “Its coming in the building! I think everyone should get the hell out!” –Wally; page 13

More after the break:

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Mo’s Flash Volume 2 Reviews: Review One

Hey guys, its Mo! Really happy to be here, this is a really cool opportunity to share my reviews with people not on the ‘Bloc! Thanks Kelson!

Alright, here’s the first review, and when I did this one, I was just getting used to how I was going to go about this, so don’t worry it only gets better!

Flash #1, June 1987

Story overview:
In the beginning, Wally buys lotto tickets and 6 Baby Ruths. He gets home for a ‘surprise’ party, which he knew about. The Titans and Wally’s girlfriend Francine throw it for him and for about 5 minutes and they have a great time. Wally gets a pair of shoes with ‘a special fiberglass sole which is good for 100,000 KM at 700 MPH’ made by S.T.A.R. Labs from the Titans. At the party, Wally eats an enormous amount of hamburgers, as eating is a theme throughout the issue. Before they even get to the cake, the party is cut short by a phone call from a Dr. Aikens who tells him that he needs to deliver a heart for a transplant that won’t make it in time due to bad weather. Note that when Wally walks in his office, Dr. Aikens calls him Kid Flash, which is corrected by Wally as Flash. Wally says he’ll do it for a price which the Doc isn’t too happy about. The deal finally is decided for the hospital to call on Wally whenever they want, as long as they take care of his medical bills. On his way out, an unnamed doctor calls him Kid Flash again, to be corrected by another unnamed doctor. He runs for quite a while when he sees Vandal Savage killing a detective who was on Savage’s case. Wally runs the detective to the local police station and as he runs to give the heart transplant, he can’t get Savage’s name out of his head. He gets to the hospital just in time for when he passes out, and sleeps for seventeen hours before awaking in perfect health. He runs to McDonald’s and gets five double cheeseburgers and four chocolate malts before he comes back to the hospital to see the patient who he ran the heart for. She happens to be an author that Wally has read books from and talks with her for a while before returning home on an airplane. On the airplane, he stops a hijacking and sprains his hand in doing so. He has six dinners and sleeps until he gets off the plane. When he gets to his apartment, nobody is there but his happy birthday banner is still up. He turns on the TV and realizes he won the lotto when the lottery comes on. He sees a present which he didn’t see before he left, opens it and in it there is a heart. Like the type you’d find in a human. The issue ends with Vandal Savage in Wally’s apartment.

The story seemed a little flat to me and although there were some surprises (Vandal Savage and the heart present), I just didn’t feel like it was that intense. In the issue, Wally can’t top the speed of sound which really sets a slow pace for the book. It takes him something like three hours to get to Seattle from the hospital, which frankly isn’t that impressive. Of course at the time, his top speed was 705 MPH and that was very fast for him at the time, which compared to his speed today is fast. I guess if I was reading this in 1987 and I was used to Wally being that fast, I wouldn’t think twice of it. My favorite part of it was when he was stopping the plane hijackers, which took him all of three seconds. The way that part was paced was perfect. And when he jumps back into his seat, the guy next to him asks Wally, ‘Did you see that?’ which was a nice way to end the scene for me. The ending did make it so I want to read the next issue, so I’m going to go do that now!!

Writing: four out of five stars. I really liked this issue, but I’m holding back that one star because it didn’t seem like a first issue of a series to me.
Art: five out of five. I had no problems with the art.
Favorite Quote:
“All of a sudden, I’m a millionaire.” –Wally, page 20

Keep reading for issue #2! Continue reading

Flash Companion Preview: Mike Baron Interview

The following is a 1-page excerpt from the new book, The Flash Companion. The full interview appears in the second section of the book. It is printed here with permission of the book’s main author, Keith Dallas.

The Flash Companion will be available at the TwoMorrows booth at Comic-Con International this week, and should arrive in stores either next week or the week after. Orders through Amazon are shipping now.

Mike Baron: Wally West’s Fast Living (excerpt)

By Keith Dallas

DALLAS: It seemed pretty obvious that during your run on Flash you were avoiding the classic Flash Rogues. No Captain Cold, no Captain Boomerang, no Mirror Master. Instead you introduced some completely new villains… with the exception of Vandal Savage. What particular reason did you have for starting this Flash re-launch with Savage as the villain?

BARON: I can’t exactly recall, but for starters, he’s a great villain. It may also have been that I wanted to have some continuity in that first issue between Barry Allen and Wally West.

I would like to do a lot more with Kilg%re. That’s my main character that I created for Flash. He and the Chunk.

DALLAS: What was it about Kilg%re that you liked?

BARON: He encapsulates a number of science fiction ideas that lend themselves to exciting story-telling. Dark Horse took a stab at it with a movie called Virus, which is very similar in idea to Kilg%re. It wasn’t the greatest movie in the world. It starred Jamie Lee Curtis.

DALLAS: I remember that movie.

Now what was it about Chunk that you liked?

BARON: He was kind of a projection of me. The ultimate nerd.

DALLAS: [laughs] It didn’t take you long to show that Chunk wasn’t a true villain.

BARON: No, he was just an outsider who wanted to belong.

DALLAS: Is that a sentiment that you felt perhaps the readers could connect to?

BARON: Oh, yeah!

DALLAS: The other two villains you introduced during your run on Flash were Speed Demon — the steroid monster gone crazy — and Blue Trinity — the Russian Soviet speedsters. Continue reading