Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Onomatopoeia: KRA-KAAASSH

KRA-KAAASSH: As the decade wanes, it's only fitting that we end the year with a bang. And what a bang! Apparently, an exploding laser turret will provide a more than sufficient festive pop. So colorful, too! Supervillains, if your own high-tech weapon of mass destruction emits a similar sort of sound, do consult a repairman--and be sure to search your lair for superhero saboteurs!

Issue: The Flash (v.2) #99 (March 1995)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

DC Feature Puzzle (1980)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Flash Facts: Meteoric Impact

"When meteors--falling toward Earth--meet our planet head-on, the relative speed of impact is about forty-five miles per second; when meteors have to overtake the Earth in its orbit, the relative speed of impact is about ten miles per second."

Illustration: "Meteors and the Earth meet at point of intersection of their respective orbits. The diagram illustrates the meteors associated with the comet Giacobini-Zinner."

Issue: The Flash #150 (February 1965)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Upcoming: The Flash: Secret Files and Origins 2010 #1

In March, after The Flash: Rebirth has finished but before the launch of the new Flash ongoing series, DC Comics will release an all-new edition of The Flash: Secret Files and Origins, featuring the expected line-up of revised origin stories and character profiles. This issue should prove a good jumping-on point for new readers--certainly more accessible than The Flash: Rebirth has proven! The cover for the issue offers us the first glimpse of artist Francis Manapul's take on the crimson comet. As usual, visit Newsarama for a complete listing of DC Comics's March 2010 releases.

Written by Geoff Johns; Art by Scott Kolins, Francis Manapul, and others; Cover by Francis Manapul. Flash Facts! In the aftermath of Blackest Night and The Flash: Rebirth comes the beginning of a new era for Barry Allen and the deadly Rogues! As Barry readjusts to life again, strange happenings explode across Central City that will lead to one of the most bizarre murder mysteries Barry will ever face in the upcoming The Flash #1! Plus, don’t miss Wally West, Kid Flash, Gorilla Grodd and a cold case that will send The Flash down a path unlike any other. Run – don’t walk – to pick it up! On sale March 24th. 48 pgs. FC. $3.99 US.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

News Flash

The holiday edition of Newsarama's 20 Questions with Dan Didio includes some startling news for fans of the scarlet speedster. In spite of all previous announcements, the planned Kid Flash ongoing series has been canceled, along with the much-discussed back-up feature for The Flash starring Wally West. Bart and Wally are being banished to the background in an effort to allow the resurrected Barry Allen to lead. As DC's Executive Editor explains, "Your Flash fix will be Barry Allen, pure and simple, for 2010." Kelson Vibber discusses the announcement in some detail over at Speed Force and, I have to say, I identify with his frustration. This is a disappointment, to say the least. It's also a disappointment that could have been avoided by DC Comics. Visit Speed Force for more details.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Flash Facts: Hall of Speed Records

Issue: All-Flash #1 (Summer 1941)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Onomatopoeia: WHROOO

I would like to introduce a few new recurring features here at Crimson Lighting. Though I very much enjoy our weekly Fast Talk feature, poking fun at the pseudoscience that fuels the scarlet speedster's whirlwind adventures, I do feel the need to introduce a bit more variety to our blogging schedule. Like their predecessor, the new features being added to the rotation will simply provide us with an excuse to pore over some classic comic book panels and have some fun with their colorful contents. Thus, today begins Onomatopoeia, spotlighting that often silly, occasionally stunning poetic device that is so intrinsic to the medium. Admittedly, in the realm of comic book blogging this is not the most original of features but it is one that should provide us with plenty of fun. If there's a graphically-rendered sound effect on prominent display in one of the crimson comet's adventures, you'll see it in Onomatopoeia.

WHROOO: Could there be any better example of a sound effect rendered visual to start with? Not dissimilar to the gusting of a sudden wind or the reverberations of a speeding semi, this is a sound with which the citizens of Central City are no doubt intimately familiar, a reassuring resonance that signals their unseen protector is racing into action at super-speed. "A tornado whips through nighttime Central City--but to its law-abiding citizens the racket is music to their ears! They know the Flash is on the move--hunting down law-breakers!"

Issue: The Flash #182 (September 1968)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Quick Quiz: Favorite Reverse Flash?

It's been quite some time since our most recent Quick Quiz poll closed, well past time for us to review the results! With the resurrected Eobard Thawne causing all manner of murderous mayhem in the pages of The Flash: Rebirth, this particular poll asked the blog's readers to rank those deadly doppelgangers who have always been there to menace the monarch of motion. Of all the evil speedsters to have challenged the fastest man alive, who is your favorite Reverse Flash?

Professor Zoom--Eobard Thawne himself, a fanatical madman who lives his life on a backwards timeline, the first supervillain to be referred to as the Reverse Flash--seized a respectable second-place slot by capturing 36% of the vote. Thawne was bested only by his successor, former police profile Hunter Zolomon, the time-bending speedster known simply as Zoom, who dominated this round with an impressive 56% of the total vote. Zoom is, indisputably, the favorite arch-villain here. Inertia, the impish evil twin to Impulse who also adopted the moniker of Kid Zoom, managed to snag a further 6% of the electronic ballots. Not a single vote was cast in support of Dr. Edward Clariss, the Golden Age Reverse Flash known as the Rival. Forty-six readers took part in this poll.

Given the continuing excitement surrounding the events of The Flash: Rebirth, I'm somewhat surprised that Professor Zoom didn't rank higher in this particular poll. Then again, considering the powerful origin story and relatively complex motives granted to Hunter Zolomon by writer Geoff Johns, Zoom stands as an unforgettable arch-nemesis for the fastest man alive. My own vote was cast in favor of Zoom, in fact. Which of the Reverse Flashes do you favor? Do you have a favorite comic story featuring the Reverse Flash? Let us know using the comment facility below.

Of course, as a result of continuing delays, The Flash: Rebrith is now running parallel with an epic crossover event involving countless heroes and their nemeses. Blackest Night has descended upon the DC Universe and the dead are rising to wage war on the living, with both Barry Allen and Hal Jordan at the center of the macabre nightmare! Blackest Night: The Flash resurrects a number of the Flash's fallen foes--Golden Glider, the Top, Captain Boomerang--in frightening new guises. Of these deceased members of the scarlet speedster's Rogues Gallery, who is your favorite Black Lantern? As always, you'll find the Quick Quiz poll in the right-hand sidebar.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Flash Facts: Oxygen Molecules

"The mean velocity of oxygen molecules in air at normal room temperature is 3/10 of a mile a second."

"Key to oxygen atom: proton, neutron, electron."

Issue: The Flash #196 (April 1970)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Life During Wartime

Comic icons meet alternate history in photographer Agan Harahap's "If Superheroes Had Fought During Wartime," a Photoshopped photo series featuring familiar superheroes and other prominent pop cultural figures. The scarlet speedster himself makes an appearance in a snapshot set during World War II, apparently aiding in the dissolution of the Wehrmacht. In this case, it's Barry Allen, clad in his distinct and unarguably iconic costume, who takes Jay Garrick's place in the war effort. Harahap, a photographer from Jakarta, currently works for music magazine TRAX. The entire collection can be viewed at the art community My Modern Metropolis.

Scenario: Unknown location, 1945

Following the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht which went into effect on 8 May 1945, some Wehrmacht units remained active, either independently (e.g. in Norway), or under Allied command as police forces. By the end of August 1945, these units had been dissolved, and a year later on 20 August 1946, the Allied Control Council declared the Wehrmacht as officially abolished.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Super-Puzzle (1974)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Flash Facts: Barnard's Star

"A star in the constellation Ophiuchus has the greatest proper motion so far discovered. Nicknamed 'Barnard's Arrow' and 'Barnard's Runaway Star' (After its discoverer, [E.E.] Barnard), it takes 180 years to move across the star sphere a distance equal to the diameter of the moon."

Illustration: "'Rapid' displacement of Barnard's Star between 1894 and 1947."

Issue: The Flash #208 (August 1971)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Thursday, December 03, 2009

FoxTrot (2009)

Another of the comic strips kindly clipped for us from the pages of the Houston Chronicle by our friend Papa Zero, this edition of Bill Amend's FoxTrot offers a bit of commentary on Comic-Con International. Can't make the annual trek to San Diego for the convention? Apparently, all you really need is a bag of rocks, a hammer, and a distinct absence of chairs. Dressed as Superman and the Flash, the FoxTrot characters are engaged in a bit of cosplay, thus revealing one of the practical limitations of the crimson comet's typically streamlined cowl. The strip ran in newspapers on 19 July 2009--appropriately, the week before this year's convention. Thank you, Jason!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

On Sale: Blackest Night: The Flash #1

Blackest Night: The Flash #1 sees release today, the first in a three-part mini-series. For my money, Blackest Night represents the most engaging crossover event to hit the DC Universe in a long, long time. It's going to be a lot of fun seeing the Flashes of Two Cities and the collective Rogues Gallery face off against a line-up of undead Black Lantern Rogues. (This fan can't wait to see Black Lantern Rainbow Raider in action!) Of course, an adventure like this is worth the price of admission just for its creative team; any Flash fan knows that Johns and Kolins can work magic together. IGN has a five-page preview of the issue offering a glimpse at the dramatis personae for this macabre skirmish.

Written by Geoff Johns; Art and cover by Scott Kolins; Variant cover by Francis Manapul. The Flashes of Two Cities--Barry Allen and Wally West--battle the undead Rogues. Will the legendary speedsters be able to handle the Black Lantern Rogues's revenge? Plus, witness the resurrection of Barry's greatest enemy, the Reverse Flash in this hyper-speed miniseries event reuniting the fan-favorite Flash creative team of Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins! DC Universe. 32pg. Color. $2.99 US. On Sale December 2, 2009.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

On Sale: The Flash: Rebirth #5

Don't forget to pick up the penultimate installment of The Flash: Rebirth, on sale now! The mini-series speeds towards its time-altering climax with Barry Allen leading the Speed Force--a speedster super-team including Jay Garrick, Jesse Quick, Bart Allen, Max Mercury, Wally West, and Iris West--in an all-out battle against the vengeful Professor Zoom. As Rebirth has been shown to exist primarily to rewrite, restructure, and retcon, you can be sure this adventure contains more than a few milestones in the history of the fastest man alive. A five-page preview of the issue can be found over at DC's The Source.

Written by Geoff Johns; Art and covers by Ethan Van Sciver. The greatest threat to face the Flash Family in decades stands revealed! A new hero will step into an old speedster's boots! And Barry Allen will make the ultimate sacrifice: his life! Oh yeah, you read that right, but you'll never believe just what it means! They always say nothing will ever be the same, but trust us, this one will rewrite the history books! DC Universe. 32pg. Color. $2.99 US. On Sale November 18, 2009.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

Crimson Lightning's ongoing celebration of the whirlwind adventures of the fastest man alive came to a screeching halt this past Halloween and I haven't added a post in over two weeks. Spooky, I know. What happened? Was I abducted from the timestream by the likes of Abra Kadabra or Professor Zoom? Did the Rogues Gallery finally find a way to silence me?

In fact, I'm currently engrossed in the annual event known as National Novel Writing Month, attempting to write a complete novel of over 50,000 words in just thirty days. This is my fourth year participating and, nineteen days into the exhilarating effort, it looks as if it will be my second time around emerging as a winner. And believe you me, not a day goes by that I don't wish that I was a little more like Wally West or Barry Allen, endowed with my own personal connection to the speed force!

Of course, this creative undertaking leaves little or no time for blogging. Thus, Crimson Lightning will be on hiatus for at least a couple of more weeks as I wrap up the novel and begin with my rewrites. If you'd like to follow my progress--and thereby encourage me to stay on task--you can check out my newly launched Twitter feed, featuring daily updates and excerpts from my work for NaNoWriMo. Otherwise, rest assured that your regularly scheduled look at the colorful characters and silly super-science of the scarlet speedster's comic book exploits will return soon! Watch this space...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Flash Facts: Nerve Cells

"A nerve current travels 404 feet/second in a human nerve cell; 90 feet/second in a frog's nerve cell; and only a few feet per second in the nerve cell of a clam."

Illustration: "The dendrites act as the 'pick up' of impulses; the axon the 'wire' along which the nerve current travels."

Issue: The Flash #121 (June 1961)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Find the Flash: Baltimore Comic-Con

Kelson Vibber's Speed Force recently featured this photograph of an eight-year-old Impulse fan in costume at the Baltimore Comic-Con. From the familiarly mussed hairdo to those outrageously oversized boots, the costume is perfect. This little fella looks like he's leapt right off of the comic book page! As always, you can visit Speed Force for more photos and related links.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Justice League Monopoly (1999)

As we've had some fun recently with superhero boardgames, you're not going to want to miss Once Upon a Geek's look at the Justice League of America Monopoly set produced by Parker Brothers in 1999. The rules and layout for this particular game are familiar to us all so it's lots of fun to see what superhero-themed variations have been added to the traditional gameplay. The Electric Company has been replaced by Green Lantern's Power Battery, Daily Planet and Batcomputer cards replace Chance and Community Chest, and hotels have been transformed into superpowers! The Flash's Cosmic Treadmill is even featured in place of one of the usual railroads! Visit Once Upon a Geek to see the Irredeemable Shag's full write-up on the game and its entertaining accessories, complete with a plethora of photographs.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On Sale: The Brave and the Bold #28

The fastest man alive is proving remarkably slow of late in meeting his release dates; it looks like we're going to be waiting and waiting and waiting for the concluding chapters of The Flash: Rebirth. (The Flash, shipping late? There are plenty of jokes to be made here, of course, but I'm really in no mood for them.) Fortunately, DC Comics has lined up a little something to tide us over. The Brave and the Bold #28 hits comic shops tomorrow. The time-travel team-up story, written by J. Michael Straczynski, sees Barry Allen joining forces with the Blackhawks! The scarlet speedster will also be appearing in other releases this week, including the DCU Halloween Special. Visit DC Comics for a complete listing.

Written by J. Michael Straczynski; Art and cover by Jesus Saiz. J. Michael Straczynski (Amazing Spider-Man) and Jesus Saiz (OMAC Project) continue their series of unlikely pairings with a match that spans the decades! When an experiment meant to alter the speed of light goes awry, Barry Allen finds himself face-to-face with some surprising allies--World War II's legendary Blackhawks! But Barry isn't the Flash they know, and he's not even the kind of hero they need to help fight history's most grueling war! What must Barry sacrifice to serve his country--and his world? DC Universe. 32pg. Color. $2.99 US. On Sale October 21, 2009.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Flash Facts: Ultrasonic Waves

"Sound waves of tremendously high frequency (ultrasonic waves) have the power to destroy germs."

Illustration: "1) Germ cell before subjection to ultrasonics. 2) Air bubbles form inside cell as ultrasonics are applied. 3) Air bubbles burst, destroying germ."

Issue: The Flash #203 (February 1971)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Color the Flash (1999)

Above we have an image of the scarlet speedster as he appeared in the animated DC Universe, leaping into action amid a flurry of white lightning bolts. He is, of course, er... not so scarlet a speedster in this particular instance. The reason the Flash looks as if he's just been attacked by the Rainbow Raider is that this image was released as a part of a series created for children to color-in. I would like to expand our Fun and Games feature by periodically posting pages from the various DC Comics coloring books that have appeared over the years but, sadly, I have managed to collect very few examples of this sort of thing. Have you seen any coloring book pages featuring the fastest man alive? Do you have any coloring book content to contribute to Crimson Lightning? If so, I encourage you to leave a comment or drop me an e-mail.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Flash Game (1967)

I love the Flash, and I love games of all kinds, so you can imagine my reaction when I first beheld the 1967 Justice League of America board game starring the scarlet speedster that was recently featured at the Idol-Head of Diabolu, Frank Lee Delano's blog dedicated to that magnificent Martian Manhunter. Wow! This one is a beauty, even if--or perhaps because--the board's layout is utterly dominated by a broad canvas of colorful comic book-style art. Crowding the limited playing squares are images of the fastest man alive teaming up with the Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman to take on aliens, robots, and a pack of nasty dragons. The gameplay was surely limited but the board itself is a beauty to behold--even if they did manage to miscolor poor J'onn J'onzz's costume! Race on over to the Idol-Head of Diabolu to have a look!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Flash Facts: Mercury's Orbit

"Because Mercury orbits about the sun once every 88 days at an average speed of 29.8 miles a second--as contrasted with the Earth's 365 1/4 days at 18 1/2 miles a second--the two planets return to the same relative positions every 116 days."

Issue: The Flash #113 (June-July 1960)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Sight and Sound: "To Catch a Blue Bolt"

"To Catch a Blue Bolt," written by Bob Haney, featuring Ray Owens as the Flash and Tommy Cook as Kid Flash, aired 29 September 1967 as part of Filmation's The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure. This frantic Filmation short pits the crimson comet against the Blue Bolt, an evil speedster from another world. (On Earth-Three, this blog is known as Cerulean Lightning.) Since the earliest days of his comic, truly epic battles involving the fastest man alive have been enacted on a veritable world stage; our hero has chased villains at super-speed across all seven continents and has fought for his life against a stunning, ever-shifting backdrop of international landmarks. This has to be one of the great stylistic motifs associated with the character. This cartoon plays up that familiar tendency for travelogue as the Flash and Kid Flash chase the Blue Bolt from the Netherlands to Egypt. Sadly, the action and adventure is resolved with a cloying gag involving a wayward kitten and a sudden outburst of bad puns. Is there any more disappointing denouement for a superhero adventure?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Busy Day

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Mother Goose & Grimm (2009)

Every time that our friend Papa Zero spots a reference to the fastest man alive in the Houston Chronicle's funny pages he is kind enough to take the time to clip the strip for us and send it along to Crimson Lightning, and I'm mighty glad that he does. Here's a recent entry. This installment of Mother Goose & Grimm by Mike Peters, featuring a mishmash of popular superheroes and a joke that's just about as old as the scarlet speedster himself, ran in newspapers nationwide on 2 August 2009. It's nice to know that the Flash has the sort of name recognition that allows him to serve as the center of a gag like this, presented in a panel that doesn't even feature the character himself! Thanks again, Jason!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Flash Facts: Galactic Dispersal

"The most distant galaxies our telescopes can see are racing away from us at a speed of 75,000 miles a second."

Illustration: "Sombrero Hat Galaxy--seven and a half million light years from Earth."

Issue: The Flash #196 (April 1970)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fast Talk: Time-Vibrations

Time-Vibrations: The Flash #203, featuring the unfortunately titled "Flash's Wife is a Two-Timer" by Robert Kanigher and Irv Novick, contains a plethora of pseudoscientific Fast Talk fodder. Rest assured this won't be the last time we visit this issue. The story, which introduced the idea that the scarlet speedster's soul mate was born in the distant year 2945 A.D., is both heart-wrenching and absurd and broaches a number of science-fictional dilemmas of the heart. One of the story's most amusing moments, however, has to be this transitional sequence which, to the uninitiated reader, looks as if it might contain history's most outlandish Dear John letter. Though Iris West Allen is eager to explain her temporal predicament to her loving husband, she is unexpectedly seized by time-vibrations and begins to slip away to the far-flung future. In true dramatic fashion, the plucky reporter has enough time to convey her dilemma to us in incomplete gasps laden with technobabble. "Time-vibrations becoming unstable... being drawn back to the future... Can't reach phone... Must leave Barry... note--!" Iris has put our beloved slowpoke police scientist through a lot over the years but you've got to give her credit; though she is being abducted from the timestream and is, by all appearances, becoming virtually intangible, she still has the presence of mind to contact her husband! Ah, bless. Luckily, these remarkable "time-vibrations" are remarkably slow going, allowing our considerate heroine more than enough time to take up pen and paper and scribble out a brief domestic memo. Imagine Barry Allen's reaction when he returns home to find this note scrawled upon his kitchen wall: "Darling-- Can't stop myself... irresistible force pulling me--1,000 years--future--Help me." Boy, if I had a dime for every time one of my girlfriends tried to get away with that old excuse!

Issue: The Flash #203 (February 1971)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You Decide... (1984)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Flash Facts: Weather Balloons

"The U.S. Weather Bureau records air pressure, temperature, and humidity by sending a radiosonde device aloft in a balloon."

Illustration: "Observer about to release a balloon carrying a radiosonde, which records air pressure, temperature, and humidity."

Issue: The Flash #209 (September 1971)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Find the Flash: Dragon*Con

As Kelson Vibber has observed, there were scads of scarlet speedsters to be found at this year's Dragon*Con in Atlanta. Among the most impressive of the participating cosplayers was this collective of the complete Rogues Gallery! The accuracy of these vibrant costumes is amazing. Just look at Heat Wave's gas mask or the patches on Piper's cloak! The Rogues posed for numerous photos, including a rather grim recreation of the death of Bart Allen! But don't take my word for it. Visit Speed Force to see a collection of Flash related images from the convention or Dragon*Con's site for a mammoth listing of fan-submitted photo galleries.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wally West's Last Stand

Since I was old enough to first hold a comic book in my hands, I have always been a fan of the fastest man alive. This will surprise no one who reads Crimson Lightning. Because of the great consistency in themes, style, and characterization across generations, it makes little difference whether we're talking about Jay, Barry, Wally, or Bart. I love them all equally. I delight in the scarlet speedster's whirlwind adventures no matter who has donned the winged boots to carry on the legacy. I find this both comforting and reasonably reassuring for, as we all know, the crimson comet's title has been in upheaval for several years at DC Comics and The Flash: Rebirth signals a new changing of the guard.

As many readers have pointed out, The Flash: Rebirth has, quite unexpectedly, proven to be aggravatingly slow going. It wasn't until the release of The Flash: Rebirth #4, featuring what may be regarded as the series' pivotal plot twist, that things shifted into high gear. This is not to say that the mini-series has been uneventful! In fact, it's difficult to keep track of the epic developments. The one and only Barry Allen has been resurrected, brought miraculously back to life. His rebirth has been accompanied by the annihilation of one foe, the dreaded Black Flash, and the revitalization of another, the sinister Professor Zoom. The speed force and its newly revealed negative counterpart have been redefined. Speedsters including Wally, Jay, Bart, Johnny, Jesse, Max, Iris, and Jai have all been significantly impacted by these events. With so much happening, so much superheroic drama and such psuedoscientific upheaval, it would be easy to overlook those moments that resonant most evocatively on an emotional wavelength. I generally avoid posting reviews or commentary on recent releases here at Crimson Lightning but, on this occasion, I think that I'd like to share some thoughts.

When I finished reading The Flash: Rebirth #4, closed its glossy cover, and placed the comic down on my lap, an affecting and somewhat surprising personal revelation slowly dawned on me. It took a moment but, flipping through the issue one more time, I knew I was right. Page eight, I though to myself. Page eight. That's when it happened. That's when I suddenly sat up and took notice. That's the precise moment when my heart skipped a beat in my chest, as if I had been hit by an errant bolt of lightning from out of the blue, and I was wholly engrossed in the storytelling. That's the point at which Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver really had me, for the first time since the series began. Issue four, page eight. And what transpires on the dazzlingly-illustrated eighth page of The Flash: Rebirth #4? Wally West, his costume slashed, his crimson cowl carelessly discarded, determinedly charges headlong into the inescapable energy torrents of the speed force in order to save the lives of his missing friends. As he dashes forward at his most astonishing super-speeds, he chants a familiar and reassuring mantra, his tried-and-true secret for success and survival: "As long as I have Linda, I'll find my way back."

If I am to be honest about my emotional response to the storytelling in this mini-series, really and truly honest, for me, that was the moment. Forget the disintegration of Johnny Quick. Forget Eobard Thawne's maniacal outbursts. Disregard Jay and Bart's valiant, pulse-pounding battle with the Reverse Flash. Even amid the heroic struggles of the sainted Barry Allen, after four tantalizing, twist-filled issues, it was Wally West's romantic charge that left me a bit breathless.

So, what does all this mean? The Flash: Rebirth #4 confirmed something I have long known about myself and also forced me to reconsider an acceptance I had long since shrugged off. Firstly, I am an incorrigible romantic, and that clearly affects my taste in superhero stories. It's a real disappointment that Iris Allen's role thus far has been all-but peripheral. I trust that this oversight will be rectified in those installments that remain. After all, the legacy of the Flash is fueled by love, not extra-dimensional energies. Secondly, I'm not nearly as prepared as I thought I was to let Wally West and his family step aside. After all these years, I'm far more attached to this character than even I, an incurable fan of each of the scarlet speedsters, would have ever expected. It's going to take me a bit longer than I first thought to get used to having Barry Allen back in the spotlight. Fortunately, as the young hero would remind us if he were here, Wally's not likely to get lost in the shuffle...

"As long as I have Linda, I'll find my way back."