Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Review: Rogue War

Collected Editions has posted an extremely insightful review of The Flash: Rogue War trade paperback. This one is a must read. The detailed review examines the intricacies and nuances of the various story arcs that Geoff Johns contributed to the title and exhibits a thorough understanding of the themes and elements that tied those various arcs into a single epic saga. This analysis helps to reveal just how rich a tapestry was woven for The Flash during the final years of the second volume--a tapestry that thematically unified Wally West, his family, friends, enemies, and Keystone City--and it reveals just why many readers have thus far refused to accept Bart Allen and the relaunched title. Geoff Johns's work on The Flash, during the "Rogue War" and beyond, was nothing short of masterful.

From the beginning, one of Johns' main tenets of The Flash is that Wally West is the hero who is "just a man." At the beginning of The Secret of Barry Allen trade, Johns writes that while Superman "soars above," Batman "hides," and Wonder Woman "preaches" to everyone, Wally "runs alongside" everyone, at one point changing the alternator in a woman's stalled car as he passes. Keystone is portrayed as a blue-collar, automotive city, much like Detroit where Johns was born. Johns' first scene of Wally in the Blood Will Run trade has him enjoying a regular hockey game, and the major villain in that story is Cicada, a cult leader who sees the Flash as a god; Cicada's defeat influences Wally to return to living in Keystone City proper, "with the other regular people of Keystone." Indeed, Wally defeats the Thinker in Crossfire also by being "a regular guy" with human emotions. The super-intelligent Gorilla Grodd makes three major appearances in Johns' story, and Johns uses Grodd to examine the animal nature of humans; Wally claims in Blitz that he's not an animal, but his animal desire for vengeance against Grodd and, later, Zoom, remains a struggle. In this way, Johns not only portrays Wally as a man, but continues to examine the meaning of manhood and humanity...

1 comment:

collectededitions said...

Hey, much belated thanks for your recognition of my Rogue War/Flash retrospective post -- that still remains a series I enjoy and a review post I'm particularly proud of.

Just wanted to mention the link above has a typo; here's a working link to my Flash Retrospective (Flash: Rogue War review) post.

Thanks again!