Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Reviews: The Flash #8

Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo's final issue of The Flash is now on the stands. In a month's time, the book will be taken in a new direction by writer Marc Guggenheim. So, how does the most recent installment of this unpopular relaunch compare to what's gone before? What are people saying about The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #8?

  • Phil Mateer almost bought The Flash #8 but ended up putting the issue back on the rack. Writing at All About Comics, Phil sums up the thoughts of many readers when he explains, "I almost bought this, too; it’s the second chapter in a who-knows-how-long story, but it’s a satisfying chunk by itself, with the occasional sense that Bart Allen’s world is an interesting place, with characters and events the reader might want to find out more about--and that’s been missing, for me, since the relaunch. The Flash franchise has benefited from a lot of long runs by good writers (John Broome and Cary Bates in their eras, and more recently Mike Baron, Mark Waid, and Geoff Johns), and right now it’s ripe for someone to make it their own... Anyone who can deliver two or three good episodes of this title in a row will get me back as a reader, and the count is now at 'one.'" Will Marc Guggenheim prove to be that writer?
  • The aptly-named DCU Boy over at The Continuity Blog feels that "the writing team may have started out horribly, but they are going out greatly. This was the best issue of the series to date. It was full of action and yet managed to move the character forward as well... I am starting to get used to Bart as the Flash, finally. I love Wally but he will be back some day. I think it is time to let Bart ride the lightning."
  • The Mad Monk of Christians Read Comics Too! is also pleased with the book's progress and, whilst continually refering to himself in the third person, reconsiders Bilson and DeMeo's contributions to the mythology. "The Mad Monk is tired of the Flash bashing. In fact, The Mad Monk predicts that after this creative team's issues are collected into trade form, praise will be heaped upon it.... This was a great story. It has brought a tale of becoming your destiny and carrying on the family tradition to us all. The Mad Monk feels a renewed connection to the character. Now a new team will come on next month and we all will see what happens."
  • The Knave of Krypton isn't entirely impressed but sees reason for hope. His review echoes a question that lingers in the mind of every reader: Why did DC Comics feel the need to re-launch The Flash? "That sad little re-launch that couldn’t continues to not find its footing this issue, but it does manage to dig its face out of the mud and look up in anticipation of improvement... It’s pretty embarrassing that DC has fumbled one of its A-list characters so completely; however, this issue, while clunky and uneven, manages a few nice moments."


West said...

I didn't even see it on the shelves, but I wouldn't have bought it, anyway.

I've said before, though, that I think any creative team would've had a helluva time dealing with the set-up that was necessary to make a grown-up Bart into The Flash IV (or V if you wanna count Kingdom Come or something).

Tattered Shoes and Tired Fingers said...

I enjoyed the run. It wasn't exactly deep, so it was more of a joy read than a serious gripping tale. I bought the comic, honestly, out of my tradition with the Flash. But it was entertaining. Especially the beginning with the struggle against being a hero (looking back at Impulse 75-80). I applaud the effort of Bilson and Dimeo, but I am also excited about Guggeheim.

My only real frustration is that Bart's history was not played on very much - Carol Bucklen, Preston, Max, the future. There is a wealth of story depth in combining his unique past with the legacy.

West said...

I'm gonna sound like a bitter, old geek here, but...

What unique past and legacy? This isn't the same Bart we knew and loved. This guy...

*screeeches to a halt*

I just remembered those Impulse issues where Bart met his older self - a guy who was very different than the impulsive young speedster Mark Waid (co-?)created.

Maybe I've been a little hard on DC for making Bart change so much.

Maybe Logan's right about connecting that past to this incarnation of Bart. Without strong cohesion between his past and present, I, for one, have a hard time connecting this grown Bart with the character I dug for many years.

Step one, would hopefully involve showing us more of those missing years. (It worked for "52.")

Cuz, this time, Bart wasn't age-accelerated. He actually grew up at a normal pace, over that time. To many readers, though, that felt like an unoriginal "cheat."

Show us more of that time and we can see him as the Flash-in-the-making that he is/was - not to mention connecting the Flash legacy more by having him with the other speedsters (besides Jay).

Rant ends. (Sorry, Dixon.)

Dixon said...

There's no need to apologize, West. You're giving voice to many of the problems that have made it difficult for readers to connect with The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive and this strange new Bart Allen, and the conversation is of interest.

The legacy of One Year Later--at least as far as the Flash is concerned--is the seeming severing of any connections to Bart Allen's past as Impulse and Kid Flash. Until it's properly told what happened to the various speedsters and the speed force during Infinite Crisis, we're going to continue to have trouble coming to terms with the character, his personal history, and his ties to the illustrious legacy of the fastest man alive.

Tattered Shoes and Tired Fingers said...

Sidenote here - What if Bart developed the ability to commune with the Speedforce like Max - since he is in sole possession of it right now. Would that not allow that connection with the past speedsters - often allowing them to "materialize" with Bart's help?

Dixon said...

Could Bart commune with the speed force in order to manifest his predecessors? In fact, I get the sense that this is precisely what was being set-up in the opening issues of the new series. We've been told that Bart contains the speed force--and, as a result, the spirits of all his predecessors--within himself. Bilson and DeMeo also allowed the voice of Wally West and other speedsters to speak in the narrative. Will the development of Bart's abilities mean that we'll be seeing or hearing from some historic speedsters? I'd say it's definitely a posibility. Of course, whether or not that adds anything to the series' storytelling is another matter entirely.

Avi Green said...

For what it's worth, I decided, wisely too, I can see, not to waste time on this new volume, even if and when it's published in trade paperback. I never asked for Wally West to be thrown out, as he was, last year, and that's one of the biggest problems with this version - that they tossed out a character who was popular and then put in his place a rendered-unrecognizable Bart Allen. Somehow, I'm not surprised that it's all now backfired on DC, just like tons of their attempts to "Marvelize" their universe.

I also decided not to waste time on the All-New Atom for similar reasons, because they were replacing a preceding character with a new one without giving Ray Palmer and Jean Loring a respectable ending - they slapped both of them in the face in Identity Crisis - and also because they're resorting to the already tired notion of replacing specific protagonists with "minority group" characters.

As far as supplanting Wally West with Bart Allen is concerned, as was said in Flash: Born to Run in 1992, "lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place." Well, certainly not the way DC has done it now, that's for sure. Because they did it in defeatism, and are disrespecting the concept of heroism.