Thursday, July 19, 2007

Comic Book Review: All Flash #1

The Revolution totally despised that DC junked Wally West and replaced him with Bart Allen. However, now DC has quickly pulled an about face and in a stunning double move killed Bart and brought back Wally. I am anxious to find out what happened with Wally since he disappeared during Infinite Crisis. I’m also curious to find out how Wally reacts to the news that the Rogues killed Bart. I would imagine that Wally will be on a mission of vengeance. All Flash #1 should be an excellent read. Let’s do this review.

Creative Team
Writer
: Mark Waid
Artists: Karl Kerschl, Ian Churchill, Manuel Garcia, Joe Bennett and Daniel Acuña

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin in the present time with Flash racing through Los Angles thinking how he always thought he would come back to check up on Bart, but not to come back to catch his killer.
We flashback to one hour ago with Wally and his family in a location that Wally says isn’t important to this story. Suddenly, lightning comes crashing down on them. Wally immediately sensed that it was lightning. Wally sensed it was the Speed Force and that it was searching him out.

We see the Speed Force transporting Wally and his family back to Earth in front of the JSA and the JLA. They all have a happy reunion until Batman calls Green Lantern and gives him the news that Bart had just been killed.

We cut to 59 minutes ago with Val and Iris crying over Bart’s dead body. The Rogues are horrified that they just killed a kid. The panic that they are now the most wanted men on Earth and that the JLA will spend all of their time hunting them down.

The Rogues then turn on Inertia and claim that he lied to them and that this is all his fault. Inertia decides to make a quick exit and leaves the scene. Kadabra then teleports the Rogues away from the murder scene.

We slide back to the present with Inertia running down the interstate in Los Angles. We see a huge red and yellow tornado whipping up from behind of Inertia. Suddenly, Flash takes down Inertia. Flash grabs Inertia and begins racing around the globe running Inertia through different buildings and objects.

Inertia is stunned to see that Wally is still alive. Wally thinks how he is mainlining the Speed Force in a way he never has before and that he can draw the speed right out of Inertia. Inertia then exclaims that this is how Bart lost his speed powers. That Wally took them away. Wally is horrified at the though and yells out “NO!”

Inertia then tells Wally that Bart was powerless and that is how they were able to kill him. Inertia then spits out that Bart screamed like a little bitch. Wally totally looses it and thinks how badly he wants to kill Inertia. However, Inertia is not a man. He is just a boy. And he is a clone of Bart. And it is that little piece of Bart that prevents Wally from killing Inertia. Therefore, Wally decides to do something even worse to Inertia.

We then cut to one week later with Iris helping Wally, Linda and the twins move into their new house. Wally and Iris talk about Bart’s death. Iris asks Wally what he did with Inertia. Wally says that he was so connected with the Speed Force that he totally and permanently immobilized Inertia. He then placed Inertia on a pedestal like a living statue in the Bart Allen memorial wing right in front of a tribute to Bart. That Inertia is still conscious, and can see and hear and think in real time. However, he is trapped for eternity in a frozen body and forced to stare at the ghost of the man he could never be.

Wally then says that he still hasn’t found any of the Rogues, but that he will keep searching for them. We then see a large cat humanoid person taking down Captain Cold in New York. We see Deadshot taking down Mirror Master in Glasgow. We see Vertigo taking down Kadabra in Hong Kong. We see Boomerang taking out both Weather Wizard and Heat Wave in Louisiana.

We cut back to Wally apologizing to Iris for Bart’s death. Iris responds that Wally did not choose to come back. That he had no control over the how or the when or the why. Therefore, Wally should be more like Bart and not dwell on things that weren’t his fault. Iris tells Wally that he needs to do something for her. That he needs to be a good family man and stop living inside his own head.

Wally promises to do so. Wally then asks Iris if she has any last insider tips for him on what the future holds for the West family. Iris responds “Not really…” We then see an image in her eye of some people, a light and some smoke. I really can’t make out more than that.

We then get some teaser shots of I guess Wally’s two kids in costumes, as well a panel with some deep sea monster and a panel with Green Lantern and Batman in it. End of issue.

Comments
The Good
: All Flash #1 was a fantastic read! It is great to have Wally back. I was really pulling for the return of Barry Allen, but I love Wally almost just as much as I do Barry so it is enjoyable to have Wally and his family back and better than ever.

All Flash #1 was a very well crafted issue. Mark Waid does an excellent job with the writing duties on this issue. Waid is a wonderful Flash writer and is tied with Johns as my two favorite Flash writers of all time. Waid gives us an issue that is perfectly paced. We get a good blend of dialogue heavy dramatic scenes and action packed adrenaline fueled scenes. All Flash #1 was well plotted as Waid delivers a fine debut issue that wraps up any dangling plotlines while also teasing the reader with several future plotlines.

Waid constructs some great dialogue. It is obvious that Waid knows the various characters and the Flash mythos very well. Waid displays his excellent feel for the personalities of the different characters. This also lends to some quality chemistry between the various characters. Wally is his usual heroic self. And Wally engages in plenty of his trademark over thinking about ever single occurrence around him. Waid’s Inertia is fantastic. Inertia is an unrepentant dick right up until the end.

All Flash #1 is a rather emotional read. Waid does a fine job tapping into the pain and anger inside of Wally’s heart due to the brutal murder of Bart. Waid pays further tribute to Bart by really building up the heroic nature of Bart and how he had truly evolved and grown into an impressive man. Bart had definitely come a long way from when he was Impulse.

I absolutely love the fate of Inertia. That was just plain wicked. Wally’s decision to permanently freeze Inertia and place him on display staring at a statue of Bart Allen was absolute poetic justice. Not only was this a creative punishment, it was also a fate much worse than death. And, of course, it is the kind of fate that can be easily undone by a future writer without too much effort should they want to use Inertia’s character for a particular storyline.

The scene where the Rogues realize what a horrid mistake they had made by killing Bart was fantastic. Waid does an excellent job showing the sheer terror in the hearts of the Rogues as they take that fateful step from loveable petty criminals to the vilest villains who are suddenly the most wanted men in the DCU.

Waid effectively transitions the Rogues into the most wanted villains in the DCU, but still shows to the reader that the Rogues themselves aren’t big time killers and they are horrified at what they have just done. The Rogues just don’t have the type of mentality that DC’s other violent criminals posses like the Joker or Lex Luthor.

And just what is going on with the Rogues being hunted down and taken out by various groups? I don’t recognize the Cat humanoid, but we do know that Deadshot is with the Suicide Squad, that Vertigo is with Checkmate and that Boomerang with the Outsiders. These are three totally unconnected super groups with different agendas. I’m interested to learn more about what is in store for the Rogues.

Waid teases the reader about several future plotlines. I am definitely curious about where Wally and his family were for the past year. I’m also interested in learning more about Wally’s twins and why they aged so rapidly. We get several teaser panel shots at the very end that make me think that Waid has plenty of big surprises in store for us on this title.

We get art by committee on All Flash #1. Personally, I have never enjoyed it when an issue sport art by committee. It gives the issue a schizophrenic look to it. Plus, you get jarring interpretations of the same character. A good example is how Kerschl draws Inertia like he is 12 years old while on the very next page you get Churchill drawing Inertia like he is 18 years old.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.

Overall: All Flash was a fantastic way to kick off the return of Wally West as the Flash. I’m so happy that both Waid and Wally are back on this title. I dropped Flash: Fastest Man Alive partly due to the fact that Bart was made the Flash. But, the bigger issue I had was that Bilsen and DeMeo turned out one awful read. The writing was just terrible. Now that Waid is back at the helm of the Flash and Wally West is once again in the role of the Flash, I’m happy to add this title back to my pull list.

4 comments:

IslandLiberal said...

A fairly satisfying issue, although one thing the art by committee (which I don't mind so long as, like Epting and Perkins, the artists are similar; in this case, each is totally different) highlights is that I'd really prefer any of the main artists in this book to Daniel Acuna, the actual artist for Flash v.4, which, despite Waid's excellent writing, I may skip as a result.

Art aside, the new Flash status quo, as was observed by another reviewer elsewhere, reminds me of nothing so much as The Incredibles. We've now got a superhero family, more or less (the mom doesn't have powers), which is quite different from anything the Flash has ever been previously.

Deadshot is actually with the Secret Six now (Catman, Scandal Savage, Knockout, Ragdoll, and they don't have a sixth member, since Harley Quinn quit), as of the most recent Birds of Prey.

As for Inertia, it's a poetic fate, although it seems inhumanly cruel for Wally (couldn't they just put him on trial?). And whenever he gets out (which he will; maybe not during Waid's run, but someone will bring him back eventually), he'll be absolutely insane (Superboy-Prime level crazy).

Anonymous said...

The Lion headed guy is Bronze Tiger. Given the lineup of the people who takes down the Rogues, it looks like a Suicide Squad mission through and through.

Rokk Krinn said...

I totally agree with you, Islandliberal. I definately enjoyed the artwork of the other artists more than Acuna's artwork at the end. It is funny, but when I first saw Acuna's artwork I thought it was pretty neat. It was distinctive and so much different from what you usually get on comic books. Howver, now that I've seen it more and more, I like it less and less. It just comes across too muddy and static for me. I think Acuna is talented, but I don't believe that the Flash is the right title for him.

Having said that, I'll still get this title. Art never determines if I buy a comic book or not. I go completely by the quality of the writing.

Good point about this being like The Incredibles. It is unusual that a comic book center on a married guy with kids. It will be interesting to see if Waid can make this work.

Thanks for the info on Deadshot. I have not kept up with the Secret Six.

And there is no dout that when Inertia makes his inevitable return, that he is will Superboy-Prime level crazy!

Rokk Krinn said...

Bronze Tiger! Thanks, Anonymous.