One of my favourite stories from Wally West’s time as the fastest man alive was ‘Nobody Dies’ from his 54th issue. A great little standalone by Bill Loebs, Greg LaRocque and Jose Marzan, it features Wally leaping out of a plane after a falling stewardess, then having to work out what the heck to do to save them both. When this fill-in issue of the New 52 Flash was announced, solicitation details had it sounding like a take on that 1991 tale.
And first impressions of Christos Gage’s script did have me thinking of Wally, with the opening ‘My name’s Barry Allen, I’m the Flash, the fastest man alive’ line, and the setting of Wally’s hometown, Blue Valley. Was this, in fact, a repurposed Wally script that’s been sitting in Gage’s bottom drawer?
Reading on, the answer seems to be No, with Barry’s forensic knowledge and girlfriend Patty Spivot figuring into the action. The story has Barry chasing a villain named Spitfire after she murders an old friend of his – no one we’ve ever heard of – and steals deadly disease samples to sell on the black market. For Spitfire, the challenge is as important a factor in planning a crime as the prize, and she’s having a wild time switching from helicopter to plane to personal wings. The Flash, though, proves more than she bargained for.
As with the Wally story, we have the hero dealing with a fall to Earth from a great height by using super-speed in inventive ways. But then, any good Flash tale approaches the incumbent’s powers with a fresh eye. Gage does a splendid job with that aspect, and his revival of the Silver Age ‘Flash Facts’ brought a big grin to my face. Spitfire – a new take on Golden Age Green Lantern baddie Sky Pirate – is meant to be a thrill seeker, but her incessant manic grinning is a bit much.
That apart, Neil Googe does a good job on the art, giving Barry a pleasing determination and making both super-speed and regular-paced action convincing. Wil Quintana’s colours are at times a little washed out, and not just in the flashback scene (a comic and screen convention I’ve never been fond of). Sal Cipriano doesn’t have an opportunity to get creative with the lettering, but what he does do is good. As for Brett Booth’s cover – inked by Norm Rapmund and coloured by Andrew Dalhouse – it’s nicely composed but far too busy, with all the electricity zapping around Barry muddying the visual.
As a fan of Gage and Googe – never mind how much fun the names sound together – I’d love to see what they could do given free reign with this title. For now, though, they’ve produced a smart, diverting time-passer I can easily recommend.
But darn it, I still miss Wally West.
8 thoughts on “The Flash #26 review”
Me too man, oh god me too:(
The Messner-Loebs/Laroque run is my all-time favourite Flash era ever! So under-rated but so so so excellent!! I keep hoping we'll see another Loebs book appear on the stands before too long. That series was filled with amazing character work and stories that were fun and deep and heart-warming and kooky!
Also, the Gage/Googe fill-in was pretty fine, too.
Thanks for the review Mart, as you know I have enjoyed the Nu52 Flash series this far but am holding my breath for the new writing team. I agree with you the dark back story is less than ideal, but for the most part the writers kept Barry one of the few smart, not disturbed, brooding DC icons in the retcon (well, at least he was not spitting blood at his opponents, I still can not believe they are going to do that to Kara). This one-time sounds like one I will get at the least.
Enjoyed the story and the interior art, but what is up with that cover? Is Barry supposed to be holding the plane's deadly cargo in that cocked arm or something? It looks too stiff to be anything else, but there's nothing there. Left leg looks a bit…squashed too.
I did love Loebs' Wally, he was an improvement on Mike Baron's – mind, even he had an interesting personality. I do miss Mary and (pre-millennium) Rudolf West.
I'm looking forward to the new creative team – I just wish they'd jolly well announce one!
Ah Simon, who knows? It seems a good bet that the vials are cupped in his chest, out of sight.