Posted by: Graeme McMillan on August 19, 2007
I’m sure that the usual suspects already have the knives out for THE FLASH #231, Mark Waid’s reboot of the title that made his name fifteen or so years ago (and, by the way? Now I feel surprisingly old). I don’t know what their complaints will be, exactly – That it’s unrealistic to see the former reporter Linda Park be recast as a scientific genius doctor thanks to a remedial course on some alien planet offpanel? That they don’t want to see their childhood favorite superhero with kids, because that’s not what they think kids want to read about? That the issue of just what happened to Wally and family post-Infinite Crisis is more or less avoided beyond saying that they were on vacation on an alien planet? – but this was one of those books that, as I read, I could almost feel people wanting to complain about. Maybe I’m just getting cynical and sensitive in my old age, because personally, I thought that this was really Very Good.
One of the pluses is that this clearly isn’t Waid revisiting past glories – not only has he ditched his old device of Wally narrating each issue starting with “My name is Wally West. I’m the Flash, the fastest man alive,” but with the addition of Wally’s kids, he’s revised not only the set-up of the book but also the tone; it reads as something lighter than when he was last on the book (and definitely much lighter than Geoff Johns’ run on the series, or the short-lived Bart Allen version of the character), as much superhero sitcom as all-out action book (Something reflected in the punny title: “The Wild Wests”). Daniel Acuna’s artwork – reminiscent in places of Kyle Baker’s work on things like “You Are Here” – helps with that, especially in panels that are essentially visual gags to play off the dialogue (Wally’s expression as he deals with superspeed diapering, for example), and his lush coloring helps make the depiction of the speed effects one of the more impressive in the character’s history.
The result is a book unlike any other superhero book that DC is putting out – Visually impressive with a digital look approaching painterly animation, and a family-friendly tone that thrills and amuses without excess. I hope that the rumors are wrong, and that this team is on the book for the long term because, really? This is the kind of superhero book that I’d love to see more of.