Manuel: I joined the CIA. You should join as well, Barry.
Barry: I’m a scientist, not a hero!
Manuel: You gotta find something meaningful in your life ….
Barry: I said I’m a scientist!
Manuel: Take a stand!
Barry: I am! For science! I help solve crimes with science!
Manuel: It’s time you find out what that is for you.
Barry: IT’S SCIENCE!
Manuel: I joined the CIA. You should join as well, Barry.
The Flash is working in his lab when the place is struck by lightning. He’s doused in chemicals and electricity and suddenly becomes bound to the Speed Force. The end!
So that’s Barry Allen’s Preboot origin. Everybody knows it. Many people know it much better than I just told it! They know details and things. But I’m not into details. I just like to remember one or two main facts about something so that it sounds like I really know a lot about it. So if I’m at a really cool party full of really hot girls and athletic guys and I find myself in a conversation about Superman, I can nod knowingly and say, “Yeah. He’s from Krypton.” And they’d all nod in agreement because he is! But then the really unattractive nerd in the corner might scoff and say, “EVERYBODY knows that!” So then I’ll casually turn to him and say, “Yes but did you know that he’s invulnerable to everything except Kryptonite.” And his jaw will drop at my expansive knowledge of the character and I’ll high five the athletes and make out a little bit with the women (and maybe one or two of the athletes if I’d had enough shots of beer). And he’ll stand up and begin to walk away. But then at the last moment, like Columbo, he’ll turn to me and say, “Aha! But he’s also….” and I’ll interrupt him and say, “Yes, magic. We all know he’s susceptible to magic as well. Move on, sir!” And he’ll hang his head in shame as he’s bested by my superior comic book knowledge! Simply because I can utilize the few facts I actually retain about Suprememan!
So here’s what I know about The Flash past his exciting origin story: He can run really, really fast! Yep. That’s where he gets his name! But here’s some stuff I’m learning about the Rebooted Flash!
The Flash’s father is in jail for killing his mother and his father admitted to Barry that he was guilty five years ago.
Five years ago, The Flash was blasted by lightning and chemicals and ended up in the hospital as opposed to the morgue where he probably would have ended up if this comic had an ounce of realism!
Don’t you just hate comics that tell an unbelievable story? Yeah, totally. This guy should at least have some scars or something from the lightning and the chemicals and the emergency surgery to repair the internal injuries I’m sure he suffered. Oh well! Maybe I should suspend my suspension of belief.
The accident puts Barry into a coma where he sees his past flash before his eyes. No, no. It doesn’t flash. It goes as slow as it takes the reader to read it. So in my case, it’s really, really slow. It’s just that there are so many words! And so many puns to catch!
See? “Don’t rush through them.” And a poster of a runner. Has the Zero Issue returned to the root of writing The Flash? Just throw as many puns into the dialogue as possible?
I hope little Barry Allen has to compete against little Leonard Snart at the Spelling Bee.
Proctor: “Leonard, your word is icicle.”
Proctor: “Barry, your word is marathon.”
Proctor: “Leonard, your word is hypothermia.”
Proctor: “Barry, your word is sprinting.”
Proctor: “Leonard, your word is asshole.”
Little Leonard: “Wait…what?!”
Proctor: “Barry, your word is uxoricide.”
Little Barry: “Can you use it in a sentence?”
Proctor: “Your father is going to commit uxoricide against your mother.”
“Sorry, Barry. I can’t make it. I’ve got to get the house ready for the crime scene investigators.”
Barry’s parents are arguing about a divorce and Barry keeps getting pushed aside to do things on his own. He’s completely unaware that his parents are unhappy. Well, maybe he’s a little bit aware. But he’s deeply in denial.
Don’t take your time, Barry! Tragedy will happen if you lollygag! Run! RUN!
After this flashback scene, Barry thinks while in his coma, “My life is flashing before my eyes.” Ha ha! I beat you to that stupid pun that everybody could see coming. He finishes having his flashback and recalls coming back home to find his mom murdered. His dad claims he didn’t do it and even though the spelling bee proctor foreshadowed it, Barry needs to believe in his dad’s innocence. And at that moment, Barry Allen wakes up from his coma. In East Africa.
Three weeks later and Barry is all healed up and continuing with the puns.
And a woman running. Does that count?
Ha ha ha! Running around!
Later, Barry creates his costume somehow. It doesn’t really make much sense. He says something about metal reacting strangely and thermal expansion created by the speed. So are we supposed to believe that his costume is really made up of tiny chunks of metal that expand when he uses the Speed Force and stick to him in the correct places? And he stores these tiny pieces of metal in a ring? A plastic ring maybe so it doesn’t expand as well? I think my unbelief of dissuspension is breaking down again!
Barry visits his dad once again to let him know that he will continue to try to prove his dad’s innocence even though his dad admitted his guilt. But Barry suspects his dad is lying simply so Barry can get on with his life. Also, Barry busts a guy named Danny West a few days prior to telling his dad he hasn’t given up on him. Wally’s criminal cousin? Iris’s deadbeat bastard son? I don’t know! Those aren’t either of the two facts I’ve retained about The Flash over the last twenty-five years reading comic books! Oh! But that’s what the Who’s Who is for!
Nope. No mention of a Danny West at least before 1992. I bet it’s just a coincidence! Those happen all the times in comic books, right?
The Flash #0 Rating: Puntacular.
Wasn’t Heatwave one of the Masters of Disaster from Batman and the Outsiders?
Barry Allen is dead. So is Clark Kent! Is this a new trend in Super Heroics? Forget the secret identity and just go super hero full time. But Flash isn’t like Superman. Superman can go without eating or drinking or breathing or defecating for months. The Flash actually needs to eat ten to twenty times as much as a normal person. How is he going to afford that lifestyle? Is he just going to steal everything he needs since he’s doing everyone a service saving their asses? I imagine he’ll figure out he needs Barry sooner or later.
Barry Allen (Not Barry Allen?) has moved from Central City to The Keys in Keystone City where all of the criminals live. Nice to know the city has a place set aside just for them. He figures nobody will recognize him in the poor part of town and he can get a job and live in some decrepit apartment building. But first he needs a job so he can pay for the hundreds of tacos he eats every day. He uses the stupid power that I can’t stand that lets him somehow see the different future of every possible choice he can make.
I hate that stupid power! The essence of it is that he can speed up his mind and use it like a Quantum Computer, seeing every single future possibility and then picking the one which best suits his needs. But just thinking fast doesn’t let you see the fucking future, you stupid pricks! Also, thinking fast actually needs to be part of his super power or else he can’t make decisions or see things or speak when running at super speeds. He would just be deaf and dumb and blind and instantly run into a wall.
Anyway, he finds a job at a saloon thanks to his stupid precognitive ability.
Least imaginative bartender ever!
Meanwhile, Flash’s old friend, Dr. Elias, is on a media campaign denouncing super heroes. Yay. Another Glorious Godfrey/Superfail nutjob making comic books more boring and cliche. Who watches the Watchmen, motherfuckers! I’m pretty sure Watchmen was the final word on this whole society versus super hero motif.
Barry and Leonard (Captain Cold) are hanging out together at the bar watching Elias on television. Barry’s job at this bar which seems to have a tradition of super villains drinking here allows him to keep an ear on the underbelly of Keystone City. He’s hoping to find out who’s been burning down a bunch of buildings in the area. He and Captain Cold seem to be hitting it off a little bit since neither one of them is happy with Dr. Elias’s crusade against super powered people. They commiserate and share a few drinks.
No, wait, that’s me and a Cabbage Patch Kid.
That’s better. Forget that picture of me cosplaying Captain Cold with The Flash as my hostage.
Just as The Flash is becoming good friends with Captain Cold, Heatwave busts in looking for Leonard. Heatwave blames Captain Cold for the burnt look and the pot belly stove.
Okay, so the furnace is actually in his chest. But I wish it were in his belly so the joke would work.
Barry gets tossed out the window which gives him a chance to return as The Flash. He doesn’t know what they’re arguing about but he ends the skirmish by running around them in circles and pulling the oxygen from the air. Once they pass out, the cops arrive and haul them off to Iron Heights prison. Seems Barry’s precog power found him just the right job working at a Rogue’s Gallery drinking establishment so he can keep an eye on things.
As for Cold and Heatwave’s problem with each other, they work it out on the way to prison.
And with a little help from Cold’s sister, looks like they’ll be taking a detour away from Iron Heights. Along with Weather Wizard, looks like Lisa is collecting quite the Rogue’s Gallery.
The Flash #11 Rating: +1 Ranking. This comic reminds me of reading comics thirty years ago before I ever picked any title up continuously, a time when I could find a box of old comics in the paper recycling picked up by my grandfather. I didn’t need to know the history of anyone. I just enjoyed reading about Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD, or The Incredible Hulk, or even Archie. This comic has that kind of a feel. Like I could pick this single issue off of the rack at the drugstore and enjoy it on its own. Except it also has a modern sensibility and feel for continuity if you wanted to continue reading the series. I like it a lot.
I’m shocked that The Flash has such a bunch of silly villains in his Rogue’s Gallery. The Flash is possibly the most powerful hero in the DCnU and he’s fighting chumps like this guy and the talking gorilla and Doctor Icebox.
Patty headed to Guatemala where she’s going to encounter The Weather Wizard. Was this month South America Appreciation Month in the DCnU? Let’s see if I can remember everyone who has just recently been in South America. Aquaman. The Birds of Prey. Justice League Dark. And now The Flash. I might be missing a few since I can’t seem to remember as much as I’d like to remember reading 52 comics per month. Oh yeah! Voodoo too!
The first thing I notice isn’t actually the first thing I notice. But it’s the first thing I notice that I want to type something about. The pencils this issue are not by Francis Manapul. That is disappointing. They are by Marcos To and they just look like any other average comic book. That could hurt The Flash’s standing!
See? Normal comic book art.
The second thing that I’d like to discuss is the use of the word “literally.” Is anybody else sick of people literally being figurative when they use the word literal? I keep meaning to play a drinking game one weekend where I just spend the whole weekend drinking every time I hear someone use literally incorrectly (by the way, it’s used fine in this comic). But now that the new season of Big Brother is on, I’ll probably pass out after each episode.
I think a version of The Holy Bible should be released with the word “literally” sprinkled throughout it. “In the beginning, God literally created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was literally without form, and void; and literal darkness was literally upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God literally moved upon the face of the waters. It was fucking amazing.”
Anyway, The Flash ended up in Central City at the end of last issue and he begins this issue in Guatemala fighting The Weather Wizard. I really hope there aren’t any flashbacks (FLASHbacks!) since Barry just explained in his Narration Boxes what happened. He went to talk to Patty but she wasn’t home. So he went to Guatemala to find her. But she’d been kidnapped by The Weather Wizard. So now Barry is fighting him. No need to show him buying plane tickets or just running across the globe. We got it!
This comic actually began with a story that happened two years ago. The Weather Wizard was living in Central City and his drug dealer brother came to ask him to help run the drug business. But before they could meet up, Weather Wizard’s brother answered the door, recognized whoever it was, and was filled with holes. The holes were made by bullets. That’s the murder that Patty came down to investigate! See? It all ties together.
Or maybe he didn’t kidnap her!
Meanwhile, even kidnapped and tied up in somebody’s basement, Patty solves the murder! She’s amazing!
Here’s a tip for you up-and-coming evil geniuses: if a cop is investigating your crime, don’t lock the cop up with the one person that can give the cop everything she is looking for. Even if you plan on killing them both because you’re just showing fate your bare ass bent over the dressing room table, wiggling it sexily as fate comes at you with a raging hard-on.
Flash catches up to Elsa (Claudio’s wife (Claudio is Marco’s brother! (Marco is the Weather Wizard!))) and Weather Wizard. He punches Marco while running fast and dodging lightning and he doesn’t break his jaw or explode his head or anything! I assume The Flash can’t punch very hard. Maybe as hard as a two year old. So combined with the super speed, it’s like a grown man punching another grown man.
Is it a trap? It’s a trap, right? I think it might be a trap. Maybe?
No, it’s not a trap! I totally knew it wasn’t! The Flash rescues Patty. The drug fields burn because the car Weather Wizard was in when Flash grabbed him flew off of a cliff and into the fields of druggity drugs and exploderized. Then Elsa told Weather Wizard that she killed his brother to help the family. So Weather Wizard kills her with a blast of lightning (and tries to kill himself but that doesn’t work). Then this happens:
Uh oh. Is she collecting villains for a real honest-to-goodness Rogue’s Gallery?
Finally, this entire issue Flash has been debating whether or not he should tell Patty that he’s Barry Allen. He wants to tell her because he loves her and he wants to share the burden with her. But by the end, he realizes that is selfish and could just put her life in danger. And since the world needs The Flash to keep running or something bad will happen (Crisis on Infinite Earths bad!), he decides to leave Barry Allen dead! Wow. So The Flash isn’t going to have a secret identity? He’s just going to be The Flash? How will he make a living? Robbery? Is he going to get a fake identity? How many laws is he going to break to remain a hero! That sounds like hypocrisy! You know, if you’re one of those Ayn Randian jerks who believe everything has to be completely black and white!
The Flash #10 Rating: No change. The Flash continues to be a solid comic book but this issue is far less nice to look at. I hope Manapul continues to do some art in this series or somewhere else. Like the Grodd issue, this issue was a bit flat as well. Just having a Flash villain appear in the book doesn’t make for a great story. It just makes for a story you’d find in a comic book! I’m more excited to see what The Flash is going to do about his civilian life than what villain he’s going to face off against next.