Comic Reviews and Opinions For The Rest Of Us...

Classic Reviews: The Black Flash

In Comic Reviews on June 26, 2008 at 1:34 am

So here’s one I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am an unreasonably large fan of “The Flash”. A lot of people were disappointed by Wally West taking over when Barry Allen died during Crisis on Infinite Earths, but he’s grown into his own, despite a solo title that started off with him being quite the asshat and, let’s face it, a fairly lackluster 90 issue start. Spoilers and whatnot follow, so do yourself a favor. If you don’t mind spoilers or you’ve read the story, hit the jump and learn about one of the best Flash stories to date.

The series really kicked into high gear with “The Return of Barry Allen”, in which the second Flash and Wally’s uncle seemed to return from the dead (he was later revealed to be Prof. Zoom, Barry’s constant rival from the 30th century), but by far one of the greatest story lines of the title to date has been “The Black Flash”.

The three issue arc (running through Flash #139 to #141) has Wally meeting up with the incarnation of Death for all speedsters, a vicious skeleton wearing a black Flash costume. Initially unaware of its presence, Max Mercury sets out to keep Wally safe by warning him of his coming death, but slowing Wally instead leads The Black Flash to accidentally take the life of Wally’s girlfriend, Linda Park, on the night he was planning to propose from her. Devastated and unable to use his speed powers anymore, Wally goes into retirement when the Black Flash returns to claim him. Despite interventions from Max, Jay Garrick and Jesse Quick, Wally has to pull through to save the day, tapping back into his speed powers and, for the the first time ever, creating a new costume made out of pure Speed Force. Wally races The Black Flash to the end of time before dipping back into the time stream to pull Linda back out.

The story is an incredible tale in itself. The second issue begins with a sucker punch that will leave long time Flash fans reeling and on tears, and Linda’s funeral is one of the best moments of Wally’s internal monologue to date. It moves along at a fairly quick pace, and serves as a great jumping on point for readers who have little to no knowledge of the characters, as there are some relatively decent introductions to the entire Flash family.

The art is passable, though it feels almost too dirty at times. Its a very dark tale, and justifiably so, and Pop Mihan does a great job conveying the characters and their emotions.

All in all, “The Black Flash” stands tall as a true classic among Wally’s run as The Flash. I highly recommend it for both longtime fans and newcomers.

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