Archive for June, 2007

Yellow Fever


In Blackest Night

DC spent the last couple of weeks bragging that all the fans of former Green Lantern Kyle Rayner would hate them after the “Sinestro Corps” comic. Turns out that most people think it’s A-OK.

There are spoilers ahead. But you’ve probably already heard the rumors and seen the previews of future covers, so there aren’t any great surprises if you’ve been paying attention.

We start out with the evil Sinestro, disgraced Green Lantern wearing a yellow power ring and serving a cosmic god of fear, making dastardly plots. He sends out a few thousand yellow rings to the most evil and most fearsome creatures in the galaxy, recruiting them into his new Sinestro Corps. Kyle, who doesn’t have a ring but is basically powered by pure souped-up mega-Lantern energy, gets kidnapped by Sinestro and attacked by all of the monsters in the Sinestro Corps. He gets completely depowered when Sinestro rips Ion, the Lantern symbiote, out of his body, then Sinestro reveals that he was responsible for the death of Kyle’s mother. Kyle is entirely demoralized, and Sinestro forces the evil Parallax entity into Kyle’s body, turning him into a newly evil demigod — the same entity that Hal Jordan himself spent a few years as…

On top of all that, the Sinestro Corps attack Oa and free two of the prisoners being held there — Superboy Prime, the Big Bad of last year’s “Infinite Crisis” storyline, and the Cyborg Superman, who destroyed Coast City, Jordan’s hometown, all those years back. Of course, they get inducted into the Sinestro Corps, along with the Manhunter robots who’ve plagued the Green Lanterns for ages.

You think I’ve spoiled the whole story now, don’tcha? Wrong. I haven’t told you who’s really behind the Sinestro Corps. It ain’t Sinestro. It ain’t Parallax. It’s…

No, I ain’t telling. Check it out for yourself.

As for Kyle as the new Parallax, I really can’t say I mind. For one thing, I don’t think it’s going to be a permanent change. DC is already pushing Kyle as a character in a few upcoming series, and he’s sure not Parallaxized in those. Second, it’s a great plot turn that really emphasizes how evil the Sinestro Corps is, and what a colossal danger they’re going to be. I haven’t yet heard any fans of Kyle Rayner who are really, really unhappy with this.

This whole issue is a textbook-perfect example of how to create great arch-foes for your heroes. You’ve got a few spotlight characters (Sinestro, Parallax, Superboy Prime, the Cyborg Superman) to oppose your spotlight heroes (Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kyle’s subjugated personality), along with an organization that’s a twisted mirror-image of the Green Lantern Corps. If the rest of the storyline is as good as this one, it’s going to be big, big fun.

Geoff Johns is the writer, and he rocks. Ethan van Sciver is the artist, and he rocks, too. The dude draws scary alien monsters like nobody’s business.

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Two Countdowns for the Price of One

I missed reviewing last week’s issue of “Countdown,” so I’m going to take a quick look at last week’s and this week’s.


Only one of these characters appears in this issue.

In last week’s Countdown #45, we catch up with Donna Troy, who’s trying to fight off the alien Forerunner in Washington, D.C. Basically, Forerunner is tougher’n spit. Donna’s got powers like Wonder Woman and fairly recently spent some time as one of the Titans of myth, but she has serious trouble with Forerunner. But in the end, she and Jason Todd are saved by one of the transdimensional Monitors. Forerunner, distressed that the Monitors consider her nothing more than an untrustworthy weapon, resolves to sever her links to them and stay on Earth.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Olsen is still trying to discover why he’s starting to manifest superpowers, and Holly Robinson, who took over for Selina Kyle for a while as Catwoman, meets up with someone who offers her charity and shelter. And a few timelost members of the Legion of Super-Heroes sit around the Justice League’s satellite HQ and verbally spar with the JSA’s Dr. Mid-Nite.

Much of this issue is fairly pointless, but the big fight between Donna and Forerunner is a nice fat dose of happy, so I’ll give it a thumbs-up.


Beware! The Return of… a villain no one ever liked.

And in this week’s Countdown #44 (remember, they’re numbering this entire series in reverse), Forerunner meets up with Monarch, who is probably DC’s biggest archvillain failure. Way back when, in a mini-series called “Armageddon 2001,” Monarch was going to be the ultimate Big Bad — a planetary conqueror from the future who was secretly a superhero gone bad. But which hero was he? There was a big build-up, but people figured out pretty early that he was going to be Captain Atom. DC didn’t want their big suprise spoiled so easily, so they rewrote the end to make him… Hawk. As in the old ’60s duo Hawk and Dove. This was almost impossibly lame. Anyway, DC has spent years trying to somehow make this make sense, including everything from declaring that Hawk was possessed by an evil sorcerer to creating a new Monarch who really was Captain Atom — they’re apparently going with the Captain Atom angle for Countdown. It doesn’t keep him from being lame, but he somehow talks Forerunner into joining forces with him, at least temporarily.

Elsewhere, Holly Robinson finds herself taken in by either the goddess Athena or a bunch of Amazons. The story isn’t real clear on that point. Jimmy Olsen tries to purposely put himself in danger to see if he activates any more powers, and this time, he temporarily acquires the ability to shoot sharp spines out of his body. So far, all of his powers match up with powers he had during the old Silver Age series “Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen,” which is one of the world’s primary sources for pure Whacko-Weirdonium.

The Piper and the Trickster are on the run from everyone after being involved in the murder of Bart Allen in the final issue of “The Flash,” and Mary Marvel finally meets up with Captain Marvel, who now has shaggy gray hair, a white costume, and is the Official Guardian of All Magic. Cap says that Mary’s changed — she’s wearing a black costume and really savagely beat the snot out of the baby-suit demon from a couple issues back. Mary gets mad and takes off.

Okay, I know DC is trying to raise warning flags about that possibility that Mary has become corrupted by Black Adam’s powers, but could I just say that Captain Marvel really comes off as an utter cobag here? First of all, Mary is his sister, and he let her sit in a coma for months, took away her powers, and refused to have anything to do with her. Then he whines about her fashion choices and complains that, when she met the horrific demon from hell wearing dead babies strapped all over him and threatening to kill her and other people, she shouldn’t have beaten it up quite so badly. Cap, dude, just because you’re the Official Guardian of All Magic, that does not give you permission to be a jerk to your sister.

Verdict: Gaaah, I dunno. I didn’t find myself completely hating it, but it sure seemed sloppy. I think we’ll call this one a thumbs-down.

Wow, I actually said those were going to be short reviews? I need to work on my “not rattling on for hours” skills…

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Family Matters


Things always get chaotic when family comes to town.

I’m afraid my blogging is going to slow down quite a bit over the next week or so. I’ve got family around for a visit, and I won’t have time for very much writing until after the 4th. I’ll try to get a few reviews together, but I won’t have time to do very much.

If you ain’t happy with that… Mmm-mmmm, sorry, can’t hear you, too busy eating this deeeelicious rhubarb pie my momma made for me…

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Politics in Comics: Watchmen

This is the first in an occasional series I’d like to do covering politics in comics. True enough, many comics are perfectly happy to limit themselves to good vs. evil fisticuffs, but every once in a while, a comic comes along that wears its political opinions on its brightly-colored spandex sleeve. They’re often (but not always) some of the best and most interesting comics out there, and they often manage to entertainingly infuriate people who tend to get entertainingly infuriated by political matters.

Let’s get things started with a comic that’s widely considered the best ever made.

The classic 1986-87 miniseries “Watchmen” is the main reason that Alan Moore is currently acclaimed as the best writer in comics. His epic DC series follows a number of costumed vigilantes, including the sadistic, doomed Comedian, the mad, enigmatic Rorschach, the intellectual but naïve Nite-Owl, and the inhumanly powerful and usually completely nekkid Dr. Manhattan, as they investigate a number of strange crimes in a world teetering on the brink of nuclear annihilation.

Moore wrote “Watchmen” with the express purpose of dragging comics out of the often-juvenile ghetto they’d been relegated to. His success won him worldwide fame, plunked the comics genre into a decade-long “Dark Age” when gritty realism reigned, and earned “Watchmen” a reputation as one of the Best Comic Series Ever.

“Watchmen” is a series grounded in politics — Moore wanted his series to be more realistic than the typical long-underwear comic, so he gave his “costumed adventurers” a weakness that most people are vulnerable to: the law. In Moore’s continuity, the Keene Act was passed in 1977 and banned costumed vigilantes. Most of the nation’s heroes retire, with the exception of government agents like the Comedian and Dr. Manhattan, and Rorschach, who just plain refuses to obey.

Nite-Owl and the Comedian try to quell a riot

On top of that, the existence of government agents as brutal as the Comedian and as awesomely powerful as Dr. Manhattan cause major changes in world events. Dr. Manhattan is able to win the Vietnam War almost single-handedly — a victory that allows Richard Nixon to repeal the 22nd Amendment. In “Watchmen,” Nixon has been President for five terms.

Most notably, the comic examines how political biases would determine coverage of costumed vigilantes in the media. “Nova Express,” a glossy liberal news magazine, campaigns against vigilantes and derides them as hyper-violent fascist stormtroopers. The hard-right “New Frontiersman,” on the other hand, is an enthusiastic supporter of costumed vigilantes, depicting them as the world’s elites, society’s only hope of surviving everything from communist subversion to juvenile delinquency.

Who watches the weirdies in the colorful spandex?

So are the heroes liberals or conservatives? Yes and no. Rorschach is definitely conservative and a big fan of the “New Frontiersman,” and the Comedian is an enthusiastic government operative. But they don’t entirely pass muster as political heroes — the Comedian is a thug and not much else, and while Rorschach has a great deal of cool, the dude’s also nutty as a bag full of walnuts. Ozymandias is a very wealthy capitalist, but he’s the owner of the left-leaning “Nova Express” — and his actions at the end of the book won’t endear him to many liberals out there. Nite-Owl and Silk Spectre both come across as somewhat squishy liberals. The only truly apolitical character in the story is Dr. Manhattan, and he’s not only the most powerful person in the world, he’s pretty darn close to being a god. He’s the cold, emotionless universe made flesh, and he cares not one bean for which party is running the country.

It seems to me that, though they may have political opinions, very few of the characters in “Watchmen” have consistent political opinions. In that, they are like most of us — caring passionately about some things, violently opposed to others, but mostly untouched by the crude politics that are supposed to run the world.

In the end (hopefully no spoilers here), the entire story turns on seemingly eternal political questions: Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? What is the line between terrorist and hero? Can an elite few decide the fates of the masses? Do the ends justify the means?

Everyone seems to think those are easy questions. In “Watchmen” – and in much of real life – they aren’t. Conservatives may find themselves unexpectedly favoring stereotypically liberal points-of-view, and vice versa.

“Watchmen” provides no easy answers to those questions. That’s an exercise left to the individual reader.

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Crossing Over

You know what a crossover is, right? For comics fans, it’s when Superman and Spider-Man meet in a comic book. For non-comics fans, it’s when the cops from “Law and Order” meet up with the cops from “Law and Order: SVU” — when characters from one show (or comic or movie or book) meet characters from another show (or comic or movie or book), that’s a crossover.

“Freddy vs. Jason” = crossover. “Aliens vs. Predator” = crossover. “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” is one big crossover for animated cartoons. And Richard Belzer, the guy who plays John Munch on “Law and Order: SVU,” is the TV crossover king, since Munch has appeared in “Homicide: Life on the Street,” several different versions of “Law and Order,” “Arrested Development,” and “The X-Files.”

Anyway, comics have lots of crossovers, too. Batman meets Spider-Man, the X-Men meet the Teen Titans, Wonder Woman meets Witchblade, Archie meets the Punisher. They happen once, then never get mentioned again, because if Superman mentions that time he met the Fantastic Four and kicked Galactus on his tushie, Marvel will get mad and want to get paid for it. Nevertheless, there have been a Guatemalan metric ton of comics crossovers over the decades.

And from time to time, real people will show up in comics. Presidents will often make appearances in comics, as will some prominent scientists, sports stars, musicians, media personalities, and even particularly prominent comic book creators. But I’m aware of very few instances of a real-world celebrity making appearances in completely different comics just a month apart.

Sure, a president might show up in a Superman comic one month, then in an Avengers comic the next. But it doesn’t happen often.

And I certainly never expected it to happen with actor/writer Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

But here he is in John Kovalic’s “Dork Tower” #36:


And here he is in Aaron Robinson’s “PS238” #23:


“PS238” is set at an elementary school for superkids, so Wheaton has somehow managed to score himself some superpowers — in this case, telekinesis, which he claims to have used to make the spaceships fly around on “Star Trek.”

There’s also this angry confrontation with an evil genius wearing a pimp costume.


An evil genius in a pimp costume denouncing a telekinetic “Star Trek” actor? That’s what comics are all about, baby.

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Bigger than Big, Taller than Tall

Gigantor, the Space-Age Robot! He’s at YOUR COMMAND!

Remember Gigantor? You know, the ’60s-era Japanese cartoon about a little boy and his pet giant robot who run around fighting evil? Very goofy stories, as I remember them, but very influential, in both Japan and America.

The city of Kobe, Japan loves Gigantor. They love him so much, they’re building a life-sized statue of him.

The 18 meter high, 70 ton Ironman-28 will carry the price tag of 135 million yen. The project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2008.


The statue will serve as a double memorial, marking both the birthplace of creator Mitsuteru Yokoyama, who passed away in 2004 in an apartment fire, as well as celebrate the revitilization of the area, which was devastated in the 1995 Kobe earthquake.

I’m sorry to say it, but Japan is completely kicking our butts on the building-giant-statues-of-robots front. Statues of guys on horseback just can’t match giant robots for coolness…

(Link via Kevin Church)

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The Lubbock Comics Connection

No one will ever be able to claim that Lubbock is a major comics/cartooning center. Sure, we’ve got a good comics shop, our local library stocks comics, and we’ve even got the Lubbock Sketch Club, which works to nurture local artists and cartoonists. But we certainly don’t have a reputation as a comics hub.

However, you’d be surprised how many connections to the comics and cartooning world that we do have here. Let’s take a quick look at our hometown heroes…

1. Dirk West: Probably the artist that Lubbockites are most familiar with, West was born in Littlefield but grew up in Lubbock. After graduating from Tech, he spent a few years working as Uncle Dirk, the host of a local children’s TV show, and opened up his own advertising agency.

In the early ’60s, West started contributing single-panel sports cartoons to the A-J that featured the mascots of the teams in the Southwest Conference standing around and talking about SWC football. He created Raider Red and Nebraska’s Herbie Husker, and his weekly cartoons were must-read events here in Lubbock. They got lots of attention throughout the SWC — usually because some team (Ahem: the Aggies) would get mad about how they were portrayed.

West served a term as Lubbock mayor in 1978 and died in 1996.

You can see a gallery of some of West’s cartoons right here, and I’m posting a couple of my personal favorites below.


2. Alex Ross: One of the best known comics pros anywhere, Ross was born in Portland, Oregon, but spent much of his childhood here in Lubbock. His specialty is not traditional comics art, but painting — specifically beautiful, photorealistic painting of superheroes. His characters don’t look like steroid freaks wearing painted-on costumes — Ross knows how to draw realistic muscles (and realistic fat!), as well as clothing that actually wrinkles like clothing. He knows how to use light and shadow, how to make super-people look like people — and his artwork is still incredibly exciting and cinematic.

Some of his best known works include “Marvels” and “Earth X” for Marvel, “Kingdom Come” and “Uncle Sam” for DC, and covers for “Astro City,” “Justice Society,” and more.

I’m plugging in a few examples below.


Above: Giant-Man from “Marvels”


3. Jack Tippit: A gag cartoonist, Tippit attended Texas Tech but tranferred to Syracuse. He was a pilot in both World War II and the Korean War. His best-known work was a gag strip called “Amy,” who was basically a female Dennis the Menace. He also drew a strip called “Dr. Bill” and published cartoons in the New Yorker, Look, the Saturday Evening Post, and other magazines. For a while, he drew the “Henry” comic strip.

Here are a couple of his cartoons.



4. Scott Williams: I know almost nothing about him, to be honest. Yes, my Google-Fu is weak. But Robert Mora, who runs Star Books and Comics here in town, says that he’s a Lubbockite.

Williams is an inker — in fact, he inks almost all of Jim Lee’s work. If you don’t know Jim Lee, he’s one of the big artists, pencilling everything from the X-Men to Superman and Batman, and he was one of the founders of Image Comics in the 1990s.

“Aww, who cares? Williams just traces Lee’s stuff!” Ohh, that’s what you think, kid. You can’t be an inker without displaying a heck of a lot of artistic skill. Don’t believe me? Okay, here’s a sample of some of Lee’s uninked pencils:


And here’s the same piece after Williams inked it:


(Both of the pictures above come from, a blog produced by professional comics inkers. Check them out if you’d like more info on inking as a career.)

Pencillers are always very picky about their inkers — a good inker can make good artwork even better, and a bad one can doom the best pencils in the world. There’s a reason why Lee has stuck with Williams for all these years.

5. The Blob: No, not the evil glob of protoplasm from the 1958 horror flick — this is Fred J. Dukes, a mutant supervillain who was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1964 for “X-Men #3.” He’s not a particularly handsome super-guy.


His primary powers involve superstrength, toughness, and gravity control — basically, he can increase the pull of gravity on himself to make it almost impossible to move him.

Yeah, the Blob’s mutant powers involve him being really fat. Nobody ever said Marvel Comics was a very politically correct place back in the ’60s.

So what’s he doing on this list? Well, according to his official Marvel Comics biography, Fred was actually born here in Lubbock.

Gee, since he’s a native son, maybe we should name the Walk of Fame after him?

So how ’bout it, folks? Do you know of any other comics professionals who are from the Lubbock area? How about comics characters? Drop me a line and let me know, and I’ll add ’em to the list…

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New Comics: Space Cadets and Bat Bots


Just like high school, except in space and the leather-clad blondes aren’t beating me up and stealing my lunch money.

Let’s take a quick look at another new comic, this time the fourth issue of “The Brave and the Bold,” DC’s new revival of their classic team-up comic. So far, in a cosmic quest for a pair of artifacts, one mystical, one super-scientific, we’ve seen team-ups of Batman and Green Lantern, Green Lantern and Supergirl, and Batman and Blue Beetle. At the end of the last issue, a terrible accident had occurred while Bats and Beetle were fighting the futuristic Fatal Five, leading to Batman sharing a body with the evil cyborg Tharok — in other words, Batman is currently half-Batman and half insanely murderous robot!

In this issue, we start out with our focus on Batman and Blue Beetle. Bats is having trouble controlling the robotic half of his body and Beetle can’t figure out how to split Batman and Tharok back apart. The rest of the Fatal Five attack, and Batman seemingly sacrifices himself to remove the Fatal Five from the equation.

After that, we switch to this issue’s main team-up — Supergirl and psycho space-biker Lobo. Supergirl’s lost in space, and Lobo’s been hired to get her to the distant planet Rann, where Green Lantern has been teleported. Supergirl and Lobo are teleported from a scummy interstellar bar to, of all places, the Garden of Destiny — as in Destiny, the elder brother of Dream from Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” comics. Destiny, normally one of the most powerful beings in the universe, is a bit scatter-brained because he’s lost the Book of Destiny, which lists every moment of history, from the beginning of time to the end of everything. Supergirl decides to find the Book, and Destiny returns them to normal space, where Lobo takes her to Rann (and Supergirl welshes on paying him!).

And finally, we catch back up with Batman, still merged with Tharok, transported to the far future, where he’ll team up, next issue, with the Legion of Super-Heroes.

I’m a big fan of this book. George Perez’s artwork is as awesome as ever, and Mark Waid really has a knack for depicting multiple different characters and giving them enough personality to make them all distinctive from each other. The story is entirely rollicking, even in the places where it doesn’t make a lick of sense, and the idea that anything can happen at any time (who ever expected a character from the “Sandman” comics to make a guest appearance?!?) means you anticipate the next new surprise all the way through.

Verdict: Big thumbs up. Go git it.

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The Crash of the Flash


Speed kills.

As I’ve said before, I didn’t like the most recent comic series starring the Flash. From the beginning, I thought it was a series that was very poorly thought out, with a popular character unceremoniously booted into comic limbo and replaced by an almost entirely new and untested character.

Let’s take a look at where things went wrong, and how they may yet be salvaged.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the character’s long history, there have been a variety of Flashes through the decades. In the 40s, there was a Flash named Jay Garrick who ran around with a metal helmet on his head. The Flash most people are familiar with was Barry Allen, a police scientist who made his debut in the ’50s. He wore a distinctive red uniform that every subsequent Flash has worn. During the “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” Barry Allen died saving the universe, and his sidekick, Wally West, who previously went by the name of Kid Flash, took over as the newest Flash. Wally was considered the fastest and most powerful of all the Flashes — since he was able to tap into the interdimensional “Speed Force” that powered all superspeed characters, there were no real limits on how fast he could run.

Bart Allen made his first appearance as Impulse in 1994. He was the grandson of Barry Allen, born in the future with an accelerated metabolism. Many of his best adventures were comedic, playing up both his superspeed and his irritating hyperactivity. In 2003, Bart took on the mantle of Kid Flash, in one of the more enjoyable storyarcs of the revived “Teen Titans” series. (It was revealed that he had a photographic memory, and deciding he wanted to be a more efficient superhero, he read every single book in the San Francisco public library in a matter of minutes.)

Built up alongside the various Flashes were the members of his Rogues Gallery, better known as just the Rogues. Most had no powers of their own but used various super-scientific weapons to commit crimes. They included Captain Cold, the Mirror Master, Heat Wave, Captain Boomerang, Weather Wizard, and many more. Captain Cold was generally acknowledged as the leader, and he insisted that they follow a strict code of honor — they avoided drugs and preferred not to kill anyone, unless they couldn’t avoid it. I remember them saying more than once that they liked being simple bank robbers, and didn’t want to be the world-conquering egotists who faced most other superheroes.

And then, during the “Infinite Crisis,” Wally got sucked into the Speed Force, along with his wife and infant children — readers were told that he’d never come back. There was no grand farewell for the character, he made no great heroic last stand, and no one seemed to mourn his passing. Remember, Wally had been a major player in the DC Universe ever since his debut as Kid Flash back in late 1959. I, for one, felt that DC tossing him aside so quickly and with so little care was disrespectful, both to the character and to his fans.

At the same time, Bart was pulled into the Speed Force and artificially aged four years, going from being a teenager to being an adult. He was basically an entirely new character, as many of the appealingly humorous aspects of his personality had been transformed replaced with angsty whining. It’s no great surprise that his new comic wasn’t that popular.

DC, however, went into panic mode recently — they resurrected Wally and his family in the latest issue of “Justice League of America” (a comic so bad that I decided not to make myself review it, with cover artwork so outrageously inept, I feared I’d run afoul of the A-J’s filtering software just describing it) and had the newly drug-abusing, kill-crazy Rogues beat Bart to death. DC has been claiming that they’ve planned this all along, but frankly, no one believes them. Bart’s ending is just too abrupt and absurdly violent — DC seems to think that the fans didn’t like Bart when what they didn’t like was watching DC produce badly written and poorly planned comics. No one would’ve complained if Bart had been kept alive — heck, I suspect most Flash fans will be angrier about Bart’s death than they were about his short-lived Flash career.

This seems to be common practice for comic companies. Got a series or character you expected to be insanely popular that is instead unpopular? Don’t tell readers it’s your fault — use the character as a scapegoat and kill him off! We saw Marvel do the same thing to Ben Reilly at the end of the much-despised Spider-Man “Clone Saga” of the mid-’90s. They blamed the character for their misfortunes instead of who was truly at fault — the editors, the writers, the company bigwigs who pushed the story forward.

Right now, everyone is very hopeful that putting Mark Waid back on as the Flash’s writer will return the series to greatness. Waid is the writer who’s most well-known for writing Wally’s best adventures, and he is the writer who I’d most like to see writing about the newly-resurrected Wally.

But I’m also expecting Waid to do something that DC isn’t expecting. I think that Waid is smart enough to see through DC’s likely bulldada about Bart being a “bad character.” I’m hoping that Waid will also find a way to resurrect Bart, either as an adult, or as a teen. After all, Waid created Bart and wrote his adventures for several years — I suspect he has a vested interest in seeing the character continue. Expect Bart to make his return sometime in the next year or two — and most importantly, expect his return to be a good story. Mercy knows, someone needs to remind DC how to do that.

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New Comics: The World’s Fastest Scapegoat


It’s very dark in there.

It’s the 13th and final issue of “The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive.”

If you’ve been paying any attention to the comics rumor mill, you know what happens in this one.

If you haven’t, you’re about to find out. Shut yer eyes quick, chickadee, spoilers in the next paragraph!

Bart Allen dies.

In fact, he gets his speed taken away, he pulls off a pretty good fight against the Rogues, and then they beat him to death.

Yes, they actually killed a Flash without letting him run.

In other words, DC decided they didn’t like the character, so they simultaneously killed and dissed him. Because all Flashes are supposed to die running. It’s in the contracts. If you’re a Flash, you die while running faster than you’ve ever run in your life, skirting just this side of hypercosmic speeds, your atoms actually burning down and exploding as friction, kinetic energy, and Einstein’s frustrated ghost strip away your individual protons and hyper-accelerated skin cells.

Flashes never die on their backs getting their guts stomped out by supervillains.

The problem is that DC thought they’d shake things up, age Bart Allen to adulthood, change his personality, and rake in big bucks with their new and angsty Flash. Lo and behold, readers didn’t like the new Flash. Readers didn’t buy the book. Readers said the book sucked.

DC decided they had to ditch the book and, assuming the readers hated Bart Allen, killed him off as dismissively as they could. “Yay for us, readers!” DC yells. “We killed the character you hated, Bart Allen! Love us again!”

“You idiots,” snarl the readers. “We liked Bart. We hated your stupid comic book.”

“Don’t worry, readers,” says new Flash scribe Mark Waid. “I’ll fix this for ya.”

How? That’s a post for another day. (In other words, tomorrow morning.)

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