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Subj: The Flash #19 - Always The Past...
Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 at 08:26:27 pm BST (Viewed 122 times)
Taking inspiration from the past can be a perfectly admirable and sensible path to take when writing new characters or reconditioning old and defunct ones, by returning to the original conditions which saw success that original idea might find equal validity in the present, and so when the decision was made to diminish the role of the increasingly unworkable Bart Allen as Kid Flash and reinvent the role and identity of the original Kid Flash - Wally West - into something both modern and relevant to the times we live some respect and validity must be given to the publisher for at least staying true to tradition.
And yet... and yet. Why isn't it working?
Opening with a striking full page shot of a lashed-up Captain Boomerang, Flash, and Kid Flash, artist Jesus Merino makes an instant impression on his guest spot with the book, so much so that when series regular Carmine De Giandumenica arrives later in the book the clarity of where the one artists contribution ends and the other begins will cause no problem at all in detecting where and when it comes. But the visuals do their job nevertheless, and what comes from Joshua Williamson's script is a first wave act seeing the Australian set trio caught/escaping/defeating a motley band of gun runners which leads to the second wave closing act of the searching Wally West learning of the fate of his father from Captain Boomerang and the realisation that Barry Allen had suspected as much all along. Cue requisite emotional fallout and teen recriminations...
More than that Joshua Williamson layers the melodrama engulfing the bereft Wally by dredging up Barry's own weight in the form of his murdered mother and troubled father, the effect is regrettably misjudged, as while Barry's sensational defining moment has been already well covered and exploited for maximum angst driven story potential the moment that should have belonged to Wally, and duly focused on just him, is instead diluted by a direct comparison to the tabloid natured excesses of Barry's tragedy.
As Wally struggles to absorb the reality of Danial West's life and death Joshua Williamson makes every attempt to show the confusion and awful loneliness that the loss of an estranged and distant father has on a young man, that Daniel West was a vicious criminal and failure as a man is no consideration in these circumstances as all Wally is left with is a now unanswerable set of personal emotions and questions that will haunt him for the rest of his days. The scene as Wally comes to restin a remote setting and removes his mask to lament what he has just learned is genuinely touching. Carmine De Giandumenica and his colourist both combine to set the moment against an outback setting that is both beautiful and desolate, and yet strangely magical at the same time. The character of this new Wally West was never well thought out, and that his father stands revealed to be a criminal and now deceased lends him no future credit at all, And yet watching the tight composition between writer and artist that sees Wally bare a genuine piece of his inner self to us stands as one of the finest brief moments seen in the Flash canon these last few years... that it is then squandered by an unconvincing fit of pique from young Mr West shouldn't allow to detract from the power of that moment and the emotional honesty on display within it...
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