"The Brave and the Beaten"
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Scott Kollins(p), Doug Hazelwood(i), James Sinclair(c)
The Flash is enjoyable, but I'm not certain it's enjoyable for all the right reasons; hence, the two different scores. If Geoff Johns meant to direct a Mystery Science Theater 3000 experiment, he succeeded in spades. If he meant to conduct a serious symphony, he failed miserably. It's difficult to discern the author's intent especially given that sexist piece of garbage ridiculing Power Girl that he and Goyer did apparently for fun in JSA.
If this be drama, then I laugh out loud. A giant beanstalk sprouts out of Keystone asphalt one day, and the Flash knows what it means but not how close the meaning is to his heart. The nutbar with the poor color sense is Brother Grimm. His presence tends to favor the idea that Johns really isn't taking this "drama" very seriously at all. Scott Kollins seems to pick up on the vibe since he makes the villain at one point template his fingers like Mr. Burns. "Ex-cellent." His secret identity is utterly ludicrous and his threat to the heroes is absolutely zero.
Running against the idea of a purposely-bad movie in comic book form is Geoff Johns inclusion of Hawkman, or maybe he's a straight man in all of this tomservofoolery. The humor is at odds with Hawkman killing the dragons that the cover goofball conjures. Perhaps, these were not real dragons, but the scenes where they spurt green blood when Hawkman spears them or maces them suggest otherwise.
Most of the really bad dialogue spurts from the villain's mouth, but the heroes take this idiot too seriously and once again leave me with an ambivalent feeling toward the book. Wally and Hawkman do sound perfectly in character. Even the little joke Hawkman makes at the end--the sort of wau-wau-wau-wau pun you would find in Fractured Fairytales--suits his characterization.
Outside of not knowing what the aim of the author was, there were moments in The Flash that I enjoyed without question. The idea that there's a community of super-heroes like there was in the pre-Crisis multiverse certainly appeals even if I don't believe for one second that the post-Crisis DC has a stable continuity or history. Both heroes treat each other with respect. Linda while being in need of rescue does not fall into the trap of stereotype, and the Barry Allen comment gives the book a lot of uncloying heart.
Scott Kollins' take of Hawkman. I liked his design on the eyes of the hawk mask. Because the mask does not change, the contrast in Carter's send-off smile really became noticeable. I could have done without the ugly veins in Hawkman's muscles. Mr. Kollins'choreography for Wally's super-powers is inventive in the use of the camera angles. I have never for instance seen a shot like the one on page seven where Wally vaults super-fast off a roof-top. As previously mentioned, Mr. Kollins really seems to think that this issue is seriocomic. His Brother Grimm cannot be taken seriously. He does not look horrific or even eldritch as a fairy's mien may issue. He looks silly. Colorist James Sinclair only serves to accent the overall goofiness of the character by choosing colors that clash in an eye-gouging way.
My advice? If you're looking for a serious Flash adventure, go elsewhere. If you want to kickback for a so bad it's good adventure, The Flash is what you seek.
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