Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Alberto Dose
Publisher: DC Comics
Apparently Wally West’s life without the Flash kind of sucks. He works the night shift in the Keystone City Police Department motor pool, he never sees his wife, and one of his coworkers is bit of a jerk. It does not bode well for the character that his new situation makes for some appealing storytelling. Geoff Johns has delivered on his promise to turn Wally’s life upside down by taking away everything familiar to regular readers.
Gone is the speed (or the knowledge of it at least), the costume, the good relationship with the extended Flash family, and the more or less glamorous life Wally was leading. In its place is a dead end job, a marriage that could be in trouble, and a city that resembles Gotham more than it does America’s heartland. Crime has risen since the Flash disappeared, and with no resident superhero to keep the criminals in check they seem to be having a field day. I found it interesting that Detectives Chyre and Morillo still called the criminals Rogues even though the root cause for that name is gone. One can typically not have a Rogue’s Gallery without the superhero for them to rail against, so it appears that the Flash’s disappearance may not be as complete as Johns would have us believe.
Alberto Dose does not belong on Flash. His art isn’t bad, but his style is a cross between Marcello (Hellblazer) Frusin and Eduardo (100 Bullets) Risso, and that doesn’t fit the world of the title character. Granted his work is responsible for the darker feel of the book that I’ll praise later, but his action sequence in this issue is woefully inadequate. Said scene involves a jackknifing semi and the resulting big pile-up, but I found the accident hard to follow. For some reason Wally’s car takes flight after being hit and I couldn’t find a reason for it. I had to study a few panels to figure how Wally was extracting a woman from her car, and as I’ve said before, you shouldn’t be forced to do that to enjoy a comic book. I’ve read that Howard Porter will be providing the art for future issues, and I’m already looking forward to them one issue into Dose’s run.
It’s hard to put into words the effect Wally’s new world has on the book as a whole. It feels like Johns has drained all of the light out of the world. Being the Flash was Wally West’s world and the removal of that has not only made his life a shambles, but effected Keystone City in such a way that I can’t see why anyone would want to live there. Johns is playing with the importance of the existence of superheroes, and I’m interested to see how far he takes that idea.
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