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Flash #205

Posted: Monday, January 5, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Alberto Dose and Howard Porter (p), Alberto Dose and Livesay (i)

Publisher: D.C. Comics

Plot:
As Wally finds himself confronted by Batman who looks to have a full recollection of his past with the Flash, we soon discover that Batman managed to access a backdoor that the Spectre left in his mind-wipe. We then see Batman is able to guide the Flash to this backdoor, and as such Wally soon has his past fully restored to him. However in spite of Batman's insistence, Wally isn't quite sure if he wants to show other people how to access this backdoor.

Comments:
This issue shows us that Geoff Johns has a rather tidy backdoor that he can have characters slip through when it comes to the Spectre's mind wipe, as if a character is able to put enough pieces together than the floodgates open and their complete memory is fully restored. This makes things a little less interesting as Wally doesn't really have to rebuild his relationship with the rest of the DCU from scratch, but rather he simply has to remind them of some key elements from their previous relationships and they'll be back on side. Of course the flip side to this would be that this little trick probably doesn't exclude the members of the Flash's rogues gallery, and while Batman was the first to have his eyes opened, the Rogues have the added advantage of having far more exposure to Wally and Barry, so they should have an easier go of opening the floodgates that Batman has shown can be opened. Of course the same could be argued about Linda and watching Wally work to keep her from remembering should make for interesting reading. On the other hand, one of the more engaging elements that I found in the early chapters has been effectively erased, as I'm guessing with the full recovery of his memories comes the years of experience when it comes to using his powers, and as such he's likely to have an easier time of it when it comes to taking down the villain that's been targeting the KCPD in this arc.

As for the art, I'm not entirely sold on Alberto Dose's art. Now it does a pretty fair job of capturing the blue collar element of Wally's new status quo, and costume design for the new Mr. Element is quite menacing, with the last page shot of the character being particularly effective. However, there's also moments where the art doesn't quite work, as Batman looks a bit silly, when I imagine the art is trying to convey the character's more ominous qualities, with the art's insistence on making his real ears clearly visible under his mask being a visual design element that I found quite distracting. We do get a pretty solid preview of Howard Porter's work as he offers up a two-page spread that visually represents Wally getting his memories back, and if nothing else the shots of Wally moving at super-speed look quite promising. I will also give the art credit for offering up a pretty solid cover image, as this shot did leave me wanting to read the issue.

Final Word:
Batman is a character who would be obsessive enough that he would be first in line when it comes to uncovering the backdoor to the Spectre's mind-wipe, though in the end I found myself wondering why Batman even needed Wally to come with him to open the minds of his fellow heroes, as it seems to me he has the information one would need to do this himself. Still, I wouldn't wanted to be cheated out of the tension that is sure to come about from Wally's encounters with his former trusted allies, as he knows all of their secrets while he's a complete mystery to them. In fact Geoff Johns could have a lot of fun with the idea of trust, and the idea of whether it exists if Wally is reluctant to give up the advantage that he currently holds over everyone in the DCU. This issue also offers up a somewhat surprising reveal in the final pages of this issue as we learn the identity of the new Mr. Element, and we see a member of the newly formed supporting cast looks to be in a bit of trouble, when they stumble across the villain's secret.



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