Current Reviews


Flash #219 & Wonder Woman #214

Posted: Tuesday, March 22, 2005
By: Shawn Hill

Flash #219

“Truth or Dare: Part 1”

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Justiniano (w/various inkers)

Wonder Woman #214

“Truth or Dare: Part 2”

Writer: Greg Rucka (w/Geoff Johns)
Art: Drew Johnson (p), Ray Snyder (i)

Publisher: DC Comics

Plot: Dr. Minerva/Cheetah and Prof. Zoom team up to take down their nemeses, though Barbara’s goals are murky and Prof. Zoom thinks he’s helping.

Comments: Here are two post-Crisis DC books, both having survived for several years with several creators, both still staying somewhat true to the changes Crisis wrought in their histories. Perez’s Diana remains an emissary of peace with violent power, while Wally is a fine successor to Barry.

The Flash chapter is the stronger of the two in this unusual crossover. Justiniano is a welcome member of the DC fold, with a softer, more expressive style than the clunky, earth-bound Johnson can achieve. Readers of Rucka’s series know that Wally and Diana have some ideological differences, and Wally’s character comes through strongly under Johns’s pen, though I don’t really agree with his vision of Diana.

The perennial problem with Diana is how to portray the inner psyche of this extraordinarily gifted walking statue. The answer I think is to focus on her interior feelings about those she loves, and to realize the difference between her public persona and her very understandable loyalties, needs and fears. She needs a secret identity again. She needs Diana Prince.

But until she has that, at least she has Rucka to keep the stakes high around her and surround her with a varied supporting cast. Wally, however, needs to deal with her as she is, and accept her “inhuman” existence. The only writer who’s managed to capture her humanity since Perez was Jiminez, and Barbara’s casual use of Ballesteros’s (the male Cheetah) blood puts one more nail in the coffin of his run. While not as seminal as Morrison’s New X-men run, creators have been just as thorough in undoing the things Jiminez did with this title, inexplicably so. As with Morrison, I think it’s mostly down to not understanding the value of what he did.

In part 1, the Flash interrupts a pretty good battle with Giganta, and Justiniano captures the menace of Cheetah and Zoom effectively. Johns loves living in the minds of his villains, and Identity Crisis has given a boost to the idea of villains as conniving co-conspirators that can be very entertaining.

In part two, the combatants switch foes, with Flash proving too resilient for Minerva, and Zoom proving too crazy for Diana. The issue is one long battle scene, not something either Rucka or Johnson excel at. It evokes memories of the complete misfire of issue #200 with the injured Silver Swan. Cheetah loses the speed she gained in part 1, but lives to fight another day. Whatever her plot may be, it’s long term, but that’s not very satisfying in the short.

While Johnson is serviceable, I anxiously await Morales’s arrival on this title, as I think he can do much more with the most interesting aspect of Rucka’s run, the operatic plotting of the gods. Plus, his Diana is beautiful.

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