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Flash #217

Posted: Friday, January 7, 2005
By: Keith Dallas



"Post-Crisis"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Howard Porter (p), Livesay (i), James Sinclair (colors)

Publisher: DC Comics

Underwhelmed by decompressed comics? Then run out and buy Flash #217 because it is one packed comic book.

After reading Flash #216 and DC's advance solicitation of this issue, I only expected two events: Wally and Linda's reunion and Captain Boomerang's funeral. That would have been enough for me, but Flash #217 delivers so much more that it all needs to be carefully pored over and considered. Besides the reunion and the funeral, the issue presents an encounter between Zoom and the Cheetah, an encounter between Flash and Batman, and a final page splash that will widen any reader's eye and make him/her say, "Just what the hell is going on here?"

Again, this is not a comic book that can be read quickly as you'll inappropriately gloss over some interesting (and subtle) single panel moments: Weather Wizard self-reflecting on top of the bridge that connects Keystone and Central cities, Weather Wizard and Mirror Master walking between headstones marked "Hades" and "Styx" in order to access a doorway to the other dimensional Avernus, the Turtle fondling Golden Glider's memorial statue, Captain Cold unemotionally stopping the Turtle from doing so..., just to name a few.

A reader can be diverted for A WHILE just poring over the double splash page that showcases all the Rogues collected at the funeral and trying to figure out who's who. (Then again, maybe only the long-time Flash reader would find this diverting.) Howard Porter and Livesay's Batman is deadly serious and glowering, and their cover image is their finest to date.

Critics of this issue will focus on Linda and Wally's reunion and complain that the series has merely restored the status quo of their relationship. This criticism, however, neglects two aspects of this issue.

First, Wally and Linda's social status within Keystone City has been radically altered with Linda now being the local recognizable newscaster celebrity and Wally being the unknown Keystone Police Department auto mechanic ("Is this Mr. Park?" an elderly woman asks Wally). This change should create some new facets to Linda and Wally's relationship. Linda already hinted that her parents aren't too happy with her being married to a blue collar worker whereas before the Spectre erased everyone's memory of Wally being the Flash, Linda's parents believed their daughter was married to a famous super-hero. Thankfully, not all developments in marriages (super-hero or otherwise) have to involve abduction, murder, rape, infidelity, divorce or pregnancy, so I'm interested to see how Linda and Wally's relationship adjusts to their changed social statuses.

Second, Wally and Linda's reunion encompasses 5 pages of a 22 page comic book. There's so much more happening in Flash #217 than just this reunion, and that's the principal reason why I admire this issue. The uninitiated Flash reader will probably be a bit lost about some of the goings-on of this issue. I have to acknowledge that, but after hopping on to any comic book-related message board and asking a few questions, anyone can be brought up to speed on this series.

[Cue rim shot.]



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