"Finish Line Part 1: The Last Days"
Writer: Joey Cavalieri
Artists: Val Semeiks (p), Livesay (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: After an upsetting nightmare, Wally wakes up only to have to deal with his mother-in-law and father-in-law. His mother-in-law, concerned for her grandchildren's spiritual well-being, suggests that they go to a function at a church she and her husband have been involved with. While taking care of an emergency at the church, Wally witnesses a man performing a superhuman feat. He tracks the man to an underground basement and is confronted by a race of people from another dimension that have come to the Earth to get medical assistance for some of their people. Wally promises he will help, and after he leaves, a sinister force emerges.
Commentary: There were some neat little moments in this issue. I really enjoyed the opening scene and the confusion that it instilled in me as a reader. I also really liked watching Wally going through all of the gifts that his fellow Justice Leaguers have sent to his children. I even liked the interaction between Wally and his in-laws. Joey Cavalieri really nails all of the emotional beats and starts off with some fantastic characterization, and you can tell that he has put a lot of thought into how he wanted to handle Wally and his family.
Then we come crashing into a Barry Allen plot.
Now I don't want to be misunderstood here. I have read a good deal of Barry Allen's adventures through the '60s, '70s and early '80s and many of them break down like this: Barry has some interaction with his wife, something weird happens, he has a wacky adventure with another race or a group of inter-dimensional travelers or some squirrelly little imp who only wants to rid the world of cream cheese and then, after that's over with, he's at home with Iris winking at the camera.
Now I realize that they weren't all like this, but crack open a Flash comic from that time and seven times out of ten you'll get this type of story. It wasn't bad. In fact, they are down right enjoyable for a Barry Allen Flash story.
And that's the point. This story, despite its ending, has all of the trappings of a Barry Allen Flash story, not a Wally West story. This wasn't a bad issue; it just felt very out of place with my perception of who Wally is as a person and character. I realize that something else is going on here and that by next issue, I will have to take back a lot of what I wrote here, but for the moment I am sticking to my guns.
Val Semeiks' art didn't have the punch it usually does. More often than not I have enjoyed his style, but with this issue it didn't seem as smooth as it normally is. I enjoyed the page layouts and the scenes were paced well, but at the same time it didn't feel like Semeiks' art. I am going to come to the very ignorant and potentially wrong conclusion that the reason for this is the inker Livesay. It could be that Semeiks has changed his style. Either way it wasn't a bad issue art wise, it just took some getting used to.
In The End: While I didn't care for its style or tone, this wasn't a bad issue and was certainly heads and tails above the previous one. I know I may have come across as a little harsh, but in the end I am going to give Cavalieri a chance and see where he takes the story. Who knows, I may have to eat a little crow by story arc's end.
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