Posted tagged ‘Flash’

Review: Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds

December 1, 2009

The Legion of 3 Worlds is a very strange book.  It serves as the culmination of various plot threads from Geoff Johns’ runs on Teen Titans, Superman, Green Lantern, and the Flash but has nothing whatsoever to do with Final Crisis, despite the title.  Then there’s its stated goal of redeeming Superboy Prime, the villain of two massive DC events (Infinite Crisis and the Sinestro Corps War) and a continuity headache in his own right thanks to his role in Crisis on Infinite Earths.  And then of course the book is actually supposed to be about the Legion of Superheroes, and is an attempt to straighten out the three different continuities that exist in the Legion canon.

Can you follow all that?  If so this is the book for you.  For the other 99% of the population who won’t have a chance of groking this story without a wikipedia IV I think this book will pose a substantial problem.  

But credit where its due, the story here holds together remarkably well despite just how much is going on here in so little space.  And much of that is due to the legendary George Perez turning in some amazing art work.  Throughout the series he has to draw a couple hundred characters, not to mention distinguishing between all the alternate versions of the Legionaires.  Its a pretty impressive tour de force and it makes this comic a must read, but really only for the hard core DC fans.

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Review: Final Crisis

June 20, 2009

Final Crisis is kind of a frustrating book, epitomizing both the best and worst of Grant Morrison.  There are big ideas on display on every page and the scale of the story is overwhelming.  This is a tribute to the legacy of Jack Kirby, its a meditation on the role of superheroes in pop culture, and its the summation of Morrison’s entire career at DC.  Thus while it is often great, it’s more often prohibitively dense.

You really have to wrestle with this story in order to grok it, and while normally that’s a very rewarding experience with a Grant Morrison book, it doesn’t really work when the comic in question is supposed to be a widescreen tent-pole event.  Huge events happen in this book, the silver age Flash returns from the dead, while both Batman & the Martian Manhunter meet their ends, and yet these moments get lost in the somewhat experimental narrative.  

This is soooo close to being a great book, but somehow it just doesn’t quite work.

Review: Showcase Presents the Flash Vol.2

September 14, 2008

In terms of history, the Flash is one of the most important out there.  The first appearance of the Barry Allen Flash (contained in vol. 1) marks the start of the silver age by introducing the first superhero since the introduction of the comics code all but destroyed the medium.  Now in the second collection there’s the Flash of Two Worlds, which introduces the concept of DC’s multiverse, sets up the reintroduction of the golden age heroes, and inspires more stories than anything else DC ever produced.

Now unlike a lot of the other DC comics from this era, the Flash is actually pretty good on its own merits.  Carmine Infantino made his name as an artist on this book, and the skill and imagination at play are a wonder.  The villains form what is maybe the third best rogue’s gallery out there next to Spider-Man and Batman’s (this collection features the first appearances of Professor Zoom, the Top, Abra Kadabra, and Head Wave).  And for what it’s worth Barry Allen and Wally “Kid Flash” West, don’t come across as quite so unbareably two-dimensional as the rest of DC’s characters from that era.

But the book does still wear it’s age on it’s sleeve.  The writing uses far too many captions.  The Flash is rediculously overpowered (he has control over all his molecules, turns invisible regularly, and at one point reaches warp-7).  There’s also the cosmic-treadmill, which for some reason managed to stick around as part of the lore.

But overall, this is the best of DC’s silver age superhero books and is a required part of any serious comic collection.