A love-torn letter to Wally West:
JD Reviews THE FLASH 0

Title: The Flash #0
Story & Art: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Art: Francis Manapul
Colors: Brian Buccellato & Ian Herring
Published by DC Comics
Reviewed by Johnny Destructo

My dearest Wally West,

It breaks my heart that you and I had to go our separate ways. I know that it wasn’t something you wanted, and I’m damn sure it wasn’t something I wanted, or was even prepared to deal with. Even though at first, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to be with you, eventually you wormed your snide and spoiled way into my heart. I thought people might look at us funny, drawn to each other just because of the sameness of our hair color. But damn them all, we are FireCrotches for life, bound by our burning Dark Phoenix short & curlies.  Besides, after a while, I just stopped caring. I became proud to carry you with me. Let the people on the buses and subways gawk all they wanted, you and I were meant to be together, my most Scarlet of Speedsters.

Over the course of our relationship, you and I both grew up from (if you’ll excuse the phrase:) impulse kids into responsible adults, but still living in the shadow of others. We fought for ourselves, you and I, and we persevered. But then I watched helplessly as you ruined your life with terrible, terrible children. Oh how I wanted to go back in time and ret-con them into a sloppy mess on the dirty concrete of a back-alley abortion clinic. Not just for ME, my love, but for you as well! You were changing, I could feel it. No longer was our connection as boundless as it had once seemed. And then, I could see lightning on the horizon in the guise of Geoff Johns. He had done right by you previously, and oh the times we had, the three of us. He got you just as much as I did. Good lord, as the memories wash over me, so to do the tears of regret.

Just as you were letting him go and racing from under his shadow, Johns used dark magicks to bring back your Uncle Barry.

But that wasn’t enough. As time went by and you faded out of the spotlight, Barry took center stage. My heart couldn’t handle it. I composed many a suicide note while struggling to remain interested in that blonde-haired bow-tie wearing bollocks-licker. Not even Geoff Johns, who had worked miracles on you before could make me love this re-youth-enated bastard. Don’t look for a dictionary, my love…it isn’t a word.

Once the New 52 started, I tried again to give a good gosh darn about Barry, but holy cats was he a dry character. I loved some of the things that the new writer/artist had done with Barry’s powers.  The running on the rotating blades of a helicopter? The super-quick thinking that allowed him to foresee every possibility? Hell, my favorite scene was when Barry got so tied-up concentrating on possibilities that he got shot in the head! Brilliant! But alas, having interesting things happen to a character doesn’t make him interesting, and I fell behind. I’ve missed the past 7 or 8 issues of the book, a title that used to give me such glee when it was just you and me.

And that brings us to this newest issue. It’s a re-telling of that blonde bastard’s origin, and I was prepared to hate it. To show DC the hate that it showed me, by squashing our love, my dear Wallace. Squashed it like a bug on the face shield of that unforgivably bad Jay Garrick costume we’ve had to look at in Earth 2.

But, I didn’t hate it. I realized, after I started to let my mile-high emotional walls down, that maybe there was something interesting about Barry after all. We harkened back the obligatory five years, and I got to watch the classic scene in which Barry received his powers. The same one that he would eventually and irresponsibly recreate, allowing you to become a Flash as well. But the moment’s fire is dramatically fueled by the fact that Barry is in the middle of throwing his equipment through a window when he is touched by the speed-giving light. He’s frustrated, you see. Emotional, even. A state that I’m not used to seeing from ole Crew-Cut. He’s been trying for years to uncover the mystery behind his mother’s death, and hopefully get his supposedly framed father out of prison. I was then taken on a whirlwind of flashbacks as Barry lay in a coma. It seems that he’s Lt. Frye’s “golden boy” because Frye is like a father to Barry. Well, you know…a “not in prison for the murder of his mother” type of father. We also see the origin of Barry’s lame-ass bow tie. I don’t care what the Dr. Who fan-shirt says: Bow Ties are NOT cool. So sayeth the geek with the GI Joe tattoo! It also seems that Barry’s mother and father were on the brink of divorce because of another man, who I’m going to assume is the aforementioned Lt. Frye.

Another interesting point that I noticed about Barry’s upbringing, is that his doting and loving mother was always telling him to slow down, to take his time and think things through, and then his father would come in and literally hurry the boy up.  “We’ve gotta go.” “Be back before diner”. There’s an interesting dichotomy at work here, a pushing and pulling within Barry that I hope is explored further, but at least it adds an interesting layer the character.

I also love the scene where Barry first employs his Super-Speed. In the original, um…origin, Barry was running to get a cab and runs past it. This scene is far more personal, as he was in his coma, dreaming when it happened. In the dream, he was coming home to find his mother had been killed and was trying to run past the cops to his mother’s body when he apparently went sleep-running. He awoke to find that he had run to East Africa by accident. A far cooler scene, if you ask me.

And that’s the thing, Wally. This origin story is filled to the brim with emotional beats that invested me in the character in a way that I wasn’t expecting. Now, I do remember that some of this is ground already worn down by Geoff Johns, the mother-murder story. It turned out that his mom was killed by Reverse-Flash, and that Barry’s attempts at saving her created the Flashpoint Universe, and in turn created the entire New 52. I’m curious to see if Manapul will be using that same villain as the cause, or if this is going to start heading in the direction of a true mystery, not one that I’m just re-reading for the sake of it. Either way, for the first time, I think I’m actually interested in finding out.

I hope this doesn’t hurt you to read, my red-headed rapscallion. But as much as I love you, and will love you…I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t a brighter future ahead. I know you’ll be back someday, of course you will, I have undying hope. Just as Barry returned, so shall you.

I’ll be waiting for you, one baited breath at a time. But until then, I hope you don’t mind if I hang out with Barry awhile. He might be a pretty cool dude.

Yours in the speed-force,
Johnny Destructo

Ps. I still wear those Flash underoos you gave me, and think of you fondly when I do.

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1 Comment to “A love-torn letter to Wally West:
JD Reviews THE FLASH 0”

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  1. Tgjan says:

    You two would have made such a cute couple.

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