Superman Through the Ages! Forum

The Superman Family! => Other Superfriends => Topic started by: Great Rao on November 06, 2005, 12:04:02 PM



Title: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: Great Rao on November 06, 2005, 12:04:02 PM
Administrator's note: this thread is split from this one (https://www.supermanthroughtheages.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1974&start=8).

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Though I'm hardly a fan of Mark Waid's "contributions" to the Flash (this could be a whole other post, but sufficed to say, Mark Waid is to the Flash what John Byrne is to Superman) it is interesting to mention how he pointed out that at DC, there is just about a CIVILIZATION of "pure" speedsters: Max Mercury, Jessie Quick, Johnny Quick, XS, Impala, the various Flashes over the years, and so on.

You've stated before that you don't like Waid's work on the Flash, so I'm not going to try to change your mind - but I feel that your comparison of Waid to Byrne is completely off the mark and I need to go on the record that I disagree.  As a quick example, that a look at Birthright vs. Man of Steel!

Waid seems to love what has come before him.  He is about respecting and incorporating the past - along with his own ideas - into an exciting present; Byrne is about tearing down everything that has come before him.

I would say that in some ways Mark Waid is to the Flash what Edmond Hamilton is to Superman.  It's almost like Waid was doing with the Flash what he wanted to do with Superman:  He gave the Flash a "Flash Family", the Flash travelled all through time, went to the future and was a hero, there were super-powered descendants across the ages, and there was an almost universally known "Flash Legacy;" along with mind-blowing new plot developments every issue.   That's exactly what should have been going on in Superman - Waid added all this mythology, legacy, and heroism; whereas Byrne destroyed mythology, legacy, and heroism.

Waid's run on the Flash was the only bright spot in DC's output at that time and is the only book that I found really exciting, that  made me look forward to the next issue.

That's my off-topic say, and if anyone else feels like chiming in here, go right ahead and I'll split this all off to a new thread.

:s:


Title: Re: Thor knows KARATE?
Post by: JulianPerez on November 06, 2005, 08:19:40 PM
Quote from: "Great Rao"
You've stated before that you don't like Waid's work on the Flash, so I'm not going to try to change your mind - but I feel that your comparison of Waid to Byrne is completely off the mark and I need to go on the record that I disagree. As a quick example, that a look at Birthright vs. Man of Steel!


You are correct when you say that the comparison to Byrne is inexact, because at least Mark Waid incorporates what has come before whereas Byrne doesn't bother to attempt. Mark Waid has written stories I personally, enjoy: for instance, his JLA: YEAR ONE had its moments, and he did several Superman backups in ACTION COMICS that were a great deal of fun. And while I'm not a fan of everything he did in BIRTHRIGHT, Mark Waid got a sense of who the character was and wrote him admirably, creating a worthy reboot story for the character incorporating many wonderful elements from past stories. Byrne, on the other hand, has never written anything that I have truly liked, and has never contributed an idea that wasn't destructive.

As an aside, let me point out that in the few interviews I've read of him, Mark Waid is a genuinely funny human being and if he's ever here in Miami, I'll take him out and buy him a peppermint schnapp, because somebody that knows who Ultra the Multi-Alien is, by definition is a cool guy I wanna hang out with. I would not say the same of Byrne; every story I've heard of him as a person shows a childish egomaniac. And doesn't he look like the creepiest serial killer ever?

However, I feel the comparison to Byrne DOES hold up in the sense that both impose their personal views on characters where it is unjustified for them to do so, where it conflicts with what has been established.

My dominant objection to Mark Waid's run on the Flash is that he had the Flash behave in a manner that was totally out of character, projecting Waid's own personal social and political views on a character for which such projection is innappropriate and unwarranted.

Imagine, for example, if a Parents' Group took over writing the next James Bond movie. Instead of messing around with bikini and catsuit clad spy babes like every teenage boy wishes they could, Bond was rewritten by the Far Side-glasses wearing Mother's Group to mess around with women in the only manner that it ought to be: in the bonds of holy matrimony, with a Mrs. Bond they take extra pain to be as boring and personality-free as possible. Wouldn't it be outrageous for said Parents Group to impose their perspective on movies, whose function is entertainment, not moral instruction?

Quote from: "Great Rao"
I would say that in some ways Mark Waid is to the Flash what Edmond Hamilton is to Superman. It's almost like Waid was doing with the Flash what he wanted to do with Superman: He gave the Flash a "Flash Family", the Flash travelled all through time, went to the future and was a hero, there were super-powered descendants across the ages, and there was an almost universally known "Flash Legacy;" along with mind-blowing new plot developments every issue.


Otto Binder made a lot of contributions to the Superman Family as well, but I see what you're saying.

But this statement here hit the nail on the head of why it is I don't like the Waid FLASH run if for no other reason than omission. There was one DC speedster that Mark Waid has never used in his entire Flash run, which seemed to get mileage out of (no pun intended) every speedster that there ever was, even those Three Russians.

Who can it be?

It isn't Max Mercury, that's for sure; he was pulled from Dimension Nowhere to become the Zen Guru of speed, the Obi-Wan Kenobi of skidmarks.

It's Impala, the Zulu speedster from the Global Guardians. Yes, Impala had lost his powers in JLQuarterly #17 (1994) but last time I checked, Max Mercury hadn't been in a DC Comic since the 1940s. Apparently, reviving a forgotten Golden Ager and establishing why they didn't age in the interim, setting up a retroactive backstory involving Native Americans and the 1950s, a heretofore unrevealed connection to the Quick Clan, and making them into a major DC player - there was plenty of time for THAT, but a three panel sequence just to get Impala back into fighting trim is an unaccountable waste of precious, precious comic space.

And I'm sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Impala is from a different race and from a foreign country. I'm not saying Mark Waid is prejudiced, I am however, bringing this up as being absolutely typical of Mark Waid's white bread, middle America perspective that he chose THE FLASH as the vehicle to cram down the throat of the comics world. This wouldn't be so intolerable (Cary Bates for instance, was a midwesterner who was always unceasingly polite and he wrote some of the greatest Superman stories ever), if it wasn't for the fact that Mark Waid, with all the crass unprofessionalism of a fanfic author, ignored the Flash's previous characterization in order to graft and transplant - Frankenstein-style - his own worldview onto a character that has a perfectly workable personality.

The defining character traits of Wally West - the personality that he was given that made him an interesting character in his own right fit to be compared with the characters before that had the name - was that while Wally was fundamentally a nice, decent, funny human being, he nonetheless was a young man in his twenties who was awash with hormones, his moods swinging, falling in love with woman after woman. We readers rooted for Wally because he made all the wrong choices with his love life.

Mark Waid however, couldn't take all that malt-sharing and hand holding hanky-panky going on in Speedsterville, and married him off to some bland, personality-free Lois Lane equivalent. It really says something about her lack of personality that I can't remember her name. Marky Mark had the Flash MARRY, despite the fact the decent but boyishly immature "Peter Pan" Flash would rather face Captain Cold, Rainbow Raider, the Trickster and Grodd all at the same time before even *considering* being tied down with a ball and chain. Characters grow and change with time, and it might have been interesting if someone with a grasp of the character, like Messner-Loebs or the Baron/Guice team, had remained on the title; watching the Flash acquire dignity and maturity and eventually, perhaps, marrying and settling down. But Mark Waid didn't tell that story; he did not have the Flash grow and develop in any realistic way; he throws us headlong into the Flash marriage and engagement and asks us to accept that the fact that he's getting married is a sign he's matured - despite the fact he's got it backwards: we have to see the Flash mature before we can accept the engagement. We can't just see the wedding and buy that he's a different person. Something that important has to happen "on camera."

Another character in the forefront with Messner-Loebs that faded to the background the INSTANT Mark Waid's name hit the writers' box was the Pied Piper, a major supporting figure in the years after Crisis, a redeemed, eccentric supervillain who became to the Flash what Snapper Carr was to Hourman, a loveable character that may possibly be one of comics few open homosexuals, a detail revealed and handled with dignity by his creative team. This character faded entirely into the background and has for the most part never been used again.

Oh, wait. Mark did get some use out of the Pied Piper, having him build some radio earpieces for the Flash and never mentioning his homosexuality ever again. Gee, I take it. All. Back.

Wow, this post is longer than I intended, and I haven't even GOTTEN to the "Speed Force" yet. A retcon of this magnitude - a powerful force that was around "all along" but that there has never, ever been a shred of evidence for its existence except those stories set in the past that Waid wrote himself to "prove" the speed force was "always there" ...all of it is really insulting to the intelligence of the comics reader, just like asking us to believe Superboy had never really been in the Legion of Super-Heroes was insulting and just like asking us to believe that Superman had never been in the Justice League until recently was insulting. Worst of all, this isn't some cute fact to throw back and forth, but something that fundamentally alters how the Flash's powers - previously easy to explain and based in real world physics intimately researched by the savvy Julie Schwartz - operate. Costumes of "solidified speed," "deriving sustenance from the speed force," and "I will remove the speed from those objects" implies an understanding of how the world works that borders on the demented. To say nothing about being unintentionally funny, and not in the charming way the Silver Age can be, either: unintentionally funny because of the total cluelessness of the concept.

The Speed Force's insane "Snake Oil" properties, the arrogance of the retcon that insinuated the Speed Force into every aspect of Flash history like a loud party guest that just won't leave, and the total denial of the scientific accuracy that previously had been the Flash's trademark, all these catapult the "Valhalla of Speedsters" amongst the nakedly egotistical, self-aggrandizing concepts John Byrne "created" to leave his mark on comics history at the expense of said history.


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: MatterEaterLad on November 06, 2005, 10:27:56 PM
Can you elaborate on the scientific accuracy of the non-speed force Flash?


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: JulianPerez on November 07, 2005, 01:01:51 AM
Quote from: "MatterEaterLad"
Can you elaborate on the scientific accuracy of the non-speed force Flash?


I assume you mean the Wally West Flash in particular? Alright, well, here are a few examples:

The Wally West Flash required an enormous amount of calories to power his superspeed metabolism, a nod to a realistic concern that made his power more interesting, or at least more complicated. In FLASH #1 (1987); when running across America, Wally actually physically collapsed from hunger. While the (excellent) previous version of the Flash had this problem to a lesser extent, it was really a problem that gave the Wally West Flash his unique identity, one which Mark Waid did away with. When inside the universe of Chester P. Runk in FLASH #9-11 (1988), Wally West faced the very real problem of starvation as a result of the limited resources.

Also, Wally West (pre Speed Force) destroyed and wore out any variety of normal clothing and footwear that he wore when he accelerated to high speeds. He often destroyed birthday presents and gifts by using superspeed while wearing them, which he had to account for!


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: Captain Kal on November 07, 2005, 02:49:12 PM
My issue with the Speed Force is it's too much 'it can do anything'.

At least with Barry's old total control of his atoms and molecules, it took some thought and strategy to come up with a new super-speed stunt.

Now, Wally's Speed Force he can just about do anything that crosses the writer's mind with no need for even the slightest degree of mental muscle exertion.  No costume?  Just whip one up from 'speed force energy'.  Villain got you down?  Just steal his weapon's speed with the Speed Force.  I mean, Wally is already to fast to be credibly challenged by any of those costumed fools in his Rogue's Gallery; giving him basic omnipower is pushing things far beyond acceptability.

Now, if the Speed Force came with specific rules and boundaries on what it can and cannot do, then that would have worked.  But it didn't.


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: MatterEaterLad on November 07, 2005, 06:35:19 PM
Well, OK, I can see how more consistent rules make the Speed Force more palatable, I just didn't see a lot of realism in the original derivations and aquisition of speed powers (though I liked them just the same)...I think we all have troubles with new explanations though for some reasons the Speed Force never bothered me, but I'm the first to complain about some of the mythos from the Bronze Age, so what can I say... 8)

Thanks all...


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: TELLE on November 07, 2005, 11:19:41 PM
Julian, don't hold back: tell us why you really don't like Mark Waid's Flash! And be specific this time!:D

Seriously, this is all very educational.  All those 80s-90s Flash comics just looked like crap to me. Now I know someone put his indidual stamp on them.


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: JulianPerez on November 08, 2005, 05:52:02 PM
I have barely scratched the surface of what this run did wrong.

Here's a big one: IMPULSE. Oh, man, where to even begin. Why is this character in FLASH comics, when he could be skateboarding wearing sunglasses while he tells kids about a "radical, new" X-TREME sports yogurt? When Bartholomew Allen first showed up, I honestly thought he was a joke; a parody character like "Poochy" from THE SIMPSONS.

Other characters may be more annoying than Bart is, but Impulse is by far the most inauthentic and soulless. Impulse is a Bizarro world version of ENDER'S GAME: Ender and his friends showed kids were far, far smarter than grownups give them credit for. Impulse showed they are far, far dumber. Instead of talking to kids and figuring out how they think and act, Waid instead used every stereotype fifty year old men have about kids: lazy, mischevious, short attention spanned, and shallow. For godsakes, his NAME is "Bart." Impulse's "superspeed from birth" gave Waid an excuse to use a stock character; a stereotype with a good rationale is nonetheless a stereotype.

I shouldn't be too hard on him, though: if his offense at the Flash's sleeping around is any indication, the only time Old Man Waid probably sees kids is when he gets up from his rocking chair to tell them to stop playing on his lawn.  :lol:

Quote from: "TELLE"
Seriously, this is all very educational. All those 80s-90s Flash comics just looked like crap to me. Now I know someone put his indidual stamp on them.


If this conversation has encouraged you to pick up some of the Mike Baron or Bill Messner-Loebs FLASH issues, I think its done its job.  :D In the hands of those two geniuses, even Silver Age diehards could accept a new guy as the Flash, just because it was so GOOD, characterized so well, and written so imaginatively (from the Flash's superspeed enemies to the wonderful Chester P. Runk, a fat man with a dimension inside him).

Now, if only they could get them out on trade paperback...  :D


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: Johnny Nevada on November 08, 2005, 10:05:27 PM
Hmm...

I liked reading Mark Waid's Flash issues at first (got in around a few issues before Flash #100), but eventually stopped buying them for finances, as well as too many 12-part storylines for my patience. NOt read the late 80's Flash issues, I'm afraid...

While entertaining overall, guess as long as we're being negative, I'll list the stuff I didn't like about his run:

- the Speed Force. Wouldn't have had a problem if it'd only applied to Wally, but extending it to *all* speedsters? Ick... I'll stick with "Barry got splashed by electrified chemicals" thanks...

- extending Keystone City's stay in limbo by three decades-plus. A retcon I thought was already stupid for various reasons (too lengthy to list here, but I'd imagine the various businesses in Minneapolis-St. Paul named "Twin City"-whatever would be a *BIG* clue something was wrong if St. Paul were to, say, vanish suddenly... and taking half the area's TV and radio stations with it... not to mention urban sprawl of one city into the vanished city's former space would have, um, nasty consequences once the vanished city returned from limbo...) made dumber by making it even longer than the months or year or so the original story IIRC implied it'd been gone for.

- Wally hates time travel? Was his reason for hating it ever explained/revealed? I assumed he was pretty ambivalent toward it (out of the few Silver Age stories with him in it I'd read).

- Barry having an evil twin brother.

- Linda Park (Wally's wife's name) getting kidnapped for the 87th time.

- The "Black Flash", who comes from the "Dark Side of the Speed Force." Even that bad a pun made pun-liking me cringe. ;-)

OK, done ranting. I do like Impulse (and read his comic regularly until I dropped it for financial reasons). Wished Piper had gotten used more often (this website lists a list of gay/lesbian/etc. characters in comics: http://www.gayleague.com ).


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: JulianPerez on November 09, 2005, 12:01:54 AM
Quote
- the Speed Force. Wouldn't have had a problem if it'd only applied to Wally, but extending it to *all* speedsters? Ick... I'll stick with "Barry got splashed by electrified chemicals" thanks...


I think you hit the nail on the head here.

One problem with the "Speed Force" explanation is that it eliminated the uniqueness of the various speedsters. The one that was treated the worst in this regard was Johnny Quick. Previously, he had a very distinctive special effect for his powers, rotoscope-esque multi-images that were used by every writer and artist from his backup days in the 50s to Roy Thomas; an astonishing visual effect that may be one of the best ways yet created to show superspeed in action on still panels. Come Waid, he's using the same Tron-style whooshy red walls and electricity as the other speedsters.

Also, Jonny Quick had one unique permutation of his superspeed: if he ran fast enough and jumped, he could actually FLY (though not faster than he could run). Now that he has essentially, the same exact power as the others through the speed force explanation, this means that either 1) EVERYBODY can launch themselves into the air by catapulting themselves that way, which eliminates this unique feat from Jonny Quick, or 2) NOBODY, including Johnny Quick, can do this, which does the same thing.

Quote
- Barry having an evil twin brother.


At the time the Cobalt Blue story was going on, I thought, "oh, they're making it look like Barry's back, a fakeout used (even by THEN) approximately 1.5 million times before. Jeez. It couldn't possibly get any worse." BUT IT DID! "Barry's evil twin?" Something this important that didn't exist at all in any other story up to this point can't just APPEAR without it straining credibility (see also: Speed Force).

This was why the multigenerational Flash battle didn't work (though I found the Jupiter Flash kind of cute; there's somebody they ought to bring back): it couldn't be given the gravitas Mark Waid wanted it to have because the reader found themselves saying "wait, Cobalt who?"


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: TELLE on November 10, 2005, 02:14:55 AM
Quote from: "JulianPerez"
If this conversation has encouraged you to pick up some of the Mike Baron or Bill Messner-Loebs FLASH issues, I think its done its job.  :D


No such luck.  I think I read some of the Messner-Loebs run back in the day (I remember an early one where Wally West --the kid from the Teen Titans-- was now the Flash because the Flash turned into powder in Crisis.  He had to deliver a heart by running cross-country to save a life.  This comic was supposed to be more "realistic" (it seemed to me this was the author's intent) because the new Flash couldn't run as fast (the old Flash could run at the speed of light or something) and after he ran across the country, Wally had to eat a bunch of hamburgers to get back his energy.  Like Pac-Man or Popeye.  Also it had horrible art by someone like Butch Guice (Jackson Guice?).

Messner-Loebs was kind of fun on Journey but his best work was Welcome to Heaven, Dr Franklin.  I didn't buy or read any of the later Flash stuff (ie, Impulse) because it looked like crap visually and because I heard rumours of similar criticisms to yours at the time.  Never a big Flash fan anyway, although now I can appreciate the Cary Bates run because of the Superman connection.  I enjoyed the giant Flash #300 issue with Infantino art.  A great superhero "graphic novel".


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: JulianPerez on November 10, 2005, 05:29:12 PM
Quote from: "TELLE"
No such luck.  I think I read some of the Messner-Loebs run back in the day (I remember an early one where Wally West --the kid from the Teen Titans-- was now the Flash because the Flash turned into powder in Crisis.  He had to deliver a heart by running cross-country to save a life.  This comic was supposed to be more "realistic" (it seemed to me this was the author's intent) because the new Flash couldn't run as fast (the old Flash could run at the speed of light or something) and after he ran across the country, Wally had to eat a bunch of hamburgers to get back his energy.  Like Pac-Man or Popeye.  Also it had horrible art by someone like Butch Guice (Jackson Guice?).


Jackson Guice (it rhymes with "juice."). The issue you're referring to is FLASH #1 (1987) where Wally has to get a heart to a science fiction writer in time for surgery. The person that wrote the first year's tenure was Mike Baron, from 1987-88; Messner-Loebs came on to write the book afterward.

The "realistic" touches were made to give Wally his distinctive identity, as different as the Flash that came before him, as Barry was to Jay, because he had a reduced speed level, worried about caloric intake (a situation that was used to create dillemmas, just as often as the "you can't beam through a forceshield" rule was used to create dillemmas in STAR TREK). It was a part of who Wally WAS - and it strikes me that while writing the list of things that Wally had particular to him, none of them were still true come Waid's tenure on the book. Waid's intention may have been to make Wally "King" of Speedsters, a patriarch to a Flash Family - but all he did was make him just another speedster.

Quote from: "TELLE"
Messner-Loebs was kind of fun on Journey but his best work was Welcome to Heaven, Dr Franklin.  I didn't buy or read any of the later Flash stuff (ie, Impulse) because it looked like crap visually and because I heard rumours of similar criticisms to yours at the time.  Never a big Flash fan anyway, although now I can appreciate the Cary Bates run because of the Superman connection.  I enjoyed the giant Flash #300 issue with Infantino art.  A great superhero "graphic novel".


Personally, I always thought Bill Messner-Loebs' best work was on the IMPACT! comics JAGUAR, which was the only comic from that entire line that was really worth reading, not just thanks to Messner-Loebs gift for characterization (Maria de Guzman feels like a real person, as does everyone else in their world, in a very subtle way so that they're personalities can't be defined in one word phrases) but also thanks to Chuck Wojtkiewcz's art and the stellar inking job he received, making the Jaguar curvy and with wonderful muscles.

The "world's most dangerous game" metaphors got stale, but Messner-Loebs's gift for wordsmithing made them extraordinary because he described everything in terms of all five senses, something only Miller and Loeb do very well.

How do you describe the smell of an alien creature? "Like molasses in mineral oil, or like a turtle."

Special props should be given to Loebs for how he characterized the Jaguar's sorority girl rival, Tracy. Sure, she could have been another uppity "mean girl" proxy revenge fantasy for every girl that turned the writer down in high school, but as the story goes, this classist, shallow, casually cruel and slightly racist blonde becomes LIKEABLE, she becomes HUMAN - no mean feat at all for someone possessing so many unpleasant qualities. Tracy alone learns the Jaguar's identity, and she first intends to use this knowledge for personal gain, slowly the characters become friends. It was a triumph for M-L's gift for characterization.

There are no villains in JAGUAR - just misunderstood monsters. Conflicts are due to misunderstandings and confusion. A most atypical - and wonderful - superhero comic.


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: TELLE on November 11, 2005, 01:29:10 AM
Quote from: "JulianPerez"
The issue you're referring to is FLASH #1 (1987) where Wally has to get a heart to a science fiction writer in time for surgery. The person that wrote the first year's tenure was Mike Baron, from 1987-88; Messner-Loebs came on to write the book afterward.


Oops. :oops: I liked Baron on Nexus, but maybe Rude's art smoothed out the rough bits.  Maybe he was stretched too thin by the time of Flash #1?
I dunno.

Quote
Personally, I always thought Bill Messner-Loebs' best work was on the IMPACT! comics JAGUAR, which was the only comic from that entire line that was really worth reading


I see those all the time in quarter bins (the distinctive costume) so maybe I'll look deeper.  There may even be one at my local Value Village.  The art didn't particularly appeal to me, but I'm not a total snob and have been known to read "ugly" comics, with positive results.


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: JulianPerez on November 11, 2005, 04:38:10 PM
Quote from: "TELLE"
I see those all the time in quarter bins (the distinctive costume) so maybe I'll look deeper.  There may even be one at my local Value Village.  The art didn't particularly appeal to me, but I'm not a total snob and have been known to read "ugly" comics, with positive results.


Yeah, and it's really unfortunate. the IMPACT! comics, LOBO SPECIALs, OMEGA MEN, and others are really the staples of the quarter bin, though some comics are real treasures. If you're curious in trying the book, start up around Issue #5, which had Maria the Jaguar fight the Void, a misunderstood and bizarre force that comes out of nowhere, followed by the next one, which featured the Doomster, a brilliantly designed monster that attacks, but ONLY those it sees in the future as committing evil deeds. As he attacks before they do it, his attacks look random and his repute becomes that of a monster.

A wonderful series. Chuck Wotjkiewcz's (when will you kids ever learn? vowels are a privelege, NOT a right!) art from that point on steals the book.


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: JulianPerez on December 06, 2005, 02:51:50 PM
Well, here's a question: my personal dominant objection to Mark Waid's FLASH run was that he eliminated a lot of what was done in the late eighties/early nineties work on the character of Wally West that gave that character a lot of his unique identity.

My question is, is there anybody that read BOTH the Baron and Messner-Loebs FLASH, *AND* Waid's FLASH, and prefers the Waid FLASH? If so, why?


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: Superman Forever on December 13, 2005, 11:03:26 PM
Waid's Flash was actually the first reaction to John Byrne's Superman and the general tone of the DC Universe right after Crisis on Infinite Earths. The title marked the return os the Silver Age sense of Wonder, idealism and real creative ideas, in contrast to the Marvelization  of the time period. It was the Flash by Wais that inspired Grant Morrison to write his JLA and totally destroy everything that was wrong with comics in the nineties.

Like Great Rao said, Waid did with the Flash what he would like to do with Superman, establish a legacy, a Flash family, with Silver Age-like stories with very human elements that, in the case, were autobiographical. I've read Baron and Messner-Loebs, and later Johns, but Waid is still my favorite. I like the crazy ideas, the relationships of Wally and Linda, the Return of Barry Allen, the future speedsters, and the character development. And for the matter, I think Impulse was a lot of fun.


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: MatterEaterLad on December 13, 2005, 11:22:06 PM
Honestly, the Speed Force is WAY after my time, but I don't see how it couldn't be explanatory and still allow for some differences in how it mainifested itself in various speedsters...


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: JulianPerez on December 14, 2005, 02:12:49 PM
Quote from: "Superman Forever"
Waid's Flash was actually the first reaction to John Byrne's Superman and the general tone of the DC Universe right after Crisis on Infinite Earths. The title marked the return os the Silver Age sense of Wonder, idealism and real creative ideas, in contrast to the Marvelization of the time period. It was the Flash by Wais that inspired Grant Morrison to write his JLA and totally destroy everything that was wrong with comics in the nineties.


I don't want to turn this into "my writer is better than your writer" because as preferences differ from person to person, nobody can really win that sort of discussion. However, don't you feel it's a bit unfair to say that "the return of the Silver Age sense of wonder, idealism and real creative ideas" was done exclusively by Waid, all by himself with no help or aid from his predecessors? It is really slighting Messner-Loebs and Baron, as if they NEVER could create an interesting idea or never had a dose of idealism in there.

Whether one likes Waid or not, he worked with a character that had been given his foundation by Messner-Loebs and Baron. Thanks to those two, people stopped asking when Barry was going to be back.

Praise for some creators rankles me because it is achieved as a result of either a lack of a sense of history or willful ignorance of such. For instance, Frank Miller is often praised for "bringing the darkness back to Batman." Huh? What are Steve Englehart and Denny O'Neil then - chopped liver?

Ditto for the claim that John Byrne "revitalized" Superman. Putting aside that it's arguable Byrne "revitalized" ANYTHING for a moment...what was so friggin' wrong with Superman in the early to mid 1980s? Cary Bates, Maggin, and especially Curt Swan were at the top of their game in those years, telling some frankly amazing stories. Saying Superman was "tired" in those years can only be said by people that just didn't READ the issues in question.

Quote from: "Superman Forever"
Like Great Rao said, Waid did with the Flash what he would like to do with Superman, establish a legacy, a Flash family, with Silver Age-like stories with very human elements that, in the case, were autobiographical.


Whoa...wait a minute: Waid's FLASH stories were autobiographical? Or at least autobiographical in intent? This confirms a suspicion I've had for a long time about Linda Park: Mark Waid really, REALLY wants an Asian girlfriend.

This sort of thing is getting common enough in recent decades that it actually can be used to predict, like clockwork, the events of a story. Reading Steve Alten's giant shark novel MEG, the SECOND he used the term "Asian" to describe one of his female characters, I thought to myself, "oh, man, looks like she and the hero are gonna get it on." And lo and behold - they DID!

This is quite common. Show of hands: how many people think the reason Claremont put Misty Knight in IRON FIST and then again with Storm in the X-MEN is because they're the feisty black girlfriends that Claremont wishes he had? This is very easy to understand; after all, it was the Seventies, and Pam Grier was big.

(Incidentally, seeing Pam Grier in a few recent movies, and I must say, she's aged AMAZINGLY, much better than her fellow 70s sex symbol, Farrah Faucett.)


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: Great Rao on December 14, 2005, 04:39:02 PM
Quote from: "JulianPerez"
My question is, is there anybody that read BOTH the Baron and Messner-Loebs FLASH, *AND* Waid's FLASH, and prefers the Waid FLASH?

Yup.

I've already explained earlier in this thread why I enjoyed Waid's work on the Flash so much.  I thought Mike Baron's issues were clever, I read them and enjoyed them.  I gave Messner-Loebs a shot but for some reason I just never liked them that much and dropped the book.

I still say that Waid brought back a sense of wonder and excitement that had been completely lacking in the DCU since Crisis.  I just liked it all - the time travel, the legacy, etc.  Fun stuff and he pulled it off well.

:s:


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: Bregh on December 14, 2005, 08:02:27 PM
Quote from: "JulianPerez"

My question is, is there anybody that read BOTH the Baron and Messner-Loebs FLASH, *AND* Waid's FLASH, and prefers the Waid FLASH? If so, why?


I preferred Waid's run best.

I appreciated the supporting cast more, and I found Wally's characterisation rang truer for me under Waid than under Baron/Mesner-Loebs.

I also enjoyed the hell out of a lot of the stories from Waid's run--lots of fun stuff, especially in an era devoid of the kind of thing. The Grodd/Hammond/GL/Flash storyline was a blast, and the Return of Barry Allen arc completely blew me away. Waid was the only writer at the time willing to pay any sort of attention whatsoever to DC's past, and when you're dealing with a hero whose identity and mantle have been inherited from that past, it's important, IMO.

I never really clicked with Wally's Flash until Waid landed the series--Wally was inconstant for the most part and seemed to exist in a vaccuum in his own book, and was tiresome in JLE, to say the least. Flash under Waid was the only place I enjoyed reading the character (at least until Morrison's JLA).

Such as it is, there's my response and reasons. Ultimately, it's a matter of tastes, so it's not like there can really be a right answer, but I much preferred Waid's Wally West/Flash to that of his previous/other scribes.


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: Superman Forever on December 14, 2005, 08:30:10 PM
Quote from: "JulianPerez"


I don't want to turn this into "my writer is better than your writer" because as preferences differ from person to person, nobody can really win that sort of discussion. However, don't you feel it's a bit unfair to say that "the return of the Silver Age sense of wonder, idealism and real creative ideas" was done exclusively by Waid, all by himself with no help or aid from his predecessors? It is really slighting Messner-Loebs and Baron, as if they NEVER could create an interesting idea or never had a dose of idealism in there.

Whether one likes Waid or not, he worked with a character that had been given his foundation by Messner-Loebs and Baron. Thanks to those two, people stopped asking when Barry was going to be back.


Yes, there were great concepts and some idealism in the Baron and Messner-Loebs Flash, but they were still following the post-Crisis trends. Dawn to Earth aproach, so-called realism, flawed hero, enphasis on the limitations rather than the greatness  of super-heroes. Waid Flash was agaist this trend, not by negating the human element, but by bringing back the fantastic aspects of the Silver Age. Morrison said about revamping the JLA: "I wanted to do some more superhero stuff, having been interested by Mark Waid's Flash and a couple of other books. But since I wanted to do positive, imaginative superhero stuff and it had gone grim-and-gritty [over the past few years], i had to waid until that phase had passed".

Flash book was already good, but I think it's fair to say that was Waid who started a movement to bring back the concepts and the ideology of the pre-Crisis and Silver Age DC Universe with his run.


Quote from: "JulianPerez"


Whoa...wait a minute: Waid's FLASH stories were autobiographical? Or at least autobiographical in intent? This confirms a suspicion I've had for a long time about Linda Park: Mark Waid really, REALLY wants an Asian girlfriend.



That's what he said in some interviews, that Wally West was his alter ego, and that he changed the supporting characters because in Messner-Loebs'run, they were like the strange friends Waid never had. And that the Zero issue, after the Zero Hour crossover, was his mos personal story ever, when Wally travels back in time and talk to his younger self that his dreams would come true.


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: JulianPerez on December 15, 2005, 01:27:50 PM
Quote from: "Superman Forever"
Yes, there were great concepts and some idealism in the Baron and Messner-Loebs Flash, but they were still following the post-Crisis trends. Dawn to Earth aproach, so-called realism, flawed hero, enphasis on the limitations rather than the greatness of super-heroes. Waid Flash was agaist this trend, not by negating the human element, but by bringing back the fantastic aspects of the Silver Age.


This is true, however, things can fail according to realism, and succeed by realism too. The realism in Flash - his reduced speed levels, combatting enemies that ALSO have superspeed, the Flash's enormous caloric intake, his destruction of regular footwear, etc. all WORKED because Baron and Guice put a lot of thought into it. The Flash's characterization worked because Baron, and later Messner-Loebs, are skilled at subtle characterization and humor. You can just FEEL the warmth and friendship between the two characters of the Piper and Wally with a subtle exchange like this one:

"Teamwork, Mr. Flash?"
"Teamwork, Mr. Piper."

Most importantly, what Baron did was give the Flash an identity distinct from his predecessor. If Baron had given Wally the exact same incorruptible "serve and protect" 50s personality that Barry had (not to slight Barry as a character in any way, this is just for comparison), wouldn't the response be "well, if we're going to have a red haired Barry, why did we even bother making this new kid the Flash in the first place?" Let's face it: Wally can never be as good a Barry as Barry was, so Baron and Messner-Loebs were wise to not have him try.

As for the Baron approach being very close to the Marvel style, I don't view this as a drawback for said issues, but rather, a strength.

Universally, DC heroes done in the Marvel style have been unsuccessful creatively because what they do is exaggerate a hero's lack of heroism and exasperate their powerlessness and neurosis, instead of doing the two things that made Stan Lee's style work in the first place:

1. Realizing that heroism is not cookie-cutter;
2. Realizing that heroes that face problems are more interesting because of this.

And Wally, under Baron and M-L, was fundamentally a good person, however, the fact that he had to struggle with various personal problems, including his lottery win and his endless bad decisions with his love life, made him endearing.

Quote from: "Superman Forever"
Waid Flash was agaist this trend, not by negating the human element, but by bringing back the fantastic aspects of the Silver Age. Morrison said about revamping the JLA: "I wanted to do some more superhero stuff, having been interested by Mark Waid's Flash and a couple of other books. But since I wanted to do positive, imaginative superhero stuff and it had gone grim-and-gritty [over the past few years], i had to waid until that phase had passed".


If the whole movement toward zany Silver Age craziness was started by Waid, then he deserves a handshake. Personally, I feel his "Julian September" JLA story was more successful in capturing this vibe than his FLASH was.

The apex of the 90s "Silver Age" revival was easily Busiek's THUNDERBOLTS and AVENGERS.

Quote from: "bregh"
I appreciated the supporting cast more, and I found Wally's characterisation rang truer for me under Waid than under Baron/Mesner-Loebs.


I don't agree that Waid is skilled at characterization.

Waid's "human conflict" stories are universally boring because what Waid does is take a story with straightforward emotions, and muddle it up with clinical dissection that destroys what drives the story and makes it petty. An example of this is during one story were Wally and Francis Kane were battling, and Wally manages to defeat her by kissing her in a stadium full of people, live on a giant jumbotron transmitted across the city.

What was Linda Park's reaction to this? Does she do the, y'know, HUMAN thing and get angry, hurt, and suspicious, as anyone would seeing the person they love paw up an ex on national television? No. Her response was "well, I was just reminded how out of the loop I am with you and all your superhero friends." Huh? What could have been a powerful confrontation and conflict is neutered to something so small and petty you wonder why this is even a problem at all. I'm sure Waid thinks, "a-ha, I'm being unpredictable," but the thing is, real sincere emotions are never predictable whereas being roundabout always feels forced.

Waid does this a lot. In his recent FANTASTIC FOUR run, Franklin Richards was temporarily trapped in Hell, which traumatized him into silence. Instead of having to deal with real feelings of fear, trauma, and abandonment, Waid does some roundabout explanation, via the apparently now telepathic Thing, who tells that "he'd actually rather be in hell because at least he can come out of there." HUH?

Oh yeah, before I forget: yet another gripe with the Waid run: he turned Francis Kane, a likeable female character with a connection to Wally who always had problems but was never permanently on the Dark Side, into a psycho with a split personality out to destroy him. ALL because he can't bear to have Wally's immoral swinging batchelor days come back in any way.


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: DoctorZero on December 17, 2005, 09:00:28 AM
What is comes down to is this:

Waid undid everything that was done at the start of Wally's run as the Flash to make the character more realistic.  It was seen that part of the problem with Barry as the Flash was that he could do too much, yet, surprisingly, he had trouble defeating even some of the most lamest foes.  Barry had total control over his molecules.  He could vibrate through walls, go through time, and should have been so fast he could have taken out any foe before they even saw him.  

So they greatly toned things down and slowed Wally down to avoid the obvious problems with super speed.

Waid not only undid all of that, he created a "catch all", the Speed Force, to explain everyone's super speed.  As mentioned, then all of the differences between the super speedsters shouldn't have been differences at all.  The speed force became Krypton to the super speedsters.  But picture DC suddenly saying the Daxamites were actually people who came from Krypton and left there to go to Daxam witnout explaining their weakness to lead.  The reaction by the fans would have been the same as the Flash's fans reaction to everyone getting super speed from the Speed Force.  

Part of the problem, I think, is the fault of the DC editorial staff.  They seem to allow the writers to do whatever they want, even if it totally contradicts what's come before.  It wouldn't surprise me to see a writer of the new Flash book suddenly claim that all the speedster's super speed came from magic, and with magic altered in the DC universe the speedsters powers have been altered, to.


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: MatterEaterLad on December 17, 2005, 10:36:15 AM
It comes down to writers and editors...

1.  Johnny Quick can again have his own movement drawn distinctly or not, he can fly in a limited way or not...the Speed Force doesn't HAVE to mean that characters can't react to it's influence differently, just as some people by virtue of being alive can think more abstractly or have better eyesight...writers can pick this up, and maybe should...

2.  I still can't see how the Speed Force defies DC history anymore than saying Kryptonians and Daxamites now share a common history, or that the Oans originally identified Kal-El as a Green Lantern...Flashes eating millions of calories isn't really canon either...

3.  Any time a being can defy time in a way that living organisms cannot, it opens story problems that a writer can do well to steer away from...any situation can be prevented by a time traveling hero, and that doesn't just apply to speedsters, it applies to Kryptonians, Ultra Boy, Legion time bubble riders, magic wielding characters, etc...


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: Genis Vell on December 21, 2005, 05:14:23 PM
I LOVE this run.
I started readin' the Flash with the Italian edition of issue #80 (i.e. the Italian FLASH #1), and so I started to appreciate a character I didn't know, Wally West. The supporting cast, the Flash Family, the Speed Force... A lot of great elements. Thank you, Mr. Waid, you made me a Flash fan.

Favorite story: THE FLASH #0, tie in to "Zero hour". Waid loves the character, and this story is a good example. Very touching.

Favorite moment(s): Flash stops Kobra, who is about to kill Linda, in issue #100. In the same book, there is the best declaration of love ever in a comic book. "Why didn't you stay in Heaven?"; "Why you weren't there".


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: celacanto on February 05, 2006, 09:32:56 PM
Quote
Waid's run on the Flash was the only bright spot in DC's output at that time and is the only book that I found really exciting, that made me look forward to the next issue.


Well after reading four pages of argumentations. There are to many thing to coment i will stand just in the simple.

I love that series. that and Robinson Starman. were my favourite books in those darks days of the 90īs.

i thing hat the evolution of the character was great, few characters are lucky enough to have one developement so clear. Wally made forget Barry for most fans who were asking for his return when Waid taked the series.

His work was different from the messner Loeb histories?? yes. and Geoof john Flash its different to and i like it also.


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: MatterEaterLad on February 06, 2006, 12:10:20 AM
I agree, this topic needs more discussion...the Speed Force leaves room for variability and adds that continuity that some people seem to be always craving...and I can't see how it can't easily accomodate the origins of almost any original speedster...


Title: Re: Mark Waid and the Flash
Post by: alschroeder on March 09, 2006, 02:27:07 PM
Quote from: "Great Rao"
Quote from: "JulianPerez"
My question is, is there anybody that read BOTH the Baron and Messner-Loebs FLASH, *AND* Waid's FLASH, and prefers the Waid FLASH?

Yup.

I've already explained earlier in this thread why I enjoyed Waid's work on the Flash so much.  I thought Mike Baron's issues were clever, I read them and enjoyed them.  I gave Messner-Loebs a shot but for some reason I just never liked them that much and dropped the book.

I still say that Waid brought back a sense of wonder and excitement that had been completely lacking in the DCU since Crisis.  I just liked it all - the time travel, the legacy, etc.  Fun stuff and he pulled it off well.

:s:


I'm with him.

This is NOT to dispute many of the Messner-Loebs/Baron stories were clever and interesting. Like that one where he saved the girl falling from the airplane....

And of course it's true that Baron/Messner-Loeb's Flash was scientifically more plausible, with the great deal of eating more and the loss of footware and all that, and limiting his speed to something like Mach Two.

Still...to REALLY fuel himself for such speeds, Wally would have to spend every waking minute eating. Even a few hundred hamburgers, eaten at super-speed, wouldn't last long, not at those speeds....

Besides, there was an elephant in the room--the memory of Barry Allen.  Who was an integral part of DC History...and had casually run at near-light speeds, vibrated through solid matter, travelled through time, etc. Of COURSE running at such speeds and with such abilities is ridiculous. But Wally, by definition, can't forget Barry.  Many of  his villains are grounded in Barry's era.

I was very enthusized by "The Return of Barry Allen" storyline. I thought it was a clever explanation of why Wally couldn't initially run as fast as Barry, and an ingenious way of restoring him (more or less) to full speed...but even so, the part of me that really KNOWS physics knew there HAD to be more to the story.

The "Speed Force" was just vague enough to be workable. There's no way Wally, Barry, or Jay could get enough energy from food to be that fast---there HAD to be some extra force.

As for characterization---if anything, the Baron/Messner-Loebs Wally seemed a deliberate BREAK from the previous portrayals of Wally, who was portrayed in Teen Titans as sort of a Middle-Class small town yokel, in love with "ordinary" life. Baron and MEssner-Loeb's harkened back to an even EARLIER version, Bob Haney's showoff in Tenn Titans, and made him more of a "player", sleeping around, a tendency he hadn't shown before.

Of course, a LOT of us change as we become adults, but it was Baron/Messner-Loeb's Wally that I had trouble reconciling with the Wally I had known before.  I thought Waid's introduction of Linda Park as Wally's constant lover was a good touch, and I thought his chracterization of Wally was a good amalgamation of ALL that had gone before.

---Al