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Author Topic: Mark Waid and the Flash  (Read 12794 times)
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2005, 04:22:06 AM »

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...
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2005, 07:12:49 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.)
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Great Rao
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« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2005, 09:39:02 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!
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"The bottom line involves choices.  Neither gods nor humans have ever stood calmly in a minefield forever.  Good or evil, they are bound to choose.  And when they do, you will see the truth of all that motivates us.  As a thinking being, you have the obligation to choose.  If the fate of all mankind were in your hands, what would your decision be?  As a writer and an artist, I've drawn my answer."   - Jack Kirby
Bregh
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« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2005, 01:02:27 AM »

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.
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« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2005, 01:30:10 AM »

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.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2005, 06:27:50 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.
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« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2005, 02:00:28 PM »

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.
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2005, 03:36:15 PM »

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...
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