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Author Topic: Mark Waid and the Flash  (Read 12774 times)
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Johnny Nevada
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« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2005, 03:05:27 AM »

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 ).
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2005, 05:01:54 AM »

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- 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?"
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« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2005, 07:14:55 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.  Cheesy


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".
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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2005, 10:29:12 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.
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« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2005, 06:29:10 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.
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« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2005, 09:38:10 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.
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« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2005, 07:51:50 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?
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« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2005, 04:03:26 AM »

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.
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