Chris (90scartoonman) wrote,

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The Fastest Man Alive

Woo! First part of my week-long JLU salute. I figure I should start at the beginning, all the way in the beginning. And that would lead me straight to The Flash (spoilers for Infinite Crisis #7, 52 #1, and possibly "Destroyer" if it strikes my fancy).

I'm re-watching "Lightspeed" right now, and I watched "Flash and Substance" last week. I love Wally West, he's one of my favorite superheroes (I don't like to choose over him, Spider-Man, Green Lantern, and Captain America, so I group them all together as my favorites). Wally's fun. Superheroes are all about wish fulfillment, and Wally's got the two things that I'd LOVE to have. But actually, I got my start with Barry Allen.

(side note - the first DC character I got into was Batman because of BTAS in the early 90's, and when I got a bunch of old Action Comics, I really dug Green Lantern/Hal Jordan)

The year was 1997. The Sci-Fi channel was re-running episodes of The Flash live action show starring John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen. At the same time, Cartoon Network was showing Superfriends, which had the Barry Allen Flash (voiced by Jack Angel, I think). Flash interested me more than the other characters. Some, like Superman and Batman had too much attention paid to them, and others, like Samurai, just sucked. He was cool without being overexposed.

It was some time around the summer when I went to a comic book store and got a newsletter. I remember the headline on one article, "A Barry Interesting Year For The Flash". That's when I learned that Barry Allen had actually been killed off and replaced, which made the character of The Flash even more interesting to me. I wanted to know more, and the article talked about JLA: Year One, a maxi-series about Flash, Green Lantern, Black Canary, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter forming the Justice League of America. Plus, a hardcover called The Life Story of The Flash was coming out, which told all about Barry's life.

Naturally, I got those both that fall. Before then, I never really bought DC. I grabbed JLA and The Flash and began reading them regularly. That's pretty much how I got into DC, Flash lead to JLA (which lead to Green Lantern) and Impulse (which lead to Young Justice, which lead to Robin, which lead to Batman).

So after learning all about Barry, I got to know Wally. I loved his positive attitude and the way his identity was public. Plus The Rogues Gallery are great. Mark Waid was writing the book at the time, and he really knows how to make a superhero book FEEL like a superhero book. Geoff Johns came on after Waid left (in 2000 or 2001, I think), and he had an amazing run. From the two of them, I got to see Wally marry Linda, regain his secret identity, and have twins (as well as going on other adventures).

The Total Justice Flash figure was one of the first non-Batman DC toys I bought, I had a Flash T-shirt, I've got my Flash keychain from Six Flags, sophomore year in college I had a Flash poster (drawn by Paul Ryan, I think), and senior year I had a JLA poster by Alex Ross that included Barry Allen. There's something great about being a Flash fan.

I enjoyed the STAS episode "Speed Demons", where Flash (obviously Wally) was voiced by Charlie Schlatter. It was a fun episode. I was a little let down that there wasn't a Flash in "The Call" (they could've used Iris West, Kid Flash II from Kingdom Come, or even a grown up Bart Allen), but I was overjoyed at seeing Flash in the line-up of the Justice League cartoon.

On JL, Flash was voiced by Michael Rosenbaum. My heart sunk when I watched "Secret Origins" because Flash was such an idiot (the only real time Wally went through the cocky/brash period was right after Barry's death and he went from being Kid Flash to being The Flash, typically, Flash's are known to be smart, to think on their feet). I grew to like him because hey, it's The Flash (and he became less annoying)! Looking back on it, it's really great how Wally grew as a character. Being on a team allowed him to goof off and flirt with his female teammates. "Hereafter" was a good explanation of why he acted the way he did. By "Starcrossed", Wally seemed much more three dimensional. Then he disappeared. But then he came back! Man, what I wouldn't give for a Flash animated series with this version.

In season four of Smallville, Kyle Gallner played a Flash named Bart Allen. The less aid about that, the better. However, in season five of Teen Titans, the episode "Lightspeed" featured Michael Rosenbaum as Kid Flash (who made a return appearance in "Titans Together"). Even though the other Titans weren't in that episode, it was great. Both "Lightspeed" and "Flash and Substance" seemed to go over well with the fans, so it's no surprise those are two of my favorite episodes of Teen Titans and Justice League/Unlimited.

Infinite Crisis just wrapped up, and Wally disappeared into the Speed Force with Linda and the kids. Bart came back, aged, but with the destruction of the Speed Force, he decided to retire, leaving the mantle of The Flash to Jay Garrick (the original Flash who is still fast thanks to his metagene). In 52, Bart says "Wally's doing fine. He and Linda are just taking some time away. You should see how big the twins are getting. Though they're kinda annoying". I don't like the idea of Bart aging (in fact, I didn't like him becoming Kid Flash, I thought he was much more unique as Impulse), but I hope Wally comes back. Jay is still old, so I don't see him being the one and only Flash for long. The title doesn't come back until...July, maybe? So we'll find out who the new Flash is then.

As for a Flash movie, I'm still not sure. Ryan Reynolds could work as Wally West, but how are they going to handle the villains? If they want to avoid the big gimmicks, then I don't think they should even bother doing a movie. A Flash movie's got to have a different feel than a Batman or a Superman one.

All right, that's it for me. I obviously have a lot to say about The Flash, but like I said, he started me on DC, and it's sad that I won't be seeing him on JLU again. Anyway, my next entry should be shorter.
Tags: dc comics, dcau, flash, justice league

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