Overview

The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #2

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The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #2

Credits

  • Words: Danny Bilson & Paul Demeo
  • Art: Ken Lashley
  • Inks: Walden Wong & Jay Leisten
  • Colors: Carrie Strachan
  • Story Title: Lighting in a Bottle Part 2: Origins
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jul 19, 2006

Bart Allen continues to struggle with accepting the Flash legacy, but a rogue element is making a play in Keystone that may force him into the role of hero quicker than he’d like.

I am still trying to keep an open mind to this all new interpretation of the Flash. Now given my reservations at the start of this series, the second issue begins to probe deeper into the mystery surrounding the Speed Force, and of the greater implications it will have for Bart Allen. Although, I found this issue much more enlightening than the first one, I am still accustomed to Wally West being the Flash. So it’s going to take a lot to twist my arm to accept the change, but the second issue was a good step into the right direction for doing so.

The story opens with Bart verbalizing his feelings to Jay and Joan Garrick about wanting a normal life. Bart has lied to them the whole time in regards to being connected to the Speed Force for a full year after the events of the Crisis. The Garricks feel Bart needs to accept the fact that he is now the Flash, but Bart harbors a deep fear for the Speed Force and is afraid to accept the mantle of the Scarlet Speedster because of it. To make matters worse, his friend Griffen is going through some weird changes after the accident that took place at Keystone Motors, and Bart seems to be intrinsically connected to that. He’s also feeling the pressures of STAR Labs when Tina McGee clones a Flash suit from a piece of Barry’s original and practically hands it over to Bart. He’s got some tough decisions to make and unseen threats may prompt him to don the costume sooner than he’d like to.

Again, as I mentioned at the start of this review, this issue far exceeds the initial story in terms of plot, character motivations and pacing. The writing team of Bilson & Demeo seems more comfortable here than they did in the first issue, and I liked the way they are shaping Bart mentally. He’s still just a kid despite having aged four additional years in the blink of an eye, and I also can’t help drawing comparisons to the Flash TV series from a number of years ago. Maybe it’s just me, but is it really coincidental that the TV incarnation (play by John Wesley Shipp) had the same reservations as Bart does about having super speed and wanting to get rid of the power all together? For anyone who wasn’t old enough at the time when the series debuted on TV, Barry implored Tina McGee to help him get rid of the power, so I chuckled lightly to myself when I read Bart asking Tina to do the same for him in this issue. It was a hoot, and of course it made more sense here given the implications of the Speed Force.

The guys (Bilson & Demeo) really seem to be hitting their stride here, but I don’t think I can say the same about the art on this issue. Now in fairness to Ken Lashley, I enjoyed his art here more than I did the first time around and of course the inking may have had something to do with that. I found there were too many inkers spoiling a consistent look for the characters, and surprisingly in this issue only the tandem of Walden Wong and Jay Leisten remained. This made a world of difference for me and I found Ken’s work looking more cohesive and it held up well from panel to panel. My one major complaint though lies within the way he draws faces. I don’t prefer the stylization there and it’s something that I am going to have to get used to.

It’s so hard to be objective here given my affinity towards the second series. I can’t help but feel the need for a much more suitable explanation for Wally’s removal from the series in lieu of the lame events that took place in Infinite Crisis. I still feel like closure is needed there and maybe that will finally be addressed as this new series progresses. In the meantime though, I just have to accept the fact that it’s Bart’s turn as the Flash and I will say this issue was indeed a step into the right direction.

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