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that’s a one hot team every ten issues average

February 24th, 2012 Posted by david brothers

Marvel’s been double-shipping comics lately, taking advantage of an increased shipping schedule to pull a little more money from their fanbase. As a result… the quality and consistency of their books has slipped over. Here’s a quick copy/paste from my buddy Ron Richards’s Marvel May solicitations post that does a pretty good job of explaining the situation:

To put it in perspective, here’s a rundown of several single issues coming out in May. Series that previously featured a “hot” artist who received critical and fan praise, and the artist replacing them:
Secret Avengers #27 – you loved Gabe Hardman on this book that JUST relaunched with a new creative team, so HERE’S RENATO GUEDES!
Ultimate Spider-Man #10 – you loved Sara Pichelli and her new take on Ultimate Spider-Man, so HERE’S DAVID MARQUEZ!
Ultimate Comics The Ultimates #10 and #11 – Esad Ribic blew your minds with the opening chapters of Hickman’s run, so HERE’S LUKE ROSS!
Scarlet Spider #5 – you loved Ryan Stegman after he launched this title, so HERE’S NEIL EDWARDS!
Fantastic Four #605.1 – you loved Steve Epting, so HERE’S MIKE CHOI (Speaks for itself after last week’s Green Lantern #6 atrocity)!
Defenders #6 – you loved Terry Dodson, so HERE’S VICTOR IBANEZ!
Daredevil #12 – you loved Paolo Rivera SO HERE’S CHRIS SAMNEE – oh wait, this is a good one…
EXCEPT, next issue…
Daredevil #13 – you loved Paolo Rivera and Chris Samnee, so HERE’S KHOI PHAM!
Don’t mind me, my head’s too busy spinning.

That’s a lot of changes. Most mainstream artists can just about keep a monthly schedule. Previously, you’d see two stable art teams alternating arcs on a book to keep the book on schedule and with something of a cohesive look. With the double-shipping, stable art teams are looking less and less likely.

Daredevil is a good example of what I’m talking about, and why these art changes are so frustrating. At launch, it was announced as a book that would feature Mark Waid writing with Paolo Rivera (and his pop Joe Rivera inking him!) and Marcos Martin alternating on art duties. Javier Rodriguez was going to color Rivera, Muntsa Vicente was going to color Martin, and Joe Caramagna was going to letter all of it. That’s a good team–an astounding one, honestly. Alone, Rivera and Martin are beasts. Putting them on the same book is like having putting on a concert with fifteen Michael Jacksons on stage at once, or going to a basketball game that’s Jordan on Jordan. (It’s a pretty good comic.)

By the time we hit issue 13, we’ll have seen Rivera, Martin, Kano, Chris Samnee, and Khoi Pham illustrating the book. That’s five artists over thirteen issues. Some will have done one issue, others just a few. And on a certain level, sure, all of these artists are pretty good. Daredevil is going to be a good looking comic regardless, and will presumably remain well-written. But on another level, good looking isn’t a binary proposition. Martin’s good looking is different from Rivera’s good looking. Samnee and Kano are two entirely different types of good looking. With alternating teams of two, you can maintain a real visual identity. That’s what a stable art team does–it gives the book a look. Bringing in five artists onto a book in just over a year is far from stability. It’s another hoop for your suspension of disbelief to jump through so you believe in the story.

I saw a Marvel editor going off on Twitter about how artist switch-ups aren’t a problem, because hey, you’re still buying the comic, aren’t you? What’s the deal? It’s not like they’re ugly. I disagree. Vehemently disagree, in fact.

Think of it like this. When you hopped on Daredevil, you hopped on for Waid, Rivera, and Martin. They set a specific mood with their first issue. For another artist to tag in, even a good one, muddies that mood. Samnee doesn’t draw like Kano, who doesn’t draw like Martin, who doesn’t draw like Rivera. Rivera and Martin are complementary (though perhaps not as complementary as Javier Pulido and Marcos Martin, another killer duo), and their mood (which is aided and abetted by Waid’s script, of course) is a very specific thing.

When you begin adding to that mood, Daredevil becomes a different comic. It’s like if the actors changed forty-five minutes into a film, or if the new hot single by your favorite artist changed BPM and singers halfway through, but kept the same subject matter. It’s not that strange a comparison, I don’t think. There’s a skipped beat there. Every artist is unique, and swapping an artist out of one story (and make no mistake, Waid is clearly scripting one story) and slotting another in changes that story fundamentally.

I’m actually having a hard time explaining why because it’s so obvious and basic to me. It looks different, and comics are a visual medium. You don’t just read comics–you look at them. The art matters, and when the art changes, the story changes. All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder is such a beautiful hot mess because Jim Lee is the quintessential superhero artist of our day and Frank Miller scripted a story that needed a more cartoony, flexible style. I talk about it here a little, but Lee is simultaneously the best and worst choice to illustrate what Miller was trying to do. If Miller drew ASBAR, it would have been received differently. It follows, then, that Lee’s ASBAR is not Miller’s, just like Rivera’s Daredevil is not Kano’s. It isn’t a value judgment. It’s an objective fact. Blue is not red, but they are both nice colors. Same thing.

These changes also have this unwanted effect of devaluing the artist, in a way. It sets the writer up as the prime mover on a comic book. The writer is the one constant in all these creative changes, and that changes the conversation from “Waid and Rivera are doing Daredevil!” to “Rivera is drawing Waid’s Daredevil next issue!” There is a difference there, and it affects how we think and talk about comics. It gives the writer ownership of the book, and makes the artist secondary, despite the artist being such a huge part of the success of the book.

(I realize that I’m giving short shrift to the inkers, colorists, and letterers here, but please believe that I love you guys, and do not wish to underestimate your influence. Pardon my shorthand.)

I don’t expect every creative team to stay together forever. But the constant musical chairs, right when things are getting good, is off-putting. We’re paying more money for less content, and we can’t even get consistent content. I understand why Marvel double ships comics, but am I really going to keep buying two issues a month when the creative team is compromised like it is on so many books in the latest round of solicits?

I buy cape comics because I like seeing what a small, dedicated team can do with these old characters I grew up on. Spider-Man has no value in and of himself. I might get curious about a series featuring Spider-Man and Hypno Hustler, but without a strong creative team, it’s nothing. It’s worse than nothing. Uncanny X-Force is a dumb idea on paper. It’s the team of X-Men that go out and murder people at night. But it came roaring out of the gates with Rick Remender, Jerome Opeña, and Dean White firing on all cylinders, including cylinders I didn’t even know Marvel had. That team made that series. By issue eight, Billy Tan was drawing the book, the quality took a nosedive, the magic was broken, and I bailed out. Why was Tan drawing it? Because Marvel shipped six issues of the series between the cover dates of May 2011 and July 2011, tossed out another two in October, and will consistently double-ship the book from February to April.

Uncanny X-Force 17-22 feature five different artists. That’s seven issues, including 19.1. There’s no in-story reason for the double-shipping. It just happens. That’s not a problem? It’s enough of a problem that I quit the series, and I’m absolutely positive that I’m not the only one. Maybe it’s just us elitist hipster douchebags dropping books over changes, but I doubt it.

Boiled down, though, my only request is this. If you want us to pay four bucks for 20 pages of comics, then at least let us trust that the reasons we’re reading the series are going to stick around. Let us get a story from a creative team that’s had time to grow together and get in sync. If you want us to pay more for less, at least do us the basic favor of giving us something approaching consistency.

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Fourcast! 81: This Week In Comics

March 21st, 2011 Posted by david brothers

-That weird noise is the dishwasher I somehow forgot was on while recording.
-It ends fairly quickly, though, so suck it up.
-We bought comics!
-Esther bought Tiny Titans 38 (Franco/Baltazar).
-How crazy is it that Tiny Titans has been around for three years? Time flies.
-I bought Uncanny X-Force (Remender/Albuquerque), Hulk (Parker/Hardman), Thunderbolts (Parker/Walker), and Batman, Inc (Morrison/Paquette).
-I also got Ruse (Waid/Pierfederici) and Sigil (Carey/Kirk) for free.99.
-I like Batman Inc, but I don’t like like it any more.
-Somehow we talk about seven comics for forty-five minutes.
-You know how it goes.
-6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental for the theme music.
-See you, space cowboy!

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We Care a Lot Part 22: We Care Again

January 25th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

It’s been quite a while since my last We Care a Lot article and even longer since I had a Venom article that was about actual Marvel canon. Over a year, in fact. Even longer when it comes to a canon article about Eddie Brock! For forever, I seem to have been sitting on the potential Anti-Venom entry. Why haven’t I written it? Honestly, it comes down to needing a good ending. I’ve been waiting for that perfect ending to finish off the article. And, well, you’ll see how that went…

We all remember the infamous One More Day/Brand New Day status quo change. Devils and Harry Osborn and whatever. The whole thing’s been beaten into the ground to the point that I might as well skip it. The short of it is that I decided I was done with Spider-Man in general and despite all the claims of how great the series has become, I would simply put it at the bottom of my list of great things I should be reading. I wasn’t going to fast on it completely, since I agreed to myself that I would still check out any issue that included one of my favorite characters. In this case, those would be Eddie Brock, Deadpool and Juggernaut. The first one matters the most here, though I suppose Deadpool’s issue plays a role too.

The story New Ways to Die begins eight months after the new status quo of three issues per month. It starts off at Amazing Spider-Man #568 and ends at Amazing Spider-Man #573. It’s got Dan Slott on words and John Romita Jr. on art.

Of all the various plots going around, the two of importance for me are that of the Thunderbolts and Mr. Negative. The Thunderbolts is in its Norman Osborn phase, where the team is made up of Songbird, Moonstone, Swordsman, Bullseye, Penance, Radioactive Man and Mac Gargan as Venom. For one reason or another, Swordsman, Moonstone and Penance get the story off. They’ve been training by attacking motionless dummies for the sake of going after those who are unregistered. Venom goes nuts and starts tearing into all of them. Before Songbird can chastise him for it, they’re given orders to head to New York.

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Avengers Prime: Mark Waid Edition

January 8th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Last Wednesday brought us the end of Avengers Prime by Brian Michael Bendis and Alan Davis, which really should have been called Avengers: Ah, I Can’t Stay Mad at You. Steve Rogers, Iron Man and Thor accidentally get sucked into one of Thor’s locales. There, they all have their separate moments of being badass, deal with Enchantress and Hela and a subplot involves Rogers hooking up with a blue elf lady. That might be a little scummy, since that means he’s cheating on Sharon, but I’m pretty sure the “what happens in Vegas” rule applies to most of the nine realms. The point of the miniseries is to put the three guys in a situation that reminds them that they’re buddies and thick as thieves.

But still, the ending rang pretty familiar to me…

Odin’s will be done.

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4×4 Elements: Superman: Birthright

July 28th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Superman: Birthright. Words by Mark Waid, pencils by Leinil Francis Yu, inks by Gerry Alanguilan, colors by Dave McCaig, and letters by Comiccraft, Superman by Siegel and Shuster.

I didn’t like Superman until I read Birthright. I’d read a few as a kid, most notably the Death and Reign, and the cartoon was okay I guess, but he never clicked. He was generic and boring. Here are four ways why Birthright convinced me otherwise.


Superman gets angry. Most popular interpretations of Superman portray him as fairly long-suffering, good-humored, and kind. He punches robots and rescues children and goes home satisfied. In Birthright, he’s a little different. He’s a little edgier and, as this scene shows, a lot angrier. This isn’t your stereotypical “This ends now!” anger. It’s something smaller and much more personal. I like this, in part because it makes Superman a little more human.

Kryptonian or not, Superman was raised as a human being by human beings. There’s no way that he grew up to be completely emotionally stable at all times. Something has to piss him off at some point. This time, it was a young girl looking down the barrel of a gun because of a man’s negligence. This kind of thing puts me in mind of Action Comics 1, where Superman throws a wife beater up against a wall and generally operates on a completely different level than he does these days.

This manages to ground Superman (“He gets angry at injustice, just like us!”) without butchering him or tearing his character to bits. He has a very reasonable reaction to something horrible happening, and he wants to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. “I want you to know how this feels, because your complete lack of empathy is what allowed it to happen.” Superman is a power fantasy, and a tremendous part of the appeal of power fantasies is that they can do things you wish you could do, but cannot.

Superman has super-empathy, feeling great respect and love for all creatures. One wrinkle Waid and Yu added to the mythology is that Superman is a vegetarian. It sounds a little goofy, and is minor in the overall scheme of things, but it makes a lot of sense. If Superman really was as kind and gracious as people say he is, that obscene level of kindness would extended to all life.

What matters here isn’t that he eats rabbit food all the time. What matters is that the idea that Superman is a vegetarian shows that Waid put a lot of thought into Superman. He went deeper than “Superman is a good guy and does good guy things.” He started with one idea, “Superman is a good guy raised by loving parents,” and extrapolated from there. Superman has a deep wellspring of love for life->Superman is an alien, and is therefore as different from humans as humans are to animals->Superman would consider all life the same->Superman wouldn’t want to kill animals for food. One thought, followed through to its logical extension.

Thought counts.

Lois Lane is annoying. This isn’t the Lois who has settled down with Superman and knocks out Pulitzer Prize-winning articles twice a week. This is the Lois that has had a few minor hits, has gained a well-regarded reputation, but hasn’t quite made her name what it would later grow to be. Except: she’s very, very good. Perry White knows it. Clark Kent has known it for years. Everyone knows it. The worst part is that she knows it.

Have you ever met a really talented person who knows that they’re talented? Lois Lane is that person. She knows she’s good, and she knows that her talent lets her get away with a whole lot of stuff. Yes, she will critique the paper to her boss in excruciating detail. Yes, she will put herself into dangerous situations just because she can. Yes, she will lie and cheat her way into a building to get a story. Yes, she will hit Lex Luthor’s doomsday machine with a lead pipe.

“If you got it, flaunt it,” said the late great Notorious B.I.G. Lois has got it. She flaunts it. And she can, because she’s got the talent to back it up.


This isn’t especially deep or profound. This is just something else that wraps up Superman’s origin in a nice, neat bow. Superman gets to talk to his parents. Originally, Superman was just an orphan. He knew where he was from, he knew his history, but he didn’t know or ever talk to his parents. He was a baby.

At the end of Birthright, a wormhole through time lets him see his parents just after they launch him into space. They’re worried about his future and caught in the despair that can only come when giving up your child. And in the end, when he finally gets a chance to speak to them, he says, “Mother… Father… I made it.”

It’s sweet and it gives a certain measure of closure to a story that you probably didn’t even realize needed it. Later stories would build upon Superman’s relationship to Krypton (“Great Rao!” for some reason took off even though dude was probably raised Methodist), but this right here is the first step, and honestly the only step I need. His parents died at peace. He started his life as Superman and soon managed to make contact with his past. It’s nice.

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Mark Waid’s Incorruptible, Max Daring Is, Too

September 30th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Here’s the brief on Mark Waid and Neil Edwards’s new series from BOOM! Studios:

INCORRUPTIBLE showcases super villain Max Damage, who had an epiphany the day The Plutonian destroyed Sky City. That day, when The Plutonian turned his back on humanity, Max Damage decided to step up. Now Max Damage has changed his name to Max Daring and turned from his formerly selfish ways to become… INCORRUPTIBLE. The flip side to this year’s break-out smash hit IRREDEEMABLE, examining the hard, difficult road to changing your ways and making a difference in the world…

Irredemable turned out pretty good, after kind of a rocky start, and this has a hook I can get down with. Villains turned good is usually pretty fun. Full press release after the jump.

Incorruptible_01_cvrAIncorruptible_01_cvrC

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Die Hard: Year One & The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh

September 29th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

BOOM! Studios kindly sent over a couple previews of books that are debuting tomorrow. Die Hard: Year One is a Howard Chaykin/Stephen Thompson joint, while The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh is by Mark Waid and Minck Oosterveer.

Die Hard first:

DieHard_001ADieHard_001BrDieHard_001C
DieHard_01_IFC_rev_04DieHard_01_rev_01DieHard_01_rev_02
DieHard_01_rev_03DieHard_01_rev_04DieHard_01_rev_05

John Paul Leon doing Die Hard covers? Be still my beating heart. What do you guys think? It feels kind of like Howard Chaykin doing a David Lapham riff, since the narration reminds me a lot of how Lapham kicked off Batman: City of Crime. Maybe I’m stretching, I dunno.

Devil Made Flesh:

Unknown_V2_01_cvrAUnknown_V2_01_cvrBUnknown_V2_01_ifcUnknown_V2_01_01
Unknown_V2_01_02Unknown_V2_01_03Unknown_V2_01_04Unknown_V2_01_05

Seems kinda light as a preview, since it more or less requires knowledge of the previous series. I dug the last book, though, and it’s interesting that Doyle doesn’t seem to remember what happened. What do you think?

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Batman and Robin History From the Future

July 10th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Between Batman & Robin and Batman, I realize that while I do enjoy Dick Grayson as the newly-christened Dark Knight, what really seals the deal for me is his relationship with Damian Wayne. The big selling point is that now the roles of Batman and Robin are reversed. Batman is now the light-hearted one mentoring the brooding, moody badass. Without even mentioning him, Damian is the best use of Jason Todd since his resurrection, as Dick is trying to make sure that, against all odds, Damian doesn’t end up either corrupt and crazy (like Jason) or dead (also like Jason). I feel that the Dick/Damian dynamic is what’s going to define this episode of Bat-history and may ultimately make it one of the more interesting duo dynamics in comics, alongside Cage/Iron Fist, Booster/Beetle and Wolverine/Cyclops.

Then I remembered something. This isn’t the first time the two of them have crossed paths in comics. In fact, they helped lead to one of the few bright points of the Kingdom Come sequel Kingdom. More specifically, Kingdom: Nightstar, written by Mark Waid and drawn by Matt Haley ten years ago. Following up on the plot thread shown only in background shots from Kingdom Come, Nightstar — the daughter of Dick Grayson and Starfire — has a romantic relationship going with Ibn Al Xu’ffasch — son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al’Ghul. Bruce, being a delightful asshole in this continuity, decides to let Dick know.

There you have it. The next time Robin gets all indignant at Batman, imagine that inside he’s thinking, “I’m so going to nail your daughter in an alternate timeline for this, Grayson…”

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Fourcast! 05: You Made Me Read This!

June 29th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

What’s on tap for Fourcast! #5?

-A special conversation about how Jack Kirby would’ve done the Transformers
-Our theme music is still 6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental
-Special guest podcaster, Jeff Lester of Savage Critic(s)
-We debut a new segment called You Made Me Read This! I got Esther to read the first hardcover of Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo’s Fantastic Four. Esther didn’t like it for what, in hindsight, is a very good reason.
-Our conversation about FF leads into a conversation about the different approaches DC and Marvel take.
-And… scene.

This one was a lot of fun, and I’m actually a little scared of which book I’m going to have to read. I’m pretty sure she mentioned this book… and goodness, have mercy! :(

Some Fourcast! notes–
-We’ve got one more podcast next week (07/06), also guest-starring Jeff Lester, and then we’re taking off the week of 07/13 off. We should be back in business the week of 07/20 with a pre-San Diego Comic-con show.
-Fans of the Character Continuity Clash Comics/Continuity Off/Comics Are Seriously Dumb/whatever will really like the 07/06 cast, I’m, betting. Tell your friends.
-Esther and I are both planning on attending SDCC, and we may end up doing a show from the show, so to speak.
-We’ve got real microphones! You won’t hear them on this podcast, or next week’s, but we’ll be using them going forward. I’ve got high hopes, as it’ll make everything from recording to editing much easier.
-We hit 1000 listens the other day. You guys rule.

The usual podcast stuff:
You can subscribe via podcast-specific RSS feed, site-wide RSS feed, or iTunes. Review us if you like us, review us if you hate us, and call us dumb down in the comments.

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A Flashy Dynasty Like No Other

June 25th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Hey, who remembers Bart Allen? Impulse? Kid Flash? Flash? Yeah, that kid. Remember when he died and DC restarted the series with a back-from-limbo Wally West?

Oh. That was just a year ago.

Flash’s mid-stride reboot, courtesy of Mark Waid and friends, has not been all that well received.

From an interview:

I don’t know. You know, I just think, in retrospect, the stars were not in alignment in a lot of ways. I kind of knew we were in trouble right off the bat when I so loved Daniel Acuna’s artwork. I so loved it. And I was so unprepared for the insane volume of hatred from the online community about how much they just despised his work on the title. I knew at that point, I thought, “Oh god, we’re in trouble.” Once more, the online community has me questioning what I thought was good. Which I shouldn’t let happen, but it’s hard not to do when the volume is that loud.

And at this moment in time, I just … in terms of superhero work, I feel frozen. I kind of… I feel like I’m momentarily out of step with what fandom wants because I don’t get it. The same voices that are screaming that we gave Flash a wife and kids and family, because they say that’s not what Flash is, are the same people who are screaming that they’ve broken up Mary Jane and Peter Parker. “How dare you take his family away!” I’m like, wait! Wait! What? Which way is it? So… growth and change good… or growth and change bad?

That’s about it in a nutshell. Waid helped put the Flash back on the map back in the day. He’s one of the biggest writers in comics. DC is still strip-mining Kingdom Come. He’s put in a lot of work writing exactly the kind of stories that DC fans enjoy. I mean, for a while, they’d do a thing at cons where you’d try to stump Mark Waid on DC trivia. He’s a fan’s fan.

I’m not sure why his Flash didn’t work. I bought the first few and pretty much enjoyed them, even though I thought the Inertia imprisonment was creepy. It was an interesting twist on the Flash series, but I didn’t exactly jones for the series.

The question is, however, who wants to read a book about Flash, his wife, and his twin kids who keep aging at superspeed?

I dunno, but after Flash #241, it turns out that I do. Of course, I would realize this the week that what’s probably going to end up being the last arc for this creative team is announced.

I read the latest issue and turned a corner. Waid is off the book and Tom Peyer has taken over. Freddie Williams II is still the artist, and he’s doing a pretty good job, I think. I like the way he shows superspeed. But, I realized this issue that Tom Peyer really gets Mark Waid’s Flash Family idea. Waid called him “probably the best writer out there that no one knows about” and I think that he’s absolutely right.

A couple of things turned me around on Peyer. Not that I disliked him or anything, don’t get me wrong– if I didn’t like him, I would’ve quit buying Flash. But, I didn’t love his work on Flash.

The first thing that made me turn was when I realized that he did a really fun Jack Kirby homage in #241. When looking to pay tribute to Kirby, most people go for the typical– Kirby Krackle (or Dots), a guest appearance by a Kirby creation, or something like that. Something really obvious and unmistakable. What Peyer did in #241, though, was something entirely new to me– a Kirby dialogue homage. See for yourself:

A lot of Kirby’s dialogue was clunky and cluttered, but he did one thing that really stood out to a lapsed English major like myself. He used quotation marks like they were going out of style. Peyer bringing that back for a page, plus the Kirby-style dialogue and terms (Negatonin? Brother Drive?) were really nice to see. It’s the kind of thing that’s unobtrusive if you don’t get it, and dorky fun if you do.

The other thing is less of a one-off gag and more of a theme for the series. Basically, it’s about the terror inherent in starting, and maintaining, a family. From what I’ve seen, parenthood is pretty much equal parts joy and sheer brain-curdling terror. Your kid smiles and it makes your day. He busts his lip and you’re suddenly thinking about maybe buying a cushioned bubble, organic food, and a bodyguard.

I’m big on family in comics. This should be old hat by this point, honestly. I love seeing it done well and have an irrational hatred of it being done poorly. I have straight up stopped reading books because of a character doing something stupid with regards to their family. I will write endless paragraphs about how characters are jerks for being jerks to their family. Maybe I have a complex, I dunno, but it counts for me.


Peyer’s Flash gets it right in a few short pages. Flash has always had a strong element of family to it, and now it’s been cranked up to eleven. The best parts of this issue aren’t the fighting, which there isn’t a lot of, anyway. It’s the dialogue between Iris and Jai about their shortened lifespan and their shared moment. It’s Wally’s pure terror at the thought of losing his kids, and willingness to put that aside to let them live the life they deserve. It’s the Flash Family racing to go do good. It’s the uncertainty of a man who has fought the worst mankind has to offer and still worries about his kids. It’s of a parent having to put on a happy face when he’s gripped by fear.

In a way, isn’t the fear that your children will grow up too fast a common one for parents? That you, and they, won’t get to enjoy their childhood before they enter the terrible world of adults? That’s this, but filtered through a superheroic lens.

It’s even more interesting since it’s been filtered through Wally. We’ve had the benefit of actually seeing him grow up over the years, from Kid Flash to Flash to Father. He’s easily seen the most character growth of the big name characters in the DCU. Sure, Dick Grayson went from Robin to Nightwing, but the biggest difference there is that he lives in a different city now, he wears pants, and he’s six inches taller. A super-family means super-problems, and Wally’s got to deal with that.

Look at all the changes Wally went through in comparison. He went from being the kid sidekick to the hero with no self-esteem to the petulant hero to the seasoned hero to the stuck-up hero to a hero with kids. It’s been an interesting evolution, and I kind of hope that Barry coming back isn’t just going to leave him by the wayside.

I like the kids. I like the conceit of them randomly aging. I like Wally suddenly having a very real weakness. I like Linda having to become an overnight expert in high velocity biology. I like the Flash Family. It’s interesting and engaging.

It’s a very un-DC comic, I think. DC Comics about imperfect heroes tend to be about mind-bogglingly huge things. Superman in For Tomorrow, John Stewart in Mosaic, Hal Jordan and Coast City, Green Arrow and his stupid city getting invaded by demons or whatever… all very large scale and very enormous. They are more like challenges, rather than continuing imperfections. After Barry died, Wally was the hero who felt he was owed the world. It’s nice to see that Peyer is continuing the trend of Wally being very realistic in a certain sense.

So, yeah, Peyer has me on the hook. What sucks is that Peyer has two issues left before the (very capable!) Alan Burnett comes onto the book for “This Was Your Life, Wally West.”

Better luck next time, I guess. Hopefully I’ll get a nice trade out of this arc to go along with the Mark Waid HC in August.

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