Friday, January 2, 2009

The Flash #247

The Flash was one of the first superheroes I liked enough to seek out at the comics racks when I was young.

In fact, I liked the character so much that I took issues along to kindergarten and read them there while waiting for my Mom to pick me up. I distinctly remember reading the Carmine Infantino-drawn issue with the cover showing The Flash running, a hand gesturing, and the Flash has disappeared, leaving behind an empty costume.

Anyway, I followed the adventures of Barry Allen through the good stories (meeting the Flash of Earth-2, fighting his Rogue's Gallery of Villains, teaming up with Green Lantern) and the bad (the interminable Trial of the Flash, the "death" of Iris).

So I was heartbroken when Barry Allen was killed off during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Since death is a minor obstacle in the world of comics, I kept waiting for his return. And waiting. And waiting.

In the meantime, we had the adventures of the former Kid Flash, Wally West, stepping up to take the title. Like Barry, Wally had some good stories (the early issues, Waid's first run at the comic, Geoff Johns' first run) and some bad stories (Waid's recent return to the book was a misstep, but there were others that were a lot worse).

We won't even go into the brief, wretched run as The Flash by poor Bart Allen.

Now, finally, Barry Allen has returned in the pages of Final Crisis, and that's spinning off into a new title, to which I can only say: thank goodness!

The regular Flash title has had the feel of marking time for a while now. The stories haven't been bad, they just haven't been particularly good. This issue marks the (apparent) end of the road for Wally West, as he's given one last hurrah and his storylines are tied up (more or less) in a neat bow.

This comic is well written by Alan Burnett and well drawn by Carlo Barberi, J. Calafiore and Andre Coelho, but again, it just feels like everyone is running in place, stalling for time or killing the clock - whichever cliche you prefer.

Wally West has done respectable work throughout his career, and hopefully he'll continue to have a place in the DC Universe - after all, there are hundreds of Green Lanterns - why not four or five Flashes?

So it's a pat on the back and a "job well done" for Wally. Now step out of the way and let's see what Geoff Johns has in store for Barry.

Grade: C

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