So, in honor of tonight’s season finale of the CW’s often-fun Flash television series, let’s look at one of the many excellent issues from Waid’s run on the title. (People like to announce whether they intend their puns or not. I’ll let it remain a mystery for the ages.)
A recurring plot on the TV show this season has involved the Flash trying to increase his speed. In Flash #91, we see what happens when he succeeds in achieving a major boost.
This Flash isn’t Barry Allen, though. This is Wally West. I’m not spoiling anything because it was the status quo for many years, but Barry died long before this and his nephew (related through his wife Iris) graduated from being Kid Flash to the Flash. And at first, Wally was a far cry from the heroism of Barry Allen. Wally was a self-centered jerk early in post-sidekick tenure, but Waid’s stories focused on his gradual maturation.
Because of events from recent issues, Wally is determined to save everyone. No one can die because he was busy saving someone else. But when faced with the dilemma of needing to prioritize who to rescue, he employs Johnny Quick’s speed formula to enhance his powers…and winds up stuck at near-lightspeed, in a city that’s basically frozen to him.
Can the fastest man alive be everywhere at once? Really, can any of us do everything we feel we need to do? It’s a simple but surprisingly mature dilemma for the Flash, and Waid addresses it without resorting to any cynicism whatsoever. Whether you’re an adult or a kid, this is a fantastic short story that builds on what came before and tees up future plotlines.
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Mike Wieringo
Inker: Joe Marzan Jr.
Publisher: DC Comics
How to Read It: back issues
Appropriate For: ages 9 and up