Tag Archives: Kid Flash

Today’s Super Comics — The Flash #1-8 (2016)

DC Rebirth is two for two so far. Green Arrow recently won me over, and now The Flash has, too.

The series is more fun than it’s been in years, and the characterization of Barry Allen is spot-on. He’s a positive superhero who enjoys what he does, and his biggest source of angst is that he can’t be in two places at once, thereby limiting the good he can do. He’s a total good-guy square who prefers justice over vengeance, and that’s exactly right for the character.

He also gets to try out a new role in the series’ opening storyline—teacher. Dozens of Central City residents mysteriously acquire super-speed, and the Flash is best suited to show them the ropes of life in the fast lane.

Of course, one of these new speedsters takes a villainous turn, which initially seems repetitive. Whether the Flash has been Barry Allen or Wally West, the franchise has already had an abundance of super-fast villains. But this new one, Godspeed, distinguishes himself by having a personal connection to Barry and a belief that he’s doing the right thing. While a purely evil, mustache-twirling villain can be bring a campy sort of fun to the proceedings, it’s always the not-evil antagonists who are the most interesting. Good people are capable of doing bad things, too.

The book also gets it right with the supporting cast, namely a new Kid Flash who’s sort of like the old Kid Flash, an Iris West who’s a friend first and romantic interest second, and a new romantic interest who also happens to have super-speed.

I’ve missed enjoying new Flash comics.

Writer: Joshua Williamson

Artists: Carmine Di Giandomenico & various

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; included in The Flash vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — The New Teen Titans #20 (1982)

New_Teen_Titans_Vol_1_20DC Comics’ best series in the early ‘80s was The New Teen Titans.

The Teen Titans debuted in 1964 as a way of teaming up the various teenage sidekicks, allowing them to shine outside their mentors’ shadows. Their series was cancelled twice in the ‘70s, and then they received the X-Men treatment.

Writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez reinvigorated the Titans franchise when they created The New Teen Titans, bringing together three old-school Titans from the classic sidekick mold (Robin, Kid Flash, and Wonder Girl), a reworked Doom Patrol kid (Beast Boy, now Changeling), and three new characters (Raven, Starfire, and Cyborg). Like the X-Men, much of the series’ fun came from the interactions of its diverse cast of well-developed, interesting characters, each coming from a unique background. And the superhero action was pretty great, too.

Issue #20 serves as a good introduction to everyone. Ironically, the story is told from the point of view of perhaps the blandest character in the lineup, the one with the most straightforward, least interesting backstory—Kid Flash (Wally West, several years before he became the Flash for a long time). Wally is a reasonably well-adjusted 19-year-old who comes from a good home and has had the opportunity to be his hero’s sidekick. Not a fountain of angst there, just some basic indecision about what path to take in life and the standard-issue romantic confusion involving a teammate who once controlled his mind.

Wally writes a letter to his parents, and that frames the entire issue. In it, he details the Titans’ encounter with a young villain who is desperately trying to win his father’s love, and along the way we see how Wally is growing up a bit, realizing that whatever problems he has, other people, whether friends or foes, have it worse.

It’s an excellent lesson in empathy, and merely one of many great Titans issues from the Wolfman/Perez era.

Writer: Marv Wolfman

Penciler: George Perez

Inker: Romeo Tanghal

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; The New Teen Titans vol. 3 (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 9 and up