Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Flash (vol.2) #142 (1998)


Flash (vol.2) #142 (October, 1998)
"Get Me to the Church on Time"
Writers - Mark Waid & Brian Augustyn
Penciller - Pop Mhan
Inker - Chris Ivy
Letterer - Gaspar
Colorist - Tom McCraw
Assistant Editor - L.A. Williams
Editor - Paul Kupperberg
Cover Price: $1.99

Working on a wedding-themed feature for an upcoming episode of the Cosmic Treadmill, and figured I oughta try and kill two birds with one stone... so, today we're going to discuss the wedding of Wallace Rudolph West and Linda Kiyo Park.

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We open with Flash lamenting the poor timing of Kobra's latest attempt at supervillainy.  Ya see, it's the eve of his wedding to long-time girlfriend Linda Park... and the last thing he wants to do is b-tier terrorist clique.  Not that there's ever a good time for that.  After swiftly saving the day, we get a good look at Wally's singed marriage license... which requires a blood test.  Not sure about any of you, but I didn't need one of those when I got married.


With the riff-raff out of the way, Wally heads home to Linda... who is fretting because their cake hasn't arrived yet.  Thinking quick, Wally rushes off to Paris to fetch a baker... so fast in fact, that he misses the news that their cake was simply sent to the wrong address.  Whoops.  Little bit of a hair-trigger there, Wallace.


Overcome by the sentiment, Linda embraces Wally and they both fall to the ground... just as her parents walk in.  Thankfully, they don't seem terribly uptight.  They do, however, ask if Wally's parents will be gracing the event with their presence.  He gives a noncommittal reply... doesn't seem like he's looking forward to visiting with his post-Crisis 'rents.  I'm not looking forward to seeing them either!


We jump ahead to the morning of the wedding.  Wally is shocked to learn that Linda made Impulse their Ring Bearer.  To assuage his fears, Linda describes the act of "ring bearing" as being some sort of militaristic exercise.  This brings Bart to attention... and halts him from shoving a fork into a wall socket.


The guests begin arriving... and among them, Wally's folks.  They're separated... and with their current "mates".  Wally asks his father (a... Manhunter, lest we forget) how much his date cost... which is kind of a jerky thing to say.  Speaking of cost, Wally's mom heads over with a wad of cash for the happy couple... courtesy of her new beau.  It's an uncomfortable scene... but a bit too cartoony and cliche to give any actual "cringe".


Next we meet Wally's Best Man... Jericho?!  Well, no... it's actually Dick Grayson in a very "bowl of buttered popcorn"-looking wig.  You recall Dick's like doubly-cautious when it comes to his secret identity... since Wally is "out" (his dual-identity is public knowledge), he can't risk being seen at a metahuman wedding... especially in such a prominent role.


Speaking of Metas, our next arrivals are the Titans... Donna, Garth, and Roy.  Wally welcomes them... and in the foreground we can see a stack of wedding gifts... which includes one with an "urgent" tag on it.  Hmm... what could be the urgency of a wedding gift?  Must be one helluva toaster!


Still speaking of Metas... the next guests are Wally's teammates on the JLA... minus Batman, of course.  This was only four years after Zero Hour, so he might still be in "urban legend" mode... though, they did play fast and loose with that.


Our next guest... straight from the future, Wally's favorite aunt, Iris Allen-West!  She didn't get an invite... because, really now... how do you send an invitation to the future?  Luckily, she figured it out from historical records.  Unluckily... she doesn't seem to know how this issue's going to end.


After a brief "cold feet" scene between Wally and Linda... it's time to get hitched.


It comes time to read their vows... and Wally realizes he forgot to write any!  He speeds off to grab a pen, and thinks over his relationship with Linda to come up with the right words.


He gets it all figured out... and rushes back to his bride's side.  He tells her that she will always be his "beacon"... something that is still mentioned to this day.  No matter where he winds up, Linda will always be his "lightning rod".  With that, he slips the ring on her finger, and...


... she vanishes?!  Wally is suddenly back home... with a feint memory of a "Linda Park".  He calls Nightwing to ask him if he can remember anything... and he can't!  Dick asks him to repeat the name... and Wally can't... he's completely forgotten.  He shrugs, figuring if he can't remember it... it couldn't have been all that important.  He rushes off, and we can see that one "urgent" gift in the background.


We wrap up with Linda, still in her wedding dress, sitting in the middle of a spotlight in an otherwise darkened room... and, she's not alone.


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I think one of the "chestnuts" of this humble blog... and likely other humble blogs that sometimes discuss DC Comics in the 1990's... this was an era in which the DC Universe felt as though it had forward momentum.

Here we have the wedding of a character who was brought in as a kid sidekick!  This is the culmination of Wally's maturation over the years.  Even as recent as Crisis, Wally was never really depicted as a "grown up"... more of a petulant, selfish teenager.  I feel it was through his relationship with Linda that he truly became a man.

If we look at Wally circa-1998... he's the trusted hero of the twin cities of Central and Keystone, and he's a founding member of one of the most elite lineups in Justice League history.  Hell with the introduction of Impulse, Wally sorta has a sidekick of his own!  All's I'm saying is... it was neat to see a character become "seasoned"... these days, it's more common to see our characters de-age.

For the story itself... it's pretty good.  It's all just there to facilitate the wedding ceremony... and the twist ending.  It was nice to see the old Titans and the JLA show up... it was also cool to get an Iris appearance.  Gotta wonder if she knew how this was all going to unfold.  Here's another Chris-chestnut... It's been a long time since I read this run... so I don't know if that's yet to be revealed.

For complaints... I've got two.  I really don't like the post-Crisis take on Wally's parents.  I found his idyllic pre-Crisis family dynamic to be rather refreshing... it's not often (outside Superman) that we see a hero come from a normal, loving, supportive family.  It was a shame to lose that... giving Wally some cliche "baggage".  Their depiction here was so cartoonishly cliche I thought for a second Judd Winick wrote it!

My second complaint... is the art.  It's not bad or anything, it just, to my mind, doesn't fit the story.  Pop Mhan feels more like an Impulse artist... doesn't fit the main Flash book, at least to me.

Overall though... this issue is definitely worth picking up.  I had a good time with it.  The wedding bits are solid, and it ends with a pretty shocking cliffhanger (which then-readers would have to wait two months for the next part... as the next issue to ship would be #1,000,000).  Good stuff!

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