Flash (vol.2) #5 (October, 1987)
Writer – Mike Baron
Penciller – Jackson Guice
Guest Inker – Jack Torrance (hmm…)
Letterer – Steve Haynie
Colorist – Shelley Eiber
Editor – Mike Gold
Cover Price: $0.75
You ever have that one odd issue of a series that always seems to elude you? Like, it’s not a “key” issue, and it doesn’t have any real “book value”, but for whatever reason… you never seem to come across it?
Well, today we’re going to discuss an issue of Flash that long escaped my grubby grasp.
We open in the Syracuse home of Jerry and Tina McGee. Tina met our man Wally in Utah when he had a run in with the Kilg%re… and has decided she wants a divorce from her controlling hubby. Jer’ doesn’t take the news all that well, and proceeds to pummel her a bit. Worth noting, homeboy has one heckuva strange bald spot. Not wanting to be second-best to a speedy superhero, Jerry (Doctor Jerry, that is) heads to his office at Volton Labs and continues “Project Ubermensch” (probably one of the several dozen “Project Ubermensches” going on in the DC Universe at the time). He gets himself roided up all nice and good.
We shift scenes to Wally West’s new Hamptons dig where he looks like he’s about to “get physical” with his new entertainment center. Sometimes we forget that there was a bit of tragedy in the 1980’s when it comes to fashion. His project is interrupted by a ringing phone… and wouldn’tcha know it, it’s his new lady-friend Tina McGee.
He agrees to meet with her at diner, and along the way he reminds us that she is eleven years his senior. He’s 20, and she’s 31. When he sees her bruised face, he insists they report the incident to the police. She refuses, claiming that she owes Jerry her silence for everything good he’d done for her. Outside we can see that Wally and Tina are being watched.
This peeping perv reports his observations to Jerry McGee… however, by this point Wally has already “flashed up” and run off with Tina… leaving this geek holding the bag. Jerry seems nonplussed… and looks rather different than before, he says he’ll take care of everything.
Next thing we know, Jerry is dressed in his new Speed Demon costume (though “Speed McGee” just sounds so much cooler). He goes to give chase to Wally and Tina, however, learns rather quickly that “running really fast” isn’t nearly as easy as it looks. He runs into walls, people, and even a horse! With each crash, he notices that he is none the worse for wear physically.
Back in the Hamptons, Wally shows Tina around the house the New York lotto built. It’s a pretty uncomfortable scene… we can almost tell that they both feel like what they’re doing is somehow wrong… well, maybe not “wrong”, but also not “right”. Wally heads off to take a bath… but is interrupted by a ringing… doorbell! It’s Wally’s pop, Rudolph West come for an unexpected visit… and boy is it awkward. Of course we all oughta know why that is. If’n ya don’t… it’s because Rudy West is…………. a Manhunter.
Rudy hands Wally the latest edition of the local newspaper which includes an editorial about the town’s liability insurance being cancelled due to Wally moving in. Wally and Tina then head out to (the very posh-sounding) Chez Quiche for a bite… and would’ntcha know it, the President of the City Council is also there. Wally approaches looking for some answers. He isn’t terribly satisfied with what he gets… an invitation to attend the next City Council meeting.
The couple heads back to Wally’s place… and later that night, Tina asks if she can sleep in his bed. She says that she only feels safe in his arms… to which, he says he feels the exact opposite.
Just then… Speed Demon busts through the wall!
Wally “flashes up” and proceeds to pummel the baddie with super-speed-strikes. Speed Demon just laughs it off. He then throws Wally into various pieces of furniture… and grabs Tina to make an escape.
Speed takes off running, but if you’ll recall, he doesn’t yet have full control of his newfound swiftness. He (with Tina) runs right into a nearby Texaco Fuel Depot… and BOOM goes the baddie (and presumably, much of the neighborhood).
Really good issue!
I wasn’t reading DC Comics back in 1987, but I could only imagine how folks who were used to reading Barry-Flash were taking to this new volume. It must’ve been one heckuva shock. I’d compare it to that ill-fated Bart Allen-led Flash: The Fastest Man Alive series… but that was just, blech.
I really dig that Wally is acting like a confused young person here. It all feels quite natural (in context that he’s a superpowered fella). He’s getting quite the crash-course in being a grown-up here… dealing with married women, having to maintain a home, dealing with City Council, and watching as his parents drift apart.
He also seems to be learning that his money and powers can’t fix everything. He gifted his folks a cool half-mill… which his father blew. He bought and renovated an awesome house… and the city wants him out. He tries to keep Tina safe… but Speed McGee won’t stop until he gets her back. Really good stuff here.
Speaking of ol’ Speed… I loved seeing his own “growing pains”. So often in comics, we see folks who become super-powered, and somehow just know how to fully control their new abilities. Hell, just look at all of the Flashes… it’s just running really fast, right? I really dug seeing Speed Demon crash into things repeatedly. Pushing himself to the speed-limit, he found himself unable to adequately “pump the brakes”. Super fun to see that… and also, it facilitated our cliffhanger.
Overall, a really good issue from an era of Wally-Flash that doesn’t always manage to grab my attention. If you’re interested in checking this out, it’s available via DC Digital for only a buck!
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